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Sears Tower Changes Name

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 16, 2009

sears tower.jpg

The Sears Tower, the tallest building in the U.S., has a new name as of today. It will now be called the Willis Tower, after the U.K. insurance company that got the naming rights along with a big committment to office space in the building.

As described in this Chicago Tribune editorial, the ceo of Willis knows people will still call it the Sears Tower. “They can call it whatever they want, even ‘The Big Willie,’ ” the exec, Joseph Plumeri, said. “All I know is that the day we announced that this building would be named Willis Tower, everybody in America knew who Willis was.”

Sometimes he’s hard to keep track of these name changes. I grew up next to the Brendan Byrne Arena, named after New Jersey governor who got the project started. Most people just called it the Meadowlands, which was what the swamp was previously called. Then it became the Conintental Airlines Arena, now it’s the Izod Arena.

I guess the message here is that real estate sticks with us, a lot longer than most companies.

Reader Comments

West India

July 16, 2009 9:12 PM

That's the new name to be used for America soon!


July 17, 2009 3:28 AM

Contrary to Palmeri's "spinning" the news, the message here is not about a name change for a Chicago landmark building. It is about Sears shrinking so much in size due to poor business that it could no longer afford renting majority of the floor space. As no longer the dominate tenant, Sears also gives up the right to name the building. This loss of privilege is nothing new. After the dot-com bust, several sport arenas had to be renamed as the old sponsor became insolvent and the new sponsor exercised the privilege. During the current financial meltdown, several landmark buildings named after banks or insurance firms have been renamed as new business owners and tenant take over. The opportunity to rename a building pales when compared to opportunistic Palmeri whose ability to reconstruct news for the purpose of promoting real estate has no bound. Desperately twisting the news for his real estate propaganda, Palmeri would want BW readers to believe that real estate is more permanent and secure than most companies. The truth is that without viable companies as tenants, tall buildings become giant tombs to real estate venture or demolished into dust in the wind. In writing his so called "journalism" Palermi is either blind or in denial or doing his usual sly propaganda.


July 17, 2009 11:10 AM

Willis should also work with a custom sign designer to build a 5 story illuminated sign in the shape of 'Custodian Willie' from the Simpsons and place it near the top of the tower.
However, if it ever fell to the ground that would be bad. I mean, could you imagine going out that way? Your last sight being a giant 'Willie' head zooming toward you from above.


July 17, 2009 12:38 PM

They're right. People will still call it the Sears Tower. It's been around too long not to. If you say "Willis Tower", nobody will know what you're talking about.
I'm from Chicago originally and I remember back when I was a kid, the Prudential Building at some 40 stories high was the tallest building in the mid-west.
Times change, but the names won't protect the innocent.

F A Khan

July 20, 2009 1:01 AM

I think a little mention of the architect's name would have done good to make us pakistani's feel proud.His name was FAZL KHAN,he was from pakistan.
At the time building Sears tower he introduced new concepts in structures.
I know you might think that why a my making a point of this issue but I would like to say that it builds good relationships and perception of people are altered.Sometimes please give us credit where it's due,even a little mention.Thanks

New York Mortgage Home Loan

July 22, 2009 8:09 AM

Your blog is very much good. I am very much impressed by your blog content.

Derek brayo

July 22, 2009 6:41 PM

Oh is that same FAZL KHAN who used to study with ABDUL KADIR KHAN who stolen nuclear secret from nedtherland and created world mess. so what FAZL KHAN sotlen this design from?


September 1, 2009 9:43 PM

I think that the Willis Tower is a rather dull name. I am a 12 year old middle school student, and I think that they should change the name back to Sears tower. It just sounds so much more interesting.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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