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Thursday, March 12, 2009

What'choo talkin' 'bout?

In 2004 I posted about the sale of Sears Tower, asking if the tallest building in the United States will keep its name. Now exactly five years later Crain's reports that the tower will be renamed Willis Tower. Say what?

Back in 2004 I thought the name recognition would trump any marketing coming from renaming the building, but apparently I was wrong.

[Sears Willis Tower during an air show | photo from Chicago Tribune]

From Crain's:
The insurance broker announced Thursday morning that it will move to the Sears Tower and that the building will be renamed Willis Tower.

London-based Willis Group Holdings said it will consolidate five local offices into more than 140,000 square feet in the 110-story building at 233 S. Wacker Drive. Almost 500 employees will move into the building, Willis said.


Willis is the largest new tenant to move into Sears Tower since the 2001 terrorist attacks. In recent years, the building has suffered several big tenant losses, including its largest tenant, by rental revenue, Ernst & Young U.S. LLP, which is moving in 2012 to an almost-complete skyscraper at 155 N. Wacker Drive.

“Having our name associated with Chicago’s most iconic structure underscores our commitment to this great city, and recognizes Chicago’s importance as a major financial hub and international business center,” Joseph J. Plumeri, chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings, said in a release.
(For those who don't get the title of this post, click here. Thanks to HB for the heads up!)


  1. Chicago, more than any American city I've been to, appreciates its architecture and its history. This is just going to piss people off without any real benefit. Is anyone really going to call it Willis Tower? No one in Chicago will and any tourist will be looking for directions to the Sears Tower.

    If they really wanted their name on the property why not go with something like Sears Tower at Willis Place.

  2. I haven't hit the link yet, but I'm guessing the reference in the title is to Gary Coleman, which is just very, very funny. Well done.

  3. You bet people here in Chicago are pissed, it's the talk of the town.

    As for me, I can't get worked up over the name change. I've always considered Sear's Tower to be an inferior building, unfortunate given its stature.

    It's status as an icon was always tied to its having been the world's tallest building. With that distinction lost, it's just another big, ugly building.

  4. I'm from Chicago and I have to agree that this was a terrible idea. Just as Macy's decided to strip Chicago of The Marshall Field's brand & identity and it has backfired, I suspect this won't go as Willis Corp. had hoped.



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