If the idea of the Blackstone Tower causes consternation with Chicago traditionalists, how about an illuminated sign on a re-named Hancock Center that amounts to a "Vegas-style, lit-up mess?" The Sun-Times just broke the story of proposed change to the iconic tower being pushed by the Hearn Company, who owns the commercial portion of the structure. The company has been shopping around the idea of building a glass-enclosed recording studio in the building's main plaza, a change that would also include selling naming rights and the removal of the caplets over the doors, which bear the John Hancock name. Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago has seen the proposal, and his organization is preparing to fight for landmark status for the building.
"This is one of those great iconic structures of Chicago, designed by some of the big names of Chicago architecture," says Miller of the 1968 tower, designed by Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He says that the Hearn proposal has been shown to some neighborhood groups and area alderman, and worries about a signage change. "We'd like to see it landmarked, and am waiting to see the public reaction to the change."
Any alteration to the Hancock, especially the name, may contribute to a continued identity crisis of sorts for famous Chicago buildings, as the Sears/Willis/Blackstone naming situation plays out with the new owners. A big, bold neon display may cause a signage fight rivaling the Trump Tower.
·Sneed exclusive: Updates to the John Hancock could include a name change [Sun-Times]
·Previous John Hancock Center coverage [Curbed Chicago]