Chicago Mayor Richard Daley presided over a renaming ceremony this week for the building the used to be known as the Sears Tower. The 110-story structure, the tallest in North America, will now be called the Willis Tower.
The building’s new primary tenant is the London, England-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings.
The renaming of the Chicago landmark has spawned an online protest movement. According to CNN, more than 90,000 people have joined the group ”People Against the Sears Tower Name Change,” on the social networking Web site Facebook.
”This name change is absurd,” one member wrote. ”Would Paris change the name of the Eiffel Tower? Or London change Buckingham Palace? Or New York, the Statue of Liberty? 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 group has gathered more than 34,000 signatures on an online petition against the name change.
”Having our name associated with Chicago’s most iconic structure underscores our commitment to this great city, and recognizes Chicago’s importance as a major financial hub and international business center,” Willis CEO and Chairman Joseph J. Plumeri said in a news release.
The Sears Tower opened in 1973 with its original occupant, Sears Roebuck & Co. The retailing giant has since moved its headquarters to suburban Chicago.