It was once the tallest building in the world, and is still the tallest in North America, but the Sears Tower won’t be the Sears Tower for much longer:
Come this summer, Chicago’s iconic landmark known around the world is getting a new moniker: Willis Tower.
Willis Group Holdings, a London-based insurance broker, announced Thursday that it will consolidate its area offices to Sears Tower and as part of the deal, gets to put its own name on the 36-year-old skyscraper.
Willis will move nearly 500 associates into Willis Tower, at 233 S. Wacker, initially occupying more than 140,000 square feet on multiple floors. The company said the move to the new space, at $14.50 per square foot, will result in significant real estate cost savings, and that there is no additional cost to the company associated with renaming the building.
“It was part of our negotiations,” said Willis spokesman Will Thoretz. “We are actually not having to pay anything for renaming the building.”
For the moment, Willis doesn’t seem all that concerned with the fact that they’re changing the name of something that defines the skyline of one of America’s great cities:
But what of any potential backlash, or the inability of Chicagoans to call the building anything but Sears Tower? “Old habits die hard but we feel that ultimately people will come to embrace the Willis name,” Thoretz said.
That remains to be seen