State Farm built their headquarters in downtown Bloomington in 1929. They added onto it multiple times before relocating the headquarters in 1974 and vacating the building altogether last January. The 13-story building on the corner of East and Washington has sat empty ever since. Recently, a buyer entered into agreement to purchase the building. Real estate broker Jill Guth said the buyer would like to remain confidential during the process, but did release plans for development.
Guth said, “You cannot buy a building this size without having some pre-leasing done. You know, everything is about the bottom line, and this is not a cheap building to operate.” In the development, the first floor, which covers about 16,000 square feet will be a large restaurant and a number of retail spaces. All of that space will rent at $14/sq. ft. Floors 2-7 are open floor plan office spaces at 14,000 sq. ft. and are renting for $8/sq. ft. Guth mentioned that several floors may be split into co-tenancy or co-working spaces for clients that don’t need an entire floor. Floors 8-10 will feature private offices in addition to open office space and are renting for $10/sq. ft.
Zach Dietmeier, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, said the nearly 100-year-old building was a major concern for developers. “It left a big gaping hole in the center of downtown and I think there was a lot of concern that we would be able to fill that space,” explained Dietmeier. He is excited about rejuvenating the downtown Bloomington area with pedestrian traffic and retail shops. He also noted the buyer is working hard to fill the space, “They already have five or six floors locked in when they made the purchase.” Guth said they’ve been pleased with progress so far. “We’re very pleased. We’ve actually had people calling us saying they want to be in the building. They want to talk about being in the building, which is awesome.
Guth also said during the 90-day due diligence period they will try to gauge interest for the space, and if they don’t get enough commitments then the buyer could potentially pull out.