1. The well-known Sears Tower was not the first of its kind. The record-breaking skyscraper that towers over Chicago's Wacker Drive was designed and built between 1969 and 1973, more than six decades after the establishment of Sears, Roebuck & Company's first headquarters. The original plan called for a tower that was to have been even taller, reaching 1,079 feet (326 m), but it was never built.
2. The Sears Tower is currently the second-highest building in the world by height to base area ratio, behind only the Burj Khalifa. It also holds the record for the largest reinforced concrete structure until 2009 when it was surpassed by the Shanghai World Financial Center. The tower has 88 floors above ground and 2 below ground, for a total of 100. It stands at 1,729 feet (541 m) - this makes it just over 10 stories taller than the next tallest building in Chicago, which is the Willis Tower (formerly known as the John Hancock Center).
3. The Sears Tower was originally going to be named "John Hancock Center" but this name was changed before it was completed. Originally, the tower was supposed to have 408 apartments on its top floor, but this number was reduced to just one apartment which was not meant for human habitation.
Many people are curious about the rationale for the construction of the Sears Tower, which began in 1970 and continued until 1973. It is regarded as one of the tallest structures in the world. It has 108 stories and is located at 233 South Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois. The building was designed by Henry Ives Cobb and William H. Boykins.
The tower was conceived as a replacement for the Rookery Building, which had been constructed only seven years before. The new structure was intended to house several companies that were part of the Sears, Roebuck and Company retail chain. When it was completed, the Sears Tower was the highest building in America.
However, this distinction is soon expected to be usurped by another skyscraper: the Trump Tower. Construction on this property began in 1983 and is expected to be finished in 2018. The 70th floor of the Trump Tower is currently the highest point in Chicago. The total cost of the project was $77 million at the time it was built. In addition, the building is valued at over $200 million now.
There are several reasons why the construction of the Sears Tower was not an easy task. First of all, it required special permits from the United States Army Corps of Engineers because the site was once part of Lake Michigan. Also, there was some concern regarding how the building would affect the surrounding traffic pattern.
Why was the Sears Tower constructed? The objective for the creation of this enormous commercial edifice in 1969 was to group many Sears, Roebuck & Co. personnel in the Chicago region under one roof. As the world's largest retailer at the time, the firm employed a stunning 350,000 workers working only in this field.
The building was also intended to make Chicago the center of the men's clothing industry. At the time it was completed, it was the tallest free-standing structure in the world.
It took ten years and $150 million to build the Sears Tower, which at the time was considered a huge investment for a company that sold its products over the counter and had annual revenues of $1 billion. But the goal was to create a corporate image as a large, national brand. The hope was that by having their offices in one location, key employees would be encouraged to travel to Chicago from all over the country to help develop new merchandise and advertising campaigns.
In addition to being a headquarters for Sears, the tower has also been used for television studios, apartments, a hotel, a casino, a museum and even a wind turbine!
Today, the Sears Tower is the second-highest skyscraper in the United States and stands 868 feet tall with 57 floors. It is located in Chicago's Loop district and is owned by a nonprofit organization called the Chicago Housing Authority.
The building was finished in May 1973. Until 1998, the Willis Tower was the highest structure in the world. After 18 years, Sears Roebuck & Company sold the tower and relocated. The buyer was Ivan Cerny with his company ICM. They renamed the tower the "Sears Tower". In 2016, after 33 years, the sale of the Sears Tower ended, and it no longer ranks as the tallest building in America.
The building is currently the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United States. It remains so even though construction on its competitor, the Trump Building, has been completed.
When it was built, the Sears Tower was the largest building in the world by volume. Today, it is still one of the largest useable spaces in the city center. With 49 floors and a height of 428 feet (130 m), the tower also had more floors than any other skyscraper before it was completed. It was not until 1990 that the World Trade Center surpassed it with its 50th floor.
The building was designed by architect William E. Hanley with input from engineer Howard T. Fisher. It was built by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Company for $77 million. The site it stands on used to be home to two smaller buildings which were destroyed in the 1967 riots.
Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our professional network to earn worldwide exposure for your work! Willis Tower, previously Sears Tower (1973–2009), is a skyscraper office building situated at 233 South Wacker Drive in Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the world's highest structures. The building is named after its primary tenant, the Sears Roebuck & Company retail store chain. Constructed between 1973 and 1989, it has a height of 1,453 feet (442 m) and is the third-highest structure in the city after the John Hancock Center and Trump International Hotel & Tower.
Willis Tower was originally known as the IBM Building when it was built by IBM for use as their headquarters. When IBM decided not to renew their lease after 20 years, the building was left empty and soon became known as the Ghost Building because no one lived in it. In 1973, Sears Roebuck & Company bought the building for $40 million and renamed it after themselves. They spent an additional $12 million renovating it before moving into it in 1975. At the time it was built, it was the tallest free-standing building in the Western Hemisphere.
Willis Tower is currently the second-tallest building in Chicago behind the John Hancock Center and it is the 14th-tallest in the United States. The spire on top of the building was removed in 2009 after being damaged by ice storms that year.