BLOOMINGTON — State Farm will remove the iconic red letters spelling out its name at its former headquarters in downtown Bloomington.
The company has hired local contractor P.J. Hoerr Inc., which has offices in Normal and Peoria, to remove the signage on the building at 112 E. Washington St.
The 5-foot tall “STATE FARM” letters across the top of the building that served as a beacon since the Depression era and the "STATE FARM INSURANCE" on the southwest side of the top of the building will be removed. The company stopped illuminating them several weeks ago.
“While we continue to actively search for a buyer, we wanted to save some items of historical interest related to the building,” State Farm spokesman Jim Camoriano said Monday in an email. “The exterior sign is one of those elements, so we are including that as part of our preservation process.”
The letters are being moved to the company's headquarters at its corporate north campus in east Bloomington.
"We don't know how much of the sign will be displayed or if all or part of it will be used for decorative pieces," said Camoriano. "That's yet to be determined."
Depending on the weather, removal of signs should begin within the next two weeks and could take about 30 days, said Camoriano. State Farm will work with the downtown business community to minimize interruptions, including impact to traffic flow during the process, he added.
“We’ll block the sidewalk below for safety as we remove the lettering from above,” said Colin Logue, Hoerr’s project manager, who added the dimensions of the biggest letter, “M,” are 5 feet by 5 feet.
”We don’t plan on using a crane. I think we can access everything from the catwalks above, so it shouldn’t interfere with traffic.”
As part of a massive restructuring that the company said will better serve its customers, State Farm closed the downtown building in January. It was the insurer's original corporate headquarters from 1929 to 1972.
By April, the company had placed the 200,000-square-foot, 13-story art deco building on the market for sale.
Camoriano said he has no updates on the sale.
"We are open to all viable options," he said.
State Farm has declined to disclose an asking sale price. The building has a market value of just under $9 million, according to the McLean County assessor's office.
“Plans are also in place to transfer other important items from the downtown building," said Camoriano, adding he did not have details about what those items might be.
"I do know that we are working to go through all of those and we're going to transfer everything that we believe is of historic significance because it is a very important part of our work and who we are."
The realignment has included the company's information technology divisions, which the company now calls enterprise technology, claims, administrative services divisions and State Farm Bank.