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Willis Tower celebrates 50th anniversary

Posted  12 months ago  in  Trending

3 MIN READ -- Following transformative $500M redevelopment, Willis Tower celebrates milestone with series of community programs.

EQ Office, Blackstone’s US office portfolio company, announced plans to celebrate Willis Tower’s golden anniversary and iconic status in Chicago’s skyline. The building recently celebrated 50 years since the landmark’s original topping-out ceremony, where it stood as the world’s tallest building for 23 years and today remains one of the most popular destinations for tenants and visitors from around the globe.

The Willis Tower of today is vastly different than its original form, which was brought to life in 1973 by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) when Sears Roebuck and Company needed a central office space for its employees. With a $500 million redevelopment project completed last year, EQ transformed the 110-story building into a top destination for the surrounding community and next generation of talent. 

Today, all are welcome to enjoy the offerings of Catalog, a new 300,000-square-foot retail, dining and entertainment destination constructed at the base of the tower that brings the best of Chicago into one bustling, light-filled space. Populating the destination are renown eateries such as Kindling from James Beard award winning chef, Jonathon Sawyer. Additionally, tenants and visitors can take a trip up to the completely reimagined Skydeck observatory for spectacular views of the city. 

“As we experience this new era for Willis Tower, this is a moment to recognize our historic past while celebrating the future,” said Kirsten Ekdahl Hull, SVP, Portfolio Management, EQ Office. “Between our state-of-the-art office spaces, new restaurant options, sustainability enhancements and re-imagined Skydeck experience, we have approached this building as stewards of our community to ensure the Tower remains a fixture in Chicago for decades to come.”  

Willis Tower is the largest building in the country to have achieved LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

To commemorate the semicentennial, Willis Tower will be rolling out a series of community programs anchored in the Tower’s newly redeveloped spaces including: 

A Chicago Story Temporary Art Installation

In partnership with Elevation Worldwide, Willis Tower will be hosting a temporary art installation curated by Gary Green featuring local artists. Titled “A Chicago Story” and running Wednesday, May 3 – Thursday, August 10, the installation is a tribute to Chicago’s storied skyline and Willis Tower’s place in it. The exhibit stems from EQ’s Art of the Neighborhood initiative, drawing inspiration from the city’s creative energy to foster art programming throughout the property and support Chicago’s vibrant arts community.

Open House and Summer Series Kick-Off

On Thursday, June 15, join Willis Tower for an open house with Catalog specials, Chicago-centric performances, live music, and more. The celebration will take place in Catalog and the 4th floor outdoor terrace from 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The open house will also serve as a kick-off to Willis Tower’s Summer Concert Series, a bi-weekly event on Thursdays throughout the summer.

Antenna Lighting Social Media Contest

Between Monday, June 5 – Friday, June 9, Willis Tower is inviting all to share their favorite memory or experience at the Tower on Instagram. The winning selection will have the opportunity to light the building antenna the color of their choice.

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