Mayor Richard M. Daley today welcomed Walgreens and 65 employees of its e-commerce department to the historic Sullivan Center, 1 S. State St., where the company has leased 20,000 square feet of office space.
“We are delighted that the company has made the decision to locate this group here,” Daley said in a news conference held in the building.
“The 65 jobs that are moving here will add to the continuing growth and prosperity of the downtown area and will send an important message to all Chicago residents that our city is a vital place and that we are working hard to take the steps necessary to keep our economy moving,” he said.
The Sullivan Center complex consists of nine buildings built between 1898 and 1904 and previously occupied by the Carson Pirie Scott Department Store. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and City of Chicago Landmark. It is now named after architect Louis Sullivan, who designed the 12-story building along the State Street side.
Daley said the City worked with Joseph Freed and Associates, Harboe Architects and Berglund Construction to restore the landmark and once again make it a vital part of the downtown area.
The City provided about $9.5 million in tax increment financing to restore Sullivan’s cast iron ornamentation on the outside of the building at State and Madison and to carry out other projects, including rehabilitating the City landmark Haskell, Barker and Atwater buildings on the Wabash Avenue side of the Sullivan Center, achieving LEED certification for the Sullivan Center and adding a new Energy Star roof coating system to the building.
Daley said the City supported the restoration projects for two important reasons: Because Chicago has one of the greatest collections of modern architecture in the world and it is the City’s responsibility to preserve the past for Chicagoans of the future and because historic preservation is an integral part of the city’s planning and economic development activities.
“This building is a perfect example of how the public and private sectors can work together to complete a project that creates jobs for our residents and brings back to life a landmark building,” Daley said.
The office space in the Sullivan Center is now 80 percent leased. Every one of its tenants has added vitality and economic activity to the downtown area.
“It wasn’t that long ago that people were writing the obituary for State Street. Now it’s the backbone for the development of downtown in a variety of different ways,” the Mayor said.
Daley said Chicago has always been a leader in technology-driven business and a center for information intensive industries such as e-commerce.
And he reported that yesterday, “Site Selection” magazine ranked Chicago 2nd in the nation for corporate real estate investments in 2008. Chicago’s total of $1.5 billion for that year includes both new construction and office leases such Walgreens.
“Walgreens decision to locate in the Sullivan Center is a building block for more jobs. Each decision like Walgreens – and like the ones made recently to locate downtown by United Airlines and Willis Holdings and Miller Coors -- makes Chicago an even more attractive place for new employers.
“Step by step, both downtown and in our neighborhoods, we’re working hard to retain the jobs we have, create new ones and put more money in the pockets of working people throughout this city,” Daley said.