July 16, 2009
The Tower Formerly Known as Sears
America’s tallest building gets a new name.
Today, the Sears Tower is officially being rechristened Willis Tower, in honor of its new principle tenant, the London insurance broker Willis Group Holdings. (The Sears company itself has not occupied the building since 2004.) Although newspapers and blogs have been busy reporting on the inevitable backlash from Chicago residents, who insist they will always call it the Sears, I think that Willis’s claim that people will eventually accept the name is probably correct. Old habits die hard, but die they do–just look at the MetLife Building. And while I sympathize with the folks over at the online petition It’s the SEARS Tower, I also can’t help thinking that, hey, it could be a lot worse. Willis is a mercifully neutral, unoffensive name. Chicagoans should feel lucky that they’re not waking up this morning to the new Tropicana Tower, Time Warner Cable Tower, or Margaritaville Enterprises Tower.