Sears Tower Now Called Willis Tower

Sears Tower, the tallest building in the U.S. and abandoned stronghold of the once-powerful Sears, Roebuck & Co., is no more. Its name will be changed to Willis Tower later this year as part of a big leasing agreement with London-based insurer Willis Group Holdings, Ltd. The Chicago Tribune notes that although everyone still calls it Sears Tower, Sears actually moved out in 1992.

If the building’s current owners go through with their plan to paint it silver, we think Chicagoans should start calling it the Silver Willy.

“Sears Tower being renamed” [Chicago Breaking News]
“Sears Tower in silver? A green idea that isn’t as good as gold” [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo: jr conlin)

Comments

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  1. Thaddeus says:

    I’m still going to call it the Sears Tower.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is Comiskey still called “Comiskey Park” or US Cellular? I can’t wait til the unmighty dollar finally gains the brass to change the name of Wrigley! Heads will roll… Or will they? Chicago has apparently accepted Mayor Daley and his stance on Handguns. 1 per month is it? CLASSIC Incrementalism! I’m looking into what stake the Federal Reserve may have in Willis Holdings… Do youself a favor and check out infowars dot com …

  2. bonzombiekitty says:

    Different Strokes Joke in 3…2…1…

  3. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Watchu talkin’ bout?

  4. edwardso says:

    It will take a couple generations for people to call it by the new name

    • floraposte says:

      @edwardso: One astute commentator noted that by the time people get around to calling it the Willis Tower, Willis will be long gone from the building.

    • Homerjay loves stars. :) says:

      @edwardso: My local hospital changed its name 20 years ago. Many many people still call it by its original name.

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Bruce Willis jokes in 3…2…1…

  6. Adrienne Willis says:

    Yea!!!! I have a tower named after me!!!!

  7. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Over my dead fucking body.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): Okay, my slightly more productive comment is, WTF is wrong with these people that they don’t call it something like “The Sears Tower by the Willis Group”? “Sears Tower” is a hugely well-known brand and name. Stupid to change it.

      I’M LOOKING AT YOU MACY’S, who could have run “Marshall Field’s by Macy’s” instead of shooting themselves in the foot/head. Apparently the Willis Group doesn’t learn from history. Even recent history.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @Eyebrows McGee (on Twitter: LPetelle): I think turning it silver is an even greater offense. But I agree that it is a stupid move to rename such an important landmark to Chicago.

  8. littlemisslondon says:

    This is like how they changed the Skydome in Toronto to the “Rogers Centre”, but everyone still calls it the Skydome.

    • chiieddy says:

      @littlemisslondon: When they demolished the Boston Garden, they named the new building the Fleet center. When BoA bought Fleet, they decided not to opt on the naming rights and TD Bank North bought the rights. It’s now the TD Bank North Garden. They say ‘Please, just call it the Garden again’. It was the nicest corporate buy back of a name I’ve ever seen.

    • Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

      @littlemisslondon:
      But it was never “The Skydome”, they always insisted it was just “Skydome”!
      What a bunch of twatwaffles!

  9. edwardso says:

    I still call the amusement park in Denver Elitches (now six flags) and the stadium Mile High (now Invesco)Like most people I don’t take kindly to my childhood institutions getting renamed

  10. Trae says:

    I assume this will cause the same number of protests as the last time someone considered renaming the building…

  11. Anonymous says:

    When I was younger they changed the science center to the telus world of science, no one calls it that, and with the length of time that the ower has been “sears tower” I doubt anyone will call it the willis tower outside marketing execs.

  12. MMD says:

    They can rename it to whatever they want, but no one will know what they’re talking about.

  13. edwardso says:

    @MMD: Love it

  14. HarcourtArmstrong says:

    “Sears is taller!”

  15. Real Cheese Flavor says:

    Wesley Willis jokes in 3…2…1…

  16. KhaiJB says:

    in London we had the Post Office Tower.
    when British Telecom was formed, the Tower was renamed ‘The Telecom Tower’

    20 years later we’re still calling it the Post Office Tower….

  17. Bye says:

    Willis? Screw that.

    This is a lot like when Mann bought Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Most everybody still called it Grauman’s and it would cause confusion when others would refer to it as “Mann”.

    A few years ago Mann finally wised up, gave up, and officially changed the name back to Grauman’s.

