Thompson Center in Chicago Loop

Google Buys Chicago’s Thompson Center for $105 Million

Purchasing the building gives Google a foothold in Chicago’s Loop for its 2,000 employees.    August 2, 2022

By Greg Zimmerman, senior contributing editor

Tech giant Google has agreed to purchase the iconic Thompson Center in the Chicago Loop for $105 million, a deal that will again repurpose the 17-story building. Illinois governor JP Pritzker announced that Google is buying the building from the state, and will occupy the entire structure. Google has about 2,000 employees in Chicago. 

The building has a long (and somewhat fraught) history in Chicago lore. Originally designed by famous architect Helmut Jahn and called the State of Illinois Center, the building opened in May 1985. The building’s glass atrium, though, caused problems with solar heat gain, and the building’s HVAC system couldn’t keep up with the heat, resulting in uncomfortable temperatures for workers. In the first few years, the building was open, employees regularly (and perhaps sarcastically) used beach umbrellas at their desks to help cut down on the sun’s glare through the atrium windows.  

Google plans to fully renovate the facility for office space, but has promised to maintain the building’s historic charm, according to Block Club Chicago

Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for and Building Operating Management magazine. 


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