The owners of the famous Willis Tower have an ambitious $500 million renovation scheduled for the West Loop of the building. Over a million people visiting Chicago each year make their way to the West Loop of Willis Tower to explore the Skydeck, which is located on the 103rd floor of the building. On the Skydeck, visitors can walk out onto “The Ledge,” which is a glass box that protrudes from the building and gives an iconic scene of downtown Chicago.
As a part of the $500 million expansion, Blackstone Group is also planning a $20 million expansion to the Skydeck, and there are a few possibilities for how that expansion will go. The expansion is good news for visitors to Chicago as it looks like there will be more to do at the top of the skyscraper.
One possibility will have adventure enthusiasts flocking to the edge of the building to repel from the highest building in Chicago. A dedicated repel location would be added to the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, and visitors would make the descent via rope and harness to the 102nd floor of the building. The thought of repelling from floor to floor at over 1,300 feet above the ground will have some thrill seekers flocking to Willis Tower, but it is not the only expansion that was recently hinted to.
Visitors who still want to experience the height of Willis Tower but want to do it from a more confined area are also in luck. An expansion to “The Ledge” was also discussed for development that would add a glass balcony around the exterior of the building’s 102nd floor. The balcony floor and edges would be glass with supporting metal beam structures, and the top would be exposed to open air. Early indications point to the balcony being named “The Ledgewalk.”
The Skydeck currently has a capacity of around 300 people, and the renovation aims to double that number. Along with the two previously mentioned attractions, Blackstone has plans to add a retail shopping center and a food court to bring more visitors to the Skydeck. The expansion is only in the preliminary planning stages right now, but they have thrill seekers excited about what is to come at Willis Tower. These additions will solidify the already popular skyscraper as one of Chicago’s most visited tourist destinations.