Sears Administration Building: 2024 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois


3333 W. Arthington St.
Chicago, Cook County

Year built

1905 (first two stories)
1914 (top three stories)


Nimmons and Fellows (1905)
George C. Nimmons and Co. (1914)

Current owner

Royal Pine Properties, LLC
(Photo credit: Landmarks Illinois)

Why is this place important?

The Sears Administration Building is part of the Sears, Roebuck and Co. City of Chicago Landmark District and is a National Historic Landmark. It was constructed as the headquarters of Sears, Roebuck and Co. — one of America’s leading retailers that became the largest in the world by 1960. The construction of the company’s headquarters campus in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood was driven by its second President, Julius Rosenwald, a Jewish-American businessman and philanthropist known for his founding of the Museum of Science and Industry and for his campaign to build schools for African American students across the rural American South. Today, the Administration Building remains a vital piece of the cohesive Sears campus.


The Sears Administration Building has been largely vacant and underutilized for many years. It has been listed for sale since the spring of 2023. The Administration Building is being left behind while other buildings on the campus have been successfully rehabilitated. The Sears Power House received a Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award in 2009 following the conversion of the building to an educational facility. The company’s former catalog building received the same award in 2019 after it was converted into an affordable housing complex, the Lofts on Arthington. The Friends of Sears Sunken Garden are currently restoring the garden across the street — an effort supported through Landmarks Illinois’ Preservation Heritage Grant Fund.


The Sears Administration Building is in an excellent position for adaptive reuse. As part of both a local and National Historic Landmark district, a variety of incentives are available to support rehabilitation.  Potential tax incentives include state and federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits and the Cook County Class L Tax Incentive. The Administration Building is also within the Homan-Arthington Illinois Enterprise Zone and the Northeast Cook Illinois Opportunity Zone as well as the Homan/Arthington TIF district. A new owner is needed to take on the task of putting this five-story, 239,000-square-foot building back into active use to benefit North Lawndale.



(Photo credit: Landmarks Illinois)


Contact SVN Chicago Commercial for information about purchasing the property.

(Photo credit: Landmarks Illinois)

Kevin Sutton

Executive Director of the Foundation for Homan Square

“The North Lawndale community has worked extremely hard to change perceptions and the realities in our neighborhood. Most of the buildings in the historic Sears complex, including Nichols Tower, the MD&L Building and the Power House have been rehabilitated and reused as hubs for office, education and housing. The destructive deterioration that jeopardizes the Sears Administration Building threatens the success of these projects and raises significant safety and security concerns among community stakeholders. In addition, it is feared that the deterioration will negatively impact new projects such as the restoration of the Sears Sunken Garden and the potential designation of the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools National Historical Park.”

(Photo credit: Landmarks Illinois)

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