Willis Tower

Willis Tower

Major changes are coming to Willis Tower, the tallest building in Chicago. Crain’s Business Journal is reporting that, following it’s recent sale for a record $1.3 billion, plans are being drawn up for renovations that would include widening the building with the addition of a plaza.

The planned low-rise add-on to Willis Tower would include a mixture of retail, restaurants and entertainment. In addition to the adding a ground-level plaza, the new owners of the 42-year-old tower—Blackstone Group—are also looking into sprucing up the skydeck, Business Journal reports.

Willis Tower, which is sometimes still referred to as Sears Tower, was completed in 1973 and is a Chicago icon. It has 108 floors and rises 1,451 feet, which makes it the second-tallest building in the United States and the 12th tallest in the world.

The Blackstone Group’s purchase price was the most ever paid for a tower not in New York.

An official told the Business Journal the renovations “will involve a combination of working within the existing superstructure as well as adding on to the building’s footprint.”

There will be changes throughout the property, as outdated office space will be renovated retail outlets could be changed. The Skydeck observatory, which offers unobstructed views to the ground and attracts a million visitors a year, may also get a facelift.

The goal of the project, would will take many years to complete, is to add attractions that keep tenants and visitors on site longer. Officials said they have a bit of a balancing act and are in a unique situation to be in an office building—yet one that attracts millions of visitors.

There will also be upgrades to the entrance, with plans for it to emit a huge presence that matches the grandness of the building.

Other changes to the building would the the addition of more common areas where workers can congregate, as well as an upgrade of the visitors’ entrance.