Eye Candy: New Renderings of the Willis Tower Renovation
Sep17

Eye Candy: New Renderings of the Willis Tower Renovation

EQ Office continues its half-billion dollar renovation of Chicago’s tallest building from a place exclusively for office workers and tourists into something more integrated with the evolving neighborhood. To that end, it is including  a new food court in Willis Tower’s new retail space, expected to open in 2020.   That Gensler-designed retail space is now called “Catalog,” an acknowledgement of Sears, the...

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Aon Center’s Glass Elevator-to-the-Sky to be Unveiled Tonight
May14

Aon Center’s Glass Elevator-to-the-Sky to be Unveiled Tonight

Glass as an amusement is a big thing these days.  It seems to have started with that glass bridge over the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai reservation in Arizona. Now we have a glass slide at the top of the U.S. Bank Building in Los Angeles.  The glass “ledges” at the top of the Willis Tower. The glass “tilt” mechanism at the top of 875 North Michigan.  And now the Aon Center is getting in on the transparent...

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Getting Around Willis Tower Getting Faster
May07

Getting Around Willis Tower Getting Faster

Getting around Chicago can sometimes be agonizingly slow.  No one wants to be stuck in traffic on the 151 bus when they’re going to a job interview.  Perhaps more frustrating, when you get to the location for your next gig, is having to wait forever for an elevator. That could happen less at Chicago’s tallest building, because the Willis Tower’s elevator system is getting a speed-enhancing overhaul. (You only get to...

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$Half-Billion Willis Tower Expansion Imminent
Oct10

$Half-Billion Willis Tower Expansion Imminent

Chicago’s tallest building is about to get its biggest upgrade in years. The City has approved construction permits for a half-billion dollar reconstruction of the lower levels of Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive).  Altogether, six floors of the building will be re-done, with half of those being below grade.  The tower’s perimeter will be extended all the way out to the sidewalk, thanks to a three-story glass and steel...

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Here We Grow!  Vista Tower Gets Full Construction Permit for All 95 Stories
May12

Here We Grow! Vista Tower Gets Full Construction Permit for All 95 Stories

The biggest thing to hit Chicago’s skyline since the Aon Center is about to become a reality. The City of Chicago has issued a full building permit for the Vista Tower in Lakeshore East (363 East Wacker Drive). Take a slurp of coffee and a deep breath and enjoy the OMG: CONSTRUCTION AND BUILD-OUT OF LEVEL 1 TO LEVEL 95 OF PROPOSED 95-STORY MIXED USE BUILDING Now just let that settle in… ahh. The tower will be the...

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Willis Ups the Ante in the Battle of Chicago Observatories
Mar24

Willis Ups the Ante in the Battle of Chicago Observatories

If cats could vote in travel magazine polls, chances are they’d make Chicago the #1 city they’d want to visit.  If you’re a cat owner, you already know why: Cats love to go to high places and look down on everyone else.  And Chicago has no shortage of perfect public perches. One of those perches has announced plans it hopes will sway people to choose its lofty heights over the competing options.  It’s the...

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$500 Million Willis Tower Rehab Will Transform Existing Space And Add Outdoor Deck
Feb01

$500 Million Willis Tower Rehab Will Transform Existing Space And Add Outdoor Deck

The Blackstone Group today announced a massive $500 million rehab of the venerable Willis Tower. The iconic skyscraper will get a major facelift, reconfiguring nearly 460,000 square feet of existing space. Work will commence this month, modernizing the tower and creating 2,500 jobs in the process. Highlights of the rehab will be a new three-story transparent, glass structure above the existing stone plaza. Under the façade, three...

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Stick a Skyline in Someone’s Stocking
Nov18

Stick a Skyline in Someone’s Stocking

When looking for Christmas gifts for the architecture enthusiast in your life, Legos have been a go-to staple for decades.  Now there’s a new reason to risk stepping on the little bricklets while walking around the house barefoot in the middle of the night. The company that makes the best thing to come out of Denmark since diminutive sea brides has announced that it’s putting out a new Lego set about Chicago....

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The Permit That Makes You Proud to be a Chicagoan
Oct13

The Permit That Makes You Proud to be a Chicagoan

If you’ve ever lived for a time in a city like Seattle, or Los Angeles, or Phoenix, you may have noticed that in spite of all the movies and TV shows showcasing Chicago, outlanders don’t get that our town has huge buildings that put their withered downtowns to shame. So it’s nice every once in a while to see confirmation of our superior status in print. And not just in some blog or hopelessly glossy magazine. But in...

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No More Talkin’ ‘Bout “Willis” — Two Chicago Skyscraper Icons Due for Name Changes: ST
May23

No More Talkin’ ‘Bout “Willis” — Two Chicago Skyscraper Icons Due for Name Changes: ST

Two of Chicago’s tallest skyscrapers are getting new names — Names that don’t even belong to companies in them, according to the Sun-Times. Extraordinarily well-connected columnist Michael Sneed reports that both the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue) and the Willis Tower (233 South Wacker Drive) are close to inking deals that would give naming rights to third-party companies, with headquarters elsewhere. The...

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