  18. Illusio26 says:

    I can’t imagine anyone in chicago calling it the willis tower. Hell, I still call the allstate arena the Rosemont Horizon sometimes…

  19. HogwartsAlum says:

    Silver Willy….
    *snicker*

  20. ironchef says:

    Slick Willis joke from Bladefist in 3….2…1…

  21. Lotusmonger says:

    well, I believe American culture names things after the wrong sources. Instead of who owns it, or the original corporation that commissioned it, why not name it after the people who actually designed and/or built the damn thing.
    The architecture firm was Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
    hmmmmmm nothing really catchy there. Skidmore Tower? too juvenile…
    Head architect was Bruce Graham. Graham Tower?
    Nothing catchy yet… wait!
    Structural engineer: Fazlur Khan.

    I will now refer to the building as The Tower of Khan.

    As a condition to the naming, when you walk past it, it is mandatory to look up to the top of the building and scream “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

    Problem solved.

    Cheers, all.

    • Razorgirl says:

      @Lotusmonger:

      I would happily endorse your naming conventions to any who ask. I will also never visit this building now, as the thought of critters crawling in my ears seriously creeps me out.

  22. Yossarian says:

    It may be named Willis Tower but it won’t be called Willis Tower.

  23. Sndtrkman says:

    I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life and seen some boneheaded names being put on Chicago landmarks. When they changed Comiskey Park to US Cellular Field, I still call it Comiskey because thats it’s true name. When this whole name change occurs, I am still going to call it The Sears Tower no matter what.

  24. redskull says:

    The way Sears is going (aren’t they on the endangered company list?), 10 years from now no one’s going to remember who they were anyway, so they might as well change it.

    • runchadrun says:

      @redskull: The Woolworth Building is still the Woolworth Building, despite the last Woolworths in the US closing in 1997. Venator, the renamed company (now Foot Locker Inc), sold the building in 1998 but the new owners wisely kept the old name.

      I’m sure the Chrysler Building will still be called that long after the car company disappears.

  25. calquist says:

    This is pretty dumb, but then again if I had the opp to rename it after myself, I would probably jump on it.

    So when is Wrigley being renamed? I can’t wait for that day! Go Sox!

  26. ringo00 says:

    The Sears Tower will always be the Sears tower. US Cellular Field will always be Comiskey Park. Renaming existing buildings is never a good idea. It just pisses off the locals and makes the renaming company look bad.

  27. N.RobertMoses says:

    Whenever I take the IRT to Grand Central Terminal to ride the Penn Central, I always go outside to take a peek at the Pan Am Building.

  28. T Axel Jones says:

    It’s the Blockbuster-Sony Music Entertainment Centre. No, it’s the E-Centre. No, now it’s the Tweeter Center. Wait, now it’s the Susquehanna Bank Center.

    Give it up. Nobody cares what YOU try to rename it.

  29. Lotusmonger says:

    When I lived in New Mexico in the late 90′s I randomly turned on late night MTV to see Wesley Willis on some weird talk show hosted by a kid if I remember correctly.

    Wesley Willis on MTV???

    I wonder what Wesley Willis’ song would sound like concerning the renaming…

    for those who don’t know who we are talking about:

    [en.wikipedia.org]

  30. Tallanvor says:

    I’ll always think of it as the Sears Tower, just like Marshall Field’s and Comiskey. Of course, my previous nonexistent opinion of Willis Group Holdings is now negative, much like that of Macy’s (I despise them), and U.S. Cellular (I think they’re idiots for paying for the naming rights even though most people will continue calling it Comiskey).

    • Jabes says:

      @Tallanvor: Same here. As soon as I saw the news last night with a smarmy executive from Willis talking about renaming the building, I immediately thought that they’ve ruined any hope of good community relations in one fell swoop by sticking their name all over the Sears Tower. Willis Group: nobody here cares who you are, and nobody wants you renaming the building!

  31. HiPwr says:

    I think they should call it the Blagojevich Tower.

  32. MissPeacock says:

    @undefined:
    “Song for Wesley” by Heavy Vegetable:

    This song’s about a man
    He is like a genius
    He can roar like a lion
    He gets down like a Magikist
    Wesley, people can be so cruel
    Don’t let them bring you down
    Don’t let them take advantage
    You’re in complete control
    Wesley Willis
    He’s got style
    He’s got a special gift
    He can see right though
    All the musical bullshit.

