After two and a half years of rumors surrounding a possible name change of Chicago’s John Hancock Center, a new report suggests that the likelihood of such a change is more real than ever. According to the Chicago Tribune, The Hearn Company, the owner of the iconic 100-story supertall skyscraper, is marketing the hulking midcentury tower’s office space and its naming rights for sale. According to Tribune reporter Ryan Ori, the deal could earn Hearn Co. $330 million.
Included in the deal is 28 levels of office space, eight levels of parking (which features 717 vehicle parking spaces), and the rights to the tower’s name. Since the tower was completed in 1969, it has been known to Chicagoans as the John Hancock Center. However, it certainly wouldn’t be the first name change of a high-profile supertall in Chicago. In 2009, the Sears Tower was renamed the Willis Tower, a move which still confuses and frustrates some Chicago residents nearly ten years later.
Designed by architects Bruce Graham and Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, the dark, modernist skyscraper was groundbreaking not only for its tower height of 1,128 feet, but also for being a marvel of structural engineering and the emerging structural expressionist movement in architecture. The Hancock Center’s unique exterior facade with large cross bracing steel beams serves an important structural function by adding rigidity and strength the tower.
The sale of the tower’s office space, parking, and naming rights is likely to be one more opportunity for developers to “reposition” a heritage Chicago skyscraper. In recent years, changes to the Hancock Center include new attractions and a renaming of the observation deck as well as a proposed addition of a new sculpture for the tower’s below-grade plaza.
Meanwhile, the Willis Tower is currently undergoing a major $500 million overhaul which will see new retail, dining, and entertainment space added to the base of the tower along with an expansion of the 103rd-floor observatory attraction.
- For sale: John Hancock Center offices, parking … and name [Chicago Tribune]
- Report: John Hancock Center Name Change Could be 'Imminent' [Curbed Chicago]
- Hancock Center Looking to Follow Willis With a Name Change [Curbed Chicago]
- Prism Sculpture May Anchor the Plaza at the Hancock Center [Curbed Chicago]