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Landmarks Illinois, Courthouse Preservation Partnership issue RFEI for former Will County Courthouse

Landmarks Illinois and Courthouse Preservation Partnership are calling on qualified developers and architectural firms to share their potential reuse visions for the former Will County Courthouse in Joliet. The architecturally significant but vacant courthouse faces a demolition threat, and Landmarks Illinois and the Joliet-based Courthouse Preservation Partnership are issuing an exploratory Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for purposes of compiling and sharing potential reuse ideas with Will County officials.

The former Will County Courthouse is owned by the county and has sat vacant since 2020, when the county moved into its newly constructed courthouse. Built in 1969 and designed by Otto Stark of C.F. Murphy Associates, the former courthouse represents the first and largest brutalist building in the Will County region. Despite its significance and eligibility to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Will County officials passed a resolution calling for the building’s demolition. This demolition threat led Landmarks Illinois to include the building on its 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.

“There is growing interest among Will County residents to see their one-of-a-kind former courthouse reused instead of torn down, but Will County officials continue to insist there is no reason to initiate any sort of public process that would explore reinvestment of the property,” said Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO. “This lack of action has encouraged Landmarks Illinois and its local preservation partner in Joliet, Courthouse Preservation Partnership, to solicit expressions of interest, which we will present to the county as a means to encourage an official Request for Proposals for the building’s reuse.”

RFEI details

This exploratory RFEI process is for advocacy purposes only. It is not in any way affiliated with Will County, which owns the former Will County Courthouse. The exploratory RFEI will remain open until March 10, 2023. Responses can be emailed to Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski at qadamowski@landmarks.org.

Responses should include a description of a potential reuse for the former Will County Courthouse. Floor plans, elevations and/or reuse renderings are encouraged. Additional information requested in the RFEI includes potential partners and funding sources for any potential reuse. View the full RFEI for additional requirements and to see building floor plans and other specifications.

About Landmarks Illinois

We are People Saving Places for People. Landmarks Illinois is a membership-based, historic preservation nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. We inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.Landmarks.org.

About Courthouse Preservation Partnership

We are a citizen volunteer group that formed in the summer of 2022 to advocate for the reuse of the former Will County Courthouse. We believe that Will County should preserve this piece of our architectural heritage by exploring possible reuses of the building before proceeding with a costly demolition.

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