  33. failurate says:

    @Redskull
    Sears played a big enough role in U.S. culture and history that they will be remembered for quite a long time.

  34. econobiker says:

    Why haven’t they renamed the Empire State Building yet?
    The Twin Towers, while they existed, were not going to be called anything but the Twin Towers. The Chysler Building will still be that even when some Chinese auto company absorbs Chrysler…

    So why not keep Sears Tower and add “By Willis Insurance.”

  35. winstonthorne says:

    I’m laughing at the superior intellect.

  36. nybiker says:

    @Lotusmonger: +1 for your rule.

  37. nybiker says:

    As N.RobertMoses mentioned, those of us here in NYC who are old enough to remember it, we still call it the Pan Am building (not MetLife).

    As others have mentioned, we all still remember hospitals and ball fields by their original names, no matter what they might be called now. To me, they are Booth Memorial Hospital and Beekman Hospital. I don’t even know what their new names are.

  38. sn0zc0r3 says:

    I still call it Comiskey Park and I’ll still call it the Sears Tower damnit.

  39. Corporate_guy says:

    Silver plating the tower? Is this the new home of some kind of comic book villain? Is Willis owned by LuthorCorp?

  40. Powerlurker says:

    Similarly, there are those of us in New Jersey and New York who still refuse to call Newark Airport by its new name.

  41. NigerianScammer says:

    People might get the impression that they’re talking about the Circle of Willis and not the tower, this is a terrible idea.

  42. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Wow, Sears moved out in ’92? How time flies.

    Ah, Chicago and their tendency to have major city institutions renamed for their corporate backers…..anyone remember the Bank One Bears?

  43. quagmire0 says:

    I think the best thing that they could do would be to paint it. I think if they paint it, people will cease calling it the Sears Tower, because it won’t look anything like the Sears Tower.

    I’d rather they leave it as is though. It’s part of the skyline.

  44. Youthier says:

    There is a Kmart building in our town that was abandoned before I was born (26 years ago at least) and we still call it “the old Kmart” even though it is now a school.

    What I liked about the article is how pissy the Willis exec was. “Would people rather have an empty building or investment in the city?” Does anyone have a problem with the Willis group moving in? No. Most people don’t even have an issue with the name change in principle. We’ll just never call it that. Sorry.

  45. GregGates says:

    I call the ball park Comiskey and this will be called Sears for the duration.

  46. pepelicious says:

    @Real Cheese Flavor: Diet Pepsi.. Uh Huh!

  47. MrEvil says:

    I think the company that bought the tower from Sears in 1992 actually requested the rights to still call it the Sears Tower and of course Sears was cool with that since it was great PR.

    Still though, I highly doubt the name change will stick since its such an iconic landmark. It’d be like calling the Empire State Building or Rockerfeller center by another name.

  48. JGKojak says:

    Hmmmm… name a giant skyscraper after the actor who appeared in a movie about terrorists attacking a giant skyscraper. Very clever.

  49. CrazyRedd says:

    @undefined: Lick a moose’s booty hole! Allstate: You’re in Good Hands!

  50. Meathamper says:

    I still call the AT&T Park PacBell Park. Damn I’m old…

  51. ARP says:

    Chongo; MissPeacock; Real Cheese Flavor, etc. (Sorry, reply still broken for me.)

    So you’re some of the 10 others at Wesley Willis shows. I remember seeing him before punk and ska shows all the time.

  52. howtragic says:

    I recall how the new stadium where the Spurs play got renamed like 3 times in as many years. The stadium was new so it never really got a legacy name attached to it. You know what I call it? The place where the Spurs play. Perfect – tells the story.

    I think these corporate whores just don’t get it – Chicagoans consider the Sears tower to be “theirs.” It doesn’t matter who technically owns it – it belongs to the city. It will always belong to the city – and thus the people. Same thing goes for pro-team stadiums. The people of the city feel like the team is THEIRS. So when a corporation comes in a buys the team and splatters their name all over the place, it’s incredibly off-putting.

  53. redkamel says:

    I didnt even know it was called Sears tower because of Sears the department store. I just thought it was designed by a Mr. Sears or something.

  54. kreatre2009 says:

    “Willis Tower” doesn’t sound right to me. Why even change the name anyway?

  55. vladthepaler says:

    When it rains, can we call it Slick Willy?