Time to dine and shop at the new Willis Tower complex
Two years ago, work on one of the most recognized buildings in the Chicago skyline, Willis Tower, (formerly the Sears Tower) began. The Catalog, now partially open to the public, is an inviting and interactive 300,000 square foot, 5-level public retail and entertainment annex that wraps around the base of Willis Tower and will eventually have a revamped and expanded Skydeck experience. Even though the project is still in progress, the large pink wall on Jackson Boulevard has now been transformed into a wall of glass that provides pedestrians the ability to look inside and feel more invited into Willis Tower. The concept behind Catalog, designed by the Chicago Office of Gensler, was to create a place for people to congregate around great food and entertainment. The name was chosen to honor the former tenant, Sears Roebuck and Company who built the tower back in 1973.
The first thing a visitor sees in the Catalog is the large curving glass skylight which shows off the towers original metal columns and 110 floors. There are many unique architectural touches to this new space, such as the reclaimed wood floor that came from the depths of Lake Michigan. If the architecture doesn’t fully pull you into the new space, the aromas of all the great food options will. From choices like Do-Rite Donuts, Brown Bag Seafood Co, Tortazo, the new Rick Bayless restaurant, there is something for everyone. Catalog will also house Urban Space, a 12,000 square foot food hall that will be on the second floor and is geared around helping local, independent, neighborhood chefs share their food and passion and build their personal businesses.
If you are at Willis Tower for business, the 90,000 square foot third floor of the Catalog will eventually be occupied by Convene, a local meeting and event space provider. Convene’s space will fully wrap around the base of the building and will have views of the newly remodeled Wacker Drive entrance that will feature the acclaimed cloud-like art installation by Jacob Hashimoto, a School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduate. His inspirations came from his early experiences in Chicago, seeing windows and clouds between open spaces (“in-between spaces”). Officially named “In the Heart of this Infinite Particle of Galactic Dust, 2019” this artwork will hang nearly 16 feet tall and 42 feet wide creating a cloud built from 7,000 9-inch individual kite-like disks. The rest of the Wacker Drive entrance is being redone as well and will feature large lounges, a bar, and patio.
Renovations also involve a facelift of the building’s elevators, the largest elevator modernization project in the history of the country. The elevator system takes an astounding 42,247 trips a day! This project also includes an eventual make-over of The Skydeck to upgrade the existing facilities and expand the tourist attractions.
CCS International is proud to have been involved in this monumental project and we look forward to sharing more exciting projects with you in the near future.
Koziarz, Jay. “Checking in on Willis Tower’s new retail and dining complex.” MSN, www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/checking-in-on-willis-towers-new-retail-and-dining-complex/ar-AAIPgdN. Assessed October 24, 2019
Koziarz, Jay. “Willis Tower is getting faster, greener elevators” MSN, https://chicago.curbed.com/2018/5/8/17328682/construction-willis-tower-elevator-speed. Assessed October 24, 2019