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Sears Tower: 1973 - 2009

New York
Sears Tower: 1973 - 2009
Bill Bradley
This morning, we saw a New York icon (Bill Bradley) help announce the name change of an American icon (from Sears Tower to Willis Tower). Our reporter in Chicago (where we're publishing daily) Maureen Wilkey was on the scene and snapped this of the Knicks legend informing Chicagoans of the similarities between the phrase "How you doin'?" and "Da Bears." Insurance brokerage Willis consolidated its five Chicago-area offices into the space.
Josh Kuriloff in his 52nd St office
The tower has, in part, two Cushman & Wakefield brokers to thank: NY’s Josh Kuriloff (above) and Chicago’s Kent Ilhardt, who led the team that helped Willis’ post-HRH acquisition consolidation. Josh told us, from his West 52nd Street office, that changing the face of the struggling trophy is one of the greatest chapters of his career. The renaming began as a long shot—Willis told building management that it would only consider a lease if owners Joseph Chetrit, American Landmark Properties, and The Moinian Group named the building after them, which it didn’t think was possible.
Josh Kuriloff at his office
It appears Sonia Sotomayor teleconferenced in her congrats. Josh, holding his mini-replica and a Willis Tower 3-D puzzle, says things escalated quickly. The team drew up its vision to convince the ownership that the change could bring new life to the building. The owners agreed, even though Willis only took 150k of the building's 4M SF. Lessons learned? If you don’t ask, you don't get, and you need to create a vision to be successful, Josh says. The renaming was a win-win for both landlord and tenant, he adds—the former wanted a repositioning and the latter a regional HQ.