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Chicago's John Hancock Center skyscraper losing its iconic name

Ryan Ori, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

CHICAGO -- Chicago's John Hancock Center is getting a name change, nearly a decade after another of Chicago's most beloved skyscrapers -- the Sears Tower -- switched identities and caused a civic uproar.

Owners of the 100-story John Hancock Center said the building's namesake, the insurance company that built the tower almost five decades ago, asked that its name and logos throughout the building's interior be removed immediately.

The Hancock is the city's fourth-tallest building, at 1,128 feet.

For now the building will be known by its address, 875 N. Michigan Ave., as the owner seeks a new naming-rights deal, said Stephen Hearn, president and CEO of Hearn Co.

Chicago-based Hearn is part of a group of real estate investors that has owned the office and parking portions of the building since 2013.

John Hancock removed its name from the 62-story John Hancock Tower in Boston in 2015 after its last office lease in the building expired.

The insurer, which was acquired by Toronto-based Manulife Financial in 2004, hasn't been a tenant in Chicago's John Hancock Center for many years.

"As they did in Boston, they just decided to have their name removed," Hearn said. "At this point, we'll push harder for a replacement name. This property deserves a more important identity than simply the address."

John Hancock hasn't paid for the right to have its name on the modernist skyscraper since the last naming-rights contract expired shortly after the current owners bought it, Hearn said.

Manulife representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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