Willis Group Holdings ( WSH)said Thursday that it will consolidate five Chicago-area offices and move nearly 500 associates into Sears Tower, initially occupying more than 140,000 square feet. Under an agreement with Sears Tower's owners, the building will be renamed Willis Tower, according to the global insurance broker. The company said it is not incurring any extra costs associated with the name change.
Chicagoans may be justifiably upset at the name change for the 110-story icon, but I have to say that it's a cheery sign for the economy when a big insurance company is willing to make a bet on commercial real estate. (If you're keeping track those aren't exactly the healthiest spots in the market, and Willis may actually prove a longer-lasting name than the still-ailing Sears).