Landmark Designation, Tax Incentive Approved for Illinois Bell Building

January 27, 2021

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A Loop skyscraper that once served as the regional headquarters for the former Bell Telephone Co. was designated an official Chicago Landmark by City Council today.

Completed in 1966, the Illinois Bell Building at 225 W. Randolph St. is considered a rare example of a commercial building with characteristic elements of New Formalism. Designed by the Chicago firm of Holabird & Root, the 31-story tower features a curtain wall of black glass and projecting marble-clad columns; a roofline with a prominent horizontal marble slab; a recessed first floor with oversized windows; and a row of square, black, granite planters at the plaza level.

Illinois Bell played a major role in the advancement of telephone technology including the introduction of touch-tone dialing, microwave transmission systems, call waiting, speed calling, call forwarding and three-way calling.

Currently occupied by AT&T, the 853,000-square-foot building is under contract to be purchased for $188 million by 225 West Randolph Owner LLC, which plans to implement a $154 million commercial rehabilitation project. The work, which will create an estimated 2,500 permanent and temporary jobs, would be supported by Cook County’s Class L property tax incentive program. Total tax savings are estimated at $69.7 million over the next 12 years.

Under the landmark designation, all exterior elevations including rooflines, the firstfloor lobby, and exterior plazas would be protected.  

 

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