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Old Posted Jun 28, 2009, 2:24 AM
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ardecila ardecila is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: the city o'wind
Posts: 14,414
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
I just don't get the hotel next to the Sears tower. Chicago isn't Tokyo... there is room. There are parking lots in the area, even. It's a nice enough looking building but in that location, it looks like the Sears tower growing a wart.
I get it. It's not a issue of limited space. The hotel is merely a HUGE marketing move.

The Sears Tower is one of the older, Modernist towers on Wacker Drive, probably Chicago's hottest office corridor, but it has lost out on much of the leasing action during the last boom. It is a huge dinosaur of a building that was built for a tremendous company that vacated it soon after completion, leaving a vacuum that has never been filled. It has floorplates larger than any other building in Chicago, and obviously it is also the tallest building in the city, so even the signing of large firms doesn't make much of a dent in the unusually-high vacancy rate.

Look at Willis. Sears is so desperate for tenants that they are even willing to sell naming rights. Willis is only renting 150,000 square ft - just 4% of the building.

There has not been a comprehensive renovation of the property since it opened. Renovations have focused on lobby, retail, and plaza areas, but much of the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and telecom lines are outdated.

Many businesses also see a move to Sears Tower today as a bad idea. It subsumes their corporate identity into something monolithic, unapproachable, and expressionless. At the same time, it seems too conspicuously insecure - as if the business has something to prove by moving to the city's most famous and tallest building. Ernst & Young, for example, which occupies 387,000 sq. ft in Sears - 10% of the building - is moving out to anchor their own tower, 155 N Wacker. They will use 40% of the building, essentially making it "theirs" in a way that Sears can never be.

Building management is increasingly desperate as their property lags far behind even in the city's hottest office submarket. Hence, they are turning to dramatic measures like LEED Gold certification, a complete revamp of the tenant spaces, and the addition of this hotel, to give the building an appeal beyond its one-dimensional iconic value.
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...