Sears "Soon to be Willis" Tower Skydeck GM Randy Stancik has solved two problems: (1) developing a breathtaking new attraction to boost visitors and pride, and (2) having to clean forehead prints off the glass from all wannabe-Ferris Bueller tourists trying to look down.
Four glass boxes that extend four feet from the west edge of the tower's 103rd floor are being installed, set to open in June. The Skidmore Owings and Merrill design is on a conveyor belt that pulls in flush for window cleaning. With many other Chicago area attractions (the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium and Buckingham Fountain) getting makeovers, Randy and the management team from US Equities saw the need for Sears to stay competitive with a new twist. Plus, aren't footprints less gross to clean than forehead prints?
Who knew a rendering could trigger our fear of heights? Randy tells us the west side of the building was selected because it has the best straight down views: Union Station, Wacker Drive, the Chicago River, and maybe even those advertisements they put on top of buses. In addition, the second floor entry area will include new history exhibits, including Harry Carey's seventh inning stretch. As the elevator ascends, visitors will hear an audio recording telling them when they've passed the height of a giraffe, the pyramids, and the tallest building in Japan. All still for $14.99.
The Tower also has serious business. Marshall, Gorstein & Borun renewed 74k-SF (62nd and 63rd floors) and Williams Montgomery & John leased 34k-SF on the 61st floor last week. Colliers Bennett and Kahnweiler's Bob Chodos and Steve Levitas repped both tenants while US Equities Asset Management's Mike Kazmierczak and Derek Rolison repped the building. Since the beginning of '09, four leases totaling 267k-SF have been signed. Should be fun watching those new employees trying to have lunch on the Skydeck.