It doesn’t matter. Most of us will always call the Sears Tower; Sears Tower. Just as I call the Chicago State street flagship store of Macy’s , Marshall Fields. I also have never uttered the words U.S. Cellular Field (doesn’t that just roll off the tongue) it’s Comisky . It’s always an ego thing you know, just like when someone buys a really successful restaurant that’s very well known and has been around for years and then someone comes in and changes the name. Always a dumb move economically but the ego gets in the way.
The Sears Tower is of course a Chicago landmark and has been around for 36 years. It is 1,450 ft. tall and is the tallest building in the U.S. It absolutely dominates the Chicago skyline and I personally have a great aerial photo of it that I took in the 90’s when on the Shamu the Killer Whale blimp. I also took aerials of Comisky Park. This was a work-related jaunt but of course I kept some photos for myself. Even though I no longer reside in Chicago, I go there often and I was born and raised there , so of course it will always be in my blood.
The London based Willis Group Holdings secured the naming rights as part of it’s agreement to lease three floors of the Tower . The company provides insurance, risk management, financial and human resources consulting to corporations and public institutions around the world. They appear to be playing down the “British” connection and playing up the “Chicago and a growing global economy ” aspect. As near as I can tell, Chicagoans don’t particularly care how Willis puts a spin on it-it’s still going to be Sears Tower.
I remember in 1973 when it opened. I don’t really love heights but you know, you just had to go up to the top. I had friends that worked there for Sears in the 1980’s, one was in PR, another did commercials and a few others were in finance, most of us were pretty broke in those days raising families , but occassionally we would meet for a drink at the bar on top. Often it was foggy and we couldn’t see a thing but once in a while you really could see other states, you just didn’t know what you were looking at. It was a great place to meet people downtown that were unfamiliar with the area. You would simply say, “meet me at Sears Tower.” One of the Willis CEO’s has been quoted saying “We feel people will come to embrace the Willis name and Willis Tower will make us a household name”. Yeah, right. These people may be “global” but they sure don’t know Chicagoans.