Insurance broker Willis will become a new tenant of Sears Tower, and under an agreement with the building’s owners, the Chicago icon and tallest building in the Western Hemisphere will be renamed Willis Tower.
Willis said it plans to consolidate five Midwest area offices and move nearly 500 associates into Willis Tower, initially occupying more than 140,000 square feet on multiple floors. Willis said its move to the new space, at $14.50 per square foot, will result in significant real estate cost savings, and that there is no additional cost to the company associated with renaming the building.
“Having our name associated with Chicago’s most iconic structure underscores our commitment to this great city, and recognizes Chicago’s importance as a major financial hub and international business center,” said Joseph J. Plumeri, chairman and chief executive officer, Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH).
The building, first opened in 1973, is recognized worldwide as a center for business, and an architectural signature of Chicago’s skyline.
The majority of Willis HRH Associates moving to Willis Tower work in the company’s retail brokerage business, which includes specialists in construction, executive risk, healthcare, property, real estate and employee benefits.
The move is expected to be completed by late summer.
The company’s North American business is now known as Willis HRH following Willis’ October 2008 acquisition of insurance intermediary Hilb Rogal & Hobbs (HRH). Chicago is the headquarters of Willis HRH’s Midwest Region.