Century & Consumers Buildings, Chicago


The Century & Consumers Buildings in Chicago are two vacant, but architecturally significant terra cotta-clad skyscrapers located prominently on State Street. They sit within the National Register-listed Loop Retail Historic District and have been recommended for local landmark status in Chicago — a move Landmarks Illinois strongly supports.

The U.S. General Services Administration owns the buildings and has proposed demolishing them. This ongoing threat led Landmarks Illinois to include the buildings on our Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois in 2022 and 2023. Landmarks Illinois also nominated the buildings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2023 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.

As part of the required consideration of alternatives under the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act, the GSA is also willing to consider adaptive reuse of the buildings. Learn more below about the historic significance of the structures and Landmarks Illinois’ years-long advocacy work to save them.



Century Building: 202 S. State St., Chicago, Cook County
Consumers Building: 220 S. State St., Chicago, Cook County


Century Building: 1915
Consumers Building: 1913


Century Building: Holabird & Roche
Consumers Building: Jennie, Mundie, Jensen


U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)


The Century & Consumers Buildings are two of State Street’s remaining architecturally and historically significant, terra cotta-clad skyscrapers. Both are contributing structures to Chicago’s Loop Retail Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and are key components of State Street’s historic street wall. They speak to State Street’s past and present as one of Chicago’s most important retail and commercial corridors. Despite years of vacancy under the ownership of the GSA, these two Chicago School-style high-rise office buildings still have great integrity, beauty and potential for adaptive reuse.

The Century Building was designed in 1915 by the legacy architecture firm of Holabird & Roche (today’s Holabird & Root). Originally, the building was constructed to house the Buck & Rayner Drug Firm. In 1917, Century Trust & Savings Bank bought the property and changed its name to the Century Building.

The Consumers Building was designed in 1913 by architects Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. The building got its name from its first tenant, the newly formed Consumers Company. After the Consumers Company left the building in 1917, it was home to many businesses and storefronts.

The GSA acquired both buildings in 2005 but never occupied them. They have since sat vacant.

(Photo Credit: Archie Collection. Left to right: 220, 214, 212, 202 S. State St.)

CURRENT THREAT & Endangered Listings

The Century and Consumers Buildings have sat vacant since their acquisition by the GSA in 2005. Past redevelopment proposals have been halted due to security concerns at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, which sits immediately to the west. In March 2022, a $52 million appropriations request was approved for the GSA to demolish the Century and Consumers Buildings, as well as two smaller commercial buildings located between them. The GSA is currently navigating the National Environmental Policy Act public consultation process and conducting the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Process to address the future of these buildings, but the threat of demolition remains.

Learn more about threats to the buildings below:


For the past two years, Landmarks Illinois has encouraged the GSA to find a solution to its security concerns for the nearby courthouse without demolishing the Century and Consumers Buildings. This could be achieved by working with the private development community to develop ways to adaptively reuse the Century and Consumers buildings to creatively respond to security needs and might also include making security adjustments to the courthouse building itself.

Landmarks Illinois ongoing advocacy efforts to save the Century & Consumers Buildings has included:


Help us save the Century and Consumers Buildings! Please contact your government officials to voice opposition to demolition. A list of local representatives is below. Click on the names to visit their websites to find contact information. Please also see an email letter template to send your representatives.

Download the letter template below:

Write to your elected officials



Few areas in downtown Chicago are as architecturally important as the two square blocks bounded by Adams, Clark, Jackson and State Streets in the Loop, which includes the Mies van der Rohe-designed Federal Center Campus.

In 2017, the City of Chicago agreed to oversee a Request for Proposal process for the sale, reuse and redevelopment of a four-building site on State Street: The Century and Consumers Buildings and two smaller commercial buildings at 212 and 214 S. State St. Chicago real estate firm CA Ventures was selected to revitalize the buildings. The $141 million redevelopment plan involved purchasing the four buildings for $10.4 million — a move that would have saved the buildings from demolition.

Despite the selection of a qualified developer, redevelopment plans were halted in 2019 by the city due to ongoing security concerns expressed by judicial occupants of the Dirksen Courthouse to the west. The safety issues stem from the buildings’ proximity to the back of the courthouse, with some windows that look directly toward federal courtrooms. While CA Ventures addressed these concerns in consultation with the GSA, the city halted the sale, as well as the redevelopment plan, until negotiations with the federal courthouse are resolved.

In March 2022, a $52 million appropriations request was approved for the GSA to demolish the four-building site including the Century and Consumers Buildings.

read more in the news:

Support our advocacy

Be a voice for the future of our communities by supporting Landmarks Illinois. Our work enhances communities, empowers citizens, promotes local economic development and offers environmentally sound solutions.

Become A Member