What-chu Talkin Bout…Willis Tower?

March 13, 2009

About Chicago

Rainbow on The Sears/Willis Tower

Rainbow on The Sears/Willis Tower

The whole world seems to know, and is talking about The Sears Tower changing its name to The Willis Tower. This will happen in June of this year because Willis Group Holdings, the number three insurance brokerage in the world, will begin leasing 140,000 square feet in the tower. This apparently is enough to give them naming rights to the building.

Interestingly, Willis competes with Chicago-based Aon Corp, which happens to be the largest insurance brokerage in the world. Willis seems to be copying Aon, which also changed the name of a large skyscraper (formerly known as The Amoco Building) when it moved in some eight years ago.

But Aon renaming the Amaco building did not set off the firestorm of condemnations Willis has started. The Amoco/Aon building is simply the fifth tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. As we all know, The Sears Tower is the tallest, and that seems to be making all the difference. Also playing into the criticism might be a bit of xenophobia as Willis is a British firm. We only have to think back on the days when Japanese firms were buying up properties like Rockefeller Plaza and the angst it created to know we Americans are very capable of it.

We at The Chicago 77 have to wonder how much the loss of Earnst & Young played into Willis’ ability to negotiate the naming rights.

Let us know what you think of this change to the city of Chicago’s vocabulary by leaving your comments below.

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About Rod Holmes

Rod has been a broker working in Chicago since 2004. He has worked with developers, buyers, sellers, and as well as managing offices. He is currently a partner in Chicago Style SEO working primarily with real estate firms to improve their Internet marketing. Rod lived for nearly ten years in Japan where he owned a corporate training and executive coaching firm with clients including Hitachi and 3M Japan. He lives in Lakeview with his wife and two children. He enjoys coaching and watching his kids participate in sports, cycling, camping, and traveling in general. You can find Rod online on Twitter at @roddesu, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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4 Responses to “What-chu Talkin Bout…Willis Tower?”

  1. Ken Sipiora Says:

    Sorry Willis, but real Chicagoans will stick with the original “Sears” as an appropriate homage to a once great Chicago based company. Visitors asking a cabbie to take them to the “Willis Tower” better have the address available, too !

  2. Tyler Says:

    Are you kidding me? Vote no on the name change here http://www.the-willis-tower.com Once I get enough votes I’ll send it their way to show them what we think!


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