State comptroller’s office now has option to purchase current building or move

With a lease expiring in June, the state comptroller’s office has won legislative approval for a new deal that could result in relocation within the capital city. One option is to buy the building at 323 West Adams St. where comptroller employees have worked for 40 years.

Under the expiring lease, the state is paying $1 million a year for offices used by 150 employees, says Abdon Pallasch, spokesman for the comptroller’s office. “The comptroller’s office will seek the best deal for Illinois taxpayers,” Pallasch wrote in an email.

That’s what the state said when it bought space at White Oaks Mall last summer for use as new headquarters for the state Environmental Protection Agency, a deal that disappointed downtown and east side boosters. During a Tuesday House Executive Committee hearing, Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, brought up the EPA’s planned move, saying the deal was made without consulting local legislators who’d made clear more than a year ago that the EPA should go downtown. He also noted that $148,000 in property taxes will be lost if the state buys the comptroller’s building.

“You guys need to get better and start talking to us on this,” Butler told Gwendolyn Peebles, comptroller legislative director. “It’s ridiculous, and yeah, I’m mad about it, because this has happened time and time and time again, and all I get are apologies and I’m sorry.”

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