May 11, 2023
By Kendra Parzen, Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager
The Century and Consumers Buildings in Chicago have been named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2023 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America. Landmarks Illinois included this pair of Chicago-School skyscrapers at 202 and 220 S. State St. on our own Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois lists in 2022 and 2023 due to the threat of demolition by owner the General Services Administration (GSA).
“Landmarks Illinois felt compelled to nominate the Century & Consumers Buildings to the Trust’s ’11 Most’ list this year, given the heightened threat they face of being demolished by the federal government,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO, Landmarks Illinois. “The fact that the Trust chose to include them on its list is a testament to not only how historically significant these skyscrapers are but just how close they are to being erased forever from our skyline and one of Chicago’s most important retail and commercial corridors. The opportunity to adaptively reuse and return these publicly owned buildings to the tax rolls is immense. Tearing them down would be incredibly wasteful and shortsighted.”
The Century and Consumers have sat vacant and deteriorating since their purchase by the GSA in 2005. Past attempts to redevelop the buildings have failed because of security concerns at the adjacent Dirksen Federal Courthouse. In 2022, a federal appropriation of $52 Million was approved to pay for demolition of the Century and Consumers Buildings, as well as the two smaller buildings at 208-212 and 214 S. State St. Advocates for their preservation believe that the Century and Consumers Buildings can be creatively reused while still responding to security needs. The National Trust has set up a letter you can sign asking the GSA to reconsider demolition of the Century and Consumers Buildings. Please add your name today!