July 16, 2009

Sears Tower name change rattles admirers

The iconic Sears Tower in Chicago has a new name and more than a few disgruntled fans, an online group protesting the change said.

Originally named after its first tenant, Sears Roebuck & Co., the 110-story skyscraper, still the tallest building in North America, will be officially renamed the Willis Tower after its current occupant, Willis Group Holdings, a British insurance company, CNN reported.

The name change officially takes place Thursday, but a group called People Against the Sears Tower Name Change, now has 90,000 members and has collected 34,000 signatures protesting the change.

This name change is absurd. Would Paris change the name of the Eiffel Tower? Or London change Buckingham Palace? Or New York, the Statue of Liberty? one member wrote in an online blog.

I believe the Illinois Congress needs to proclaim the Sears Tower a recognizable landmark that is known all over the world by people who have traveled to Chicago, the blog said.

The protest maybe too late.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was scheduled to attend a ceremony commemorating the name change Thursday.

Willis Chief Executive Officer Joseph Plumeri said the change underscores our commitment to this great city and recognizes Chicago's importance as a major financial hub and international business center.