Consumers Building
General information
Architectural styleChicago School
Location220 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates41°52′44.3″N 87°37′41.1″W / 41.878972°N 87.628083°W / 41.878972; -87.628083Coordinates: 41°52′44.3″N 87°37′41.1″W / 41.878972°N 87.628083°W / 41.878972; -87.628083
Height291 feet (89 m)
Technical details
Floor count21
Floor area176,000 sq ft (16,400 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectJenney, Mundie & Jensen

The Consumers Building is a Chicago school high rise office building in Chicago's Loop. It was designed by Jenney, Mundie & Jensen, and was built by Jacob L. Kesner in 1913.[1][2] The building is owned by the General Services Administration and currently sits vacant.[3]


Early tenants included the Consumers Company, which occupied the 20th and 21st floors, the Hilton Company, a men's clothing retailer which occupied the corner store, Remington Typewriter Company, and film companies Mutual, Paramount, Pathé, and Universal.[1][2][4][5] A sixty foot electric sign on the roof of the building advertised the Consumers Company.[1][2] A. Weis & Company operated the Winter Garden, an upscale restaurant located in the basements of the Consumers Building and the adjacent 214 South State Street building, which Kesner had purchased to ensure a skyscraper would not be built there.[1][2][6][7]

In the 1920s, the Allied Amusements Association, an association of motion picture and vaudeville theatre owners, had offices on the building's 13th floor.[2][8] Other tenants in the 1920s included Carnation Milk, the Cooperative stores, Integrity Mutual Insurance Co., Liberty Mutual, and the Pullman Company.[2] In 1931, men's clothing store Benson & Rixon began renting 5,000 square feet of space on the ground floor.[2] In 1936, Benson & Rixon left the building and was replaced by another men's clothing retailer, Howard Clothes.[9][10] Benson & Rixon moved to 206-12 S. State St., before moving to their newly built store at 230 S. State St. the following year.[10][11] Howard Clothes remained in the Consumers Building through the 1970s.[2]

In 1931, title to the building was transferred to Kesner's son in law, I.W. Kahn, who headed the Kesner Realty Trust.[2] The trust defaulted on its lease, and in 1937, title to the building was turned over to the owners of the ground leases.[2] In 1947, the building was sold to the 220 S. State St. Corporation for $2 million.[12]

In 1948, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service moved its offices into the Consumers Building.[13] The building was also home to the College of Jewish Studies in the 1940s.[14][15]

In 1960, a group of Chicago investors purchased the building for $2 million.[16] The building later served as home to the Illinois Public Action Council, the Chicago Public High School for Metropolitan Studies, and the regional office of the Community Relations Service.[17][18][19][20][21] In 1976, the building was sold to a group of Chicago businessmen for $2 million.[22]

In 2005, the General Services Administration acquired the Consumers Building and neighboring buildings, using eminent domain to seize some of the properties, citing the need for increased security around the Dirksen Federal Building.[23][24] In 2011 and 2013, Preservation Chicago listed the Consumers Building and the nearby Century Building as one of Chicago's 7 most endangered buildings.[1][25]

In 2017, CA Ventures reached an agreement to purchase the Consumers Building, the Century Building, and the two smaller buildings in between, for $10.38 million.[26] The Consumers Building and Century Building would have been converted to apartments, as part of a $141 million redevelopment project, while the historic Streamline Moderne storefront of 214 South State St. would have been restored and incorporated into a 25,000 square-foot structure built between the taller buildings for retail and commercial use.[26][24] Under the terms of the agreement, the City of Chicago would purchase the buildings from the federal government and then immediately sell them to CA Ventures.[27] However, the City of Chicago backed out of the agreement in December 2019, citing security concerns at the nearby Dirksen Federal Building.[27][25]

In 2022, Preservation Chicago listed the Consumers Building and the nearby Century Building as one of Chicago's 7 most endangered buildings, after a $52 million federal earmark to demolish the buildings was revealed.[28][29][30]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Preservation Chicago Unveils the 2011 Chicago 7 Most Threatened… The Century & Consumers Building", Preservation Chicago. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "220 S. State Street - The Consumers Building, Chicago, IL", General Services Administration. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Gallun, Alby. "Feds move to sell State Street buildings", Crain's Chicago Business. April 27, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  4. ^ "Labor Blamed for $750,000 Loop Film Fire", Chicago Tribune. July 2, 1917. pp. 1, 11.
  5. ^ "'Split Reel' Notes For Theater Men", Motography. February 23, 1918. p. 385. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Sengstock, Charles A. (2004). That Toddlin' Town: Chicago's White Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1900-1950. University of Illinois Press. p. 115. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  7. ^ Chicago Central Business and Office Building Directory. The Winters Publishing Company. June 1922. p. 62. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Blue Book of Chicago Commerce. The Chicago Association of Commerce. 1920. p. 565. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "Benson-Rixon Leases State Street Store", Chicago Tribune. May 31, 1936. p. C10.
  10. ^ a b Chase, Al. "Men’s Clothing Chain to Open Chicago Store", Chicago Tribune. June 2, 1936. p. 29.
  11. ^ "Benson & Rixon State St. Store to Open Tuesday", Chicago Tribune. October 10, 1937. p. B11.
  12. ^ "21 Story Consumers Building Is Sold for 2 Millions Cash", Chicago Tribune. January 19, 1947.
  13. ^ "U.S. Mediation Offices Now at 220 S. State St.", Chicago Tribune. June 15, 1948. p. 2.
  14. ^ Rosenberg, Pauline. "College of Jewish Studies", The Sentinel Presents 100 Years of Chicago Jewry. August 1948. p. 27. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  15. ^ "Jewish Schools Beckon Youths to New Terms", Chicago Tribune. p. N3.
  16. ^ Gavin, James M. "3 Chicagoans Buy 22 Story Loop Building", Chicago Tribune. April 12, 1960. p. B5.
  17. ^ Galloway, Paul. "IPAC rakes grass roots with 'activist' volunteers", Chicago Tribune. February 14, 1985. p. D3.
  18. ^ Neal, Steve; Locin, Mitchell. "Stevenson Calls Debate Conditions a Farce", Chicago Tribune. October 2, 1986. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  19. ^ Burns, Kathleen. "For Students in 'The Metro,' All the World’s a Classroom", Chicago Tribune. April 30, 1970. p. S11.
  20. ^ Community Relations Service. United States Department of Justice, Community Relations Service, 1972. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  21. ^ Manual For Youth Coordinators. President's Council on Youth Opportunity, 1969. p. 126. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  22. ^ "S. State building bring $2 million", Chicago Tribune. June 2, 1976. p. C9.
  23. ^ "Feds invade State Street", Crain's Chicago Business. November 14, 2005. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  24. ^ a b "A Bright Future for Century and Consumers Buildings", Preservation Chicago. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  25. ^ a b Kozlarz, Jay. "State Street apartment plan derailed over security concerns at nearby courthouse", Curbed. December 16, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  26. ^ a b Ori, Ryan. "$141 million project to bring 429 apartments to State Street", Chicago Tribune. June 1, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  27. ^ a b Ori, Ryan. "$141 million State Street development halted over federal courthouse security concerns", Chicago Tribune. December 16, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  28. ^ "Century & Consumers Buildings – Most Endangered 2022", Preservation Chicago. March 9, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  29. ^ Channick, Robert. "Chicago's annual list of most endangered buildings includes two historic skyscrapers the federal government wants to demolish", Chicago Tribune. March 9, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  30. ^ Rodkin, Dennis. "These are the most endangered places in Chicago", Crain's Chicago Business. March 9, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.