Whatchu' Talkin' 'Bout, Willis? Sears Tower Gets New Name

By Rob Christopher in News on Mar 12, 2009 3:20PM

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photo by wallyg
We're having flashbacks to when Marshall Field's became Macy's or when Comiskey Park became U.S. Cellular Field. Forget about that proposed paint job. The Sears Tower, currently the tallest building in the U.S, is due to be renamed Willis Tower. London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings Ltd. is about to become the tower's largest tenant, taking over 140,000 square feet of space. And that means bragging rights. “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,” said Joseph J. Plumeri, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. They'll have about 500 employees working in the building when the move is complete.

Willis will be paying $14.50 a square foot but insists they didn't have to chip in anything extra for the name change. The owners of the iconic structure, a group that includes Skokie-based American Landmark Properties Ltd. and New York investors Joseph Chetrit and Joseph Moinian, apparently threw those in to sweeten the deal. Sears itself no longer has offices in the Sears Tower (they moved out in 1992) and lost its rights to the name in 2003.

UPDATE: We stand corrected. The Tower's largest tenant is currently Ernst & Young. However, the accounting firm recently signed a new lease for 203,618 square feet at 155 N. Wacker Drive, a building due to be completed in July.