Call It “Big Willie” Tower
Hopefully that headline didn't get flagged by your spam filters. It's what Willis Holdings' CEO Joseph Plumeri told Chicagoans who attended today's renaming ceremony, which finally made the Sears Tower into the Willis Tower. Joseph's trick to getting the naming rights was simple: He asked for them.
Here's Joe addressing about 500 Willis employees, others who helped attract the insurance company, and press. He pointed out that the three tallest buildings in Chicago are now named after insurance interests, a fair claim to being the insurance capital of the world. Joe's mom also wrote a note for him to read, telling all: Give him a chance. ?He's a good boy, once you get to know him.?
We snapped two of the guys responsible: Cushman & Wakefield's Aaron Block and John Haas. John is building out the 140k-SF for the British insurer. It will have sustainable qualities, although not LEED, to match the buildings LEED Platinum initiative. Willis will move into the tower in about two weeks.
The award for guy with the craziest new job goes to U.S. Equities Gary Minchon, who took over managing the Tower three weeks ago. Here with colleagues Jacqueline Cinton, Carrie Bermon, and Dale Johnson, Gary tells us Willis Tower is over 80% leased, but he's seen a lot of recent interest and hopes for good news soon. What's it like running Willis? He calls it a "city within a city."
So then here's a man who'd understand running a city. We couldn't hit an event like this without telling you about what Da Mayor said.Richard M. Daley reminded Chicagoans that without change, there is no challenge, no growth, and no triumph. He said the renaming of the Tower was a great example of business and government working together (sounds a little like a plug for Da Olympics, as well) to improve the quality of life. We're doing our part, following the mayor's instructions to finally report some good news.