The Sears Tower is being renamed after the international insurance broker who is becoming the newest tenant of North America's tallest building.
The new name: Willis Tower.
Willis Group Holdings, based in London, didn't say when the name change would become effective, but said it got the naming rights as part of a deal to consolidate five area offices in the 110-floor tower that opened in 1974. That move will be completed by late summer.
But it's questionable whether anyone will call the 1,474-foot building--the city's most famous landmark--anything other than Sears Tower. Sears itself moved out to Hoffman Estates quite some time ago and sold it. It has been owned since 2004 by a real estate investment group. The Sears name was retained by the new owners.
The tower was the world's tallest building until 1996, when it was surpassed by the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This is quite stunning. I wonder if the name Chicago will be changed next?