Once again, the city of Chicago is undergoing a big name change of one of the skyline’s most iconic buildings. As if renaming the Sears Tower wasn’t enough. The city’s fourth-tallest building, at 1,128 feet, the John Hancock building has lost its name.
The name John Hancock Building came from John Hancock Financial. However, the company asked for its name and logos to be removed from the building. On top of that, the insurer has not been a tenant in the building for years. The building is currently owned by Manulife Financial, based in Toronto.
But the naming rights expired right after the building's ownership group bought the building in 2013. The company bought portion of the skyscraper for $140 million and invested about $69 million on building upgrades and signing new leases.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the President and CEO of Hearn Co., Stephen Hearn stated “We have turned away a number of interested parties because we didn't feel the name was appropriate for this iconic property.” The building owners and other companies inside want to find a name that Chicago will accept and be proud of.
So, what is everyone calling this iconic building for now? Just the address: 875 North Michigan Avenue. Circumstances at the John Hancock differ from those that led to the Sears Tower becoming Willis Tower in 2009. British insurance broker Willis Group Holdings acquired naming rights as part of an office lease.
The Hancock building name has been removed without a replacement in mind. Hearn stated “We have turned away a number of interested parties because we didn’t feel the name was appropriate for this iconic property. I want to put an identity on this property that everyone in Chicago can be proud of.” But why did John Hancock Financial wait five years after the expiration to remove the name and its logos? It just doesn’t make sense.
At the end of the day, true Chicagoans will always remember and call the city’s most iconic buildings as the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building.