By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington mayor Tari Renner said his jaw dropped when State Farm announced it was moving out of the downtown offices it has occupied for close to 90 years.
While Renner said he’s grateful the insurer is keeping those 150 jobs in Bloomington, he told WJBC’s Scott Laughlin he hopes State Farm can continue to make use of he building or hand it over to someone who will.
PODCAST: Listen to Scott’s interview with Renner on WJBC.
“It did not occur to me and still hasn’t occurred to me that it’s going to be terribly difficult to find alternative uses for the building,” Renner said. “It is a magnificent old building with a rich history.”
Renner added the city would be willing to find other uses for the site if State Farm doesn’t want it.
“There’s certainly demand for office space in downtown and in uptown (Normal) and in other places,” Renner said.
State Farm is finishing renovations on the building this month.
The temporary relocation of those workers fueled rumors that State Farm was leaving downtown.
A State Farm spokeswoman said the company hasn’t decided what it will do with the building that once served as its corporate headquarters and had nearly 900 employees at its peak.
The downtown offices had previously served as State Farm’s corporate headquarters that had housed as many as 900 employees.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.