Phase One Armory renovation underway

Phase Two will create office space to replace Stratton

click to enlarge Phase One Armory renovation underway
The $122 million first phase of the Armory renovation should be completed in the spring of 2024.

With usable office space being reduced by the ongoing North Wing project at the Capitol, and the Stratton Office Building slated for demolition in approximately 12 years, a new location must be found for hundreds of state employees in several agencies who work in those two buildings.

The solution is the Illinois State Armory building, a quarter-million-square-foot structure at Monroe and Second Streets directly north of the Capitol. The Armory is currently undergoing a massive, $122 million state-funded renovation project.

According to the Illinois Capital Development Board, the 1937-vintage building has suffered from deferred maintenance since the Illinois State Police moved out of the Armory nearly 15 years ago. Phase One of the renovation project is addressing the deterioration with widespread stabilization and health hazard mitigation. The roof structure is being replaced with a roof that has a higher elevation, to maximize the amount of usable space inside. Windows are being replaced with more efficient windows that maintain the historic character of the building.

Williams Brothers Construction, Inc., is the project's general contractor. Phase One should be completed in the spring of 2024.

Phase Two of the project will create nearly 194,000 square feet of usable office and public space on six floors, including all work required on the interior and exterior to bring the building into compliance with current building and accessibility codes. The historic facade will be restored but the interior will become a modern, open office plan with natural daylight flowing in. Approximately 700 employees are expected to work in the completed Armory.

Bids have yet to be let on Phase Two, but the overall project is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2027.

The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB), which manages non-road, state-funded construction projects, is closely coordinating with the State Historic Preservation Office throughout the renovation to make sure the historic nature of the Armory is preserved. The renovation is being designed to obtain LEED Silver certification for its environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features.

Tilton, Kelly and Bell is the lead architect and design firm for the Armory project, and CDB project managers Craig Butler and Patrick Randle are overseeing the design and construction. Butler, Randle and the rest of CDB will have new offices in the Armory, as will numerous other state agencies.

And what about the Stratton Building? Once it is torn down, plans call for its current footprint to be transformed into the Capitol's West Lawn, where large gatherings and rallies can be held. This new open area will do away with the traffic and safety issues that occur during large events on the Capitol's east side, where large crowds often spill onto busy Second Street. –David Blanchette