State Farm said Wednesday that it has found a buyer for its downtown Bloomington building.
The buyer was not identified and the purchase price was not disclosed. The out-of-town buyer plans to rent out the first floor to retail and/or restaurant tenants, with the upper floors available for lease as office or co-working space, said Jill Guth with Champaign-based Guth & Associates, which represents the buyer.
“It is an amazing building. It’s in outstanding shape,” Guth told GLT. “It’s been very, very well taken care of. Our plan is to breathe some new energy into the building.”
State Farm and the buyer have entered into a purchase agreement, with closing expected this summer. The buyer has 90 days to perform due diligence, Guth said.
The buyer has “experience in adaptive re-use, taking buildings and turning them around,” she added.
“It’s not someone who just decided to buy a building. It’s a purchaser with a lot of experience,” she said.
State Farm has begun work to remove and preserve historical items from the building, said Chris Pilcic, a spokesperson for the Bloomington-based insurer.
State Farm’s downtown building has been an iconic part of the Bloomington-Normal skyline. It was built in pieces. The first floors were completed in 1929, a new home for retired farmer and insurance salesman George Jacob “G.J.” Mecherle’s growing 7-year-old company. The final stories weren’t added until 1945.
The building served as State Farm’s headquarters until 1974 and was once home to 400 to 500 employees. The last batch of employees were relocated out of the building last year, when State Farm put it up for sale. The “State Farm Insurance” signage came down last fall.
State Farm’s departure presented another economic development opportunity—and challenge—for city leaders looking to revitalize downtown Bloomington. There are now several large commercial vacancies downtown, including the Front and Center building, the former Pantagraph building, and now State Farm's old headquarters, among others.
City leaders welcomed Wednesday's news.
"This is clearly great news for downtown revitalization and for the economic development of our entire community," Mayor Tari Renner said.
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