Blackstone and Equity Office unvieled their plans for the $500 million plan for the renovation of Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower.
The tower — still thought of by many Chicagoans as the Sears Tower — was the largest building in the world when it first opened in 1973. The Petronas Towers in Malaysia have since taken that crown, while New York City’s One World Trade Center is now the tallest building in the United States.
But the Willis Tower is a still a Chicago landmark, and still draws tourists interested in getting that birds-eye view of the city.
Blackstone and Equity, though, want the tower to be known, too, as a retail and entertainment destination, which is why the companies are pumping $500 million worth of renovations into the building.
The renovation plans include 300,000 square feet of new retail space on six floors of the tower. There will also be a 30,000-square-foot outdoor deck and a winter garden. About 460,000 square feet of existing office space inside Willis Tower will be transformed into amenities such as lounges and a fitness center.
The renovations are big news, as the Willis Tower draws more than 1 million visitors every year.