The iconic Chicago skyscraper Willis Tower – formerly called Sears Tower – will soon be changing hands, as real estate firm Blackstone has revealed it will pay $1.3 billion for the building, the Wall Street Journal reported.
If the sale price is correct, it will be the most ever paid for a US office tower outside of New York and would surpass the current Chicago record of $850 million.
“We are bullish on Chicago as companies expand within and move into the city and look for first-class office space,” Jacob Werner, a managing director in Blackstone's real estate group, said in a statement. “Moreover, we see great potential in further improving both the building's retail operations and the tourist experience for one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Chicago.”
Blackstone reportedly is planning to improve the Willis Tower’s retail offerings, as well as revamping the Skydeck on the tower’s 103rd floor, especially aimed at tourists. The Empire State Building in New York City makes about $90 million per year from tourists, according to reports.
Dare to climb? Viewing platforms around the world
Dare to climb? Viewing platforms around the world
1/10 X Scream at the Stratosphere, Las Vegas, USA
Not only do you get to look down at Las Vegas in all its glory, but you get to ride a rollercoaster while you do. Apparently it feels like you’re about to fall face first into the busy roads of Vegas. For $23 (£14) you get to travel at 30 mph while being lifted 29 feet over the edge of the already 866 feet high tower.
2/10 EdgeWalk CN Tower, Toronto, USA
For an extreme view of Toronto, the EdgeWalk experience at the CN Tower is a must. The North American tower is the world’s highest full circle walk on a 5 ft wide ledge circling the top of the tower at 116 storeys above the ground. If walking that high isn’t enough of a thrill, trained tour guides will allow you to lean back over the tower with nothing but air holding you back (and a harness of course). Tickets cost $175 CAD (£97) for a 1.5 hour experience which includes the terrifying outdoor walk which lasts 30 minutes. You’ll also part with a video, pictures and a certificate of achievement – and trust us, this is an achievement.
3/10 St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, UK
For a spectacular view both inside and out, there’s no better place to visit in London than St. Paul’s Cathedral. To add to the breath-taking view that you have from inside the cathedral, you can also enjoy the wonderfully historic architecture thought up by Christopher Wren, from the Millennium Bridge. With tickets from only £15, you can experience the guided tour taking you through the history of the cathedral to the stunning architecture of the church floor and crypt. You’ll also get to visit the famous Chapel of St. Michael and St. George, the Geometric Staircase and the Quire, which is usually not open to the public. The tour also includes the Whispering Gallery, where a whisper against one wall can be heard on the opposite end of the gallery.
4/10 Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower seems beautiful enough, but with the new glass floor unveiled recently, the already iconic tourist attraction has now become the perfect destination for thrill seekers. The £24m construction includes museums, shops and restaurants. You can now walk on the transparent floor on the first floor where you can look down at the 57 metres of air right beneath your feet. This is the perfect place to start your tour of the Eiffel Tower, ending at the highest viewing point at 276 meters above the ground. With tickets as cheap as €15,00 (£11) you can experience a view from the first floor to the last taking in the stunning scenery Paris has to offer.
5/10 La Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain
This stunning Roman Catholic Church is a must see. The La Sagrada Família has been under construction for over 100 years, but that hasn’t stopped over 2 million visitors from going to admire the beauty it’s continuing to create. From the beautiful stained glass windows to the striking towers, you’ll also get to take in the Catalonian mass in the chapel, which adds to the beautiful scenery the cathedral has to offer. If you visit their website, you can also see all the exhibitions and activities taking place at the cathedral, which you can observe or participate in. Although this building isn’t the tallest on the list, the sheer beauty the architecture has to offer is well worth the travel.
6/10 Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), Norway
Standing 1,982 feet above Norway, the Pulpit Rock is a dream come true for hikers and thrill seekers. With no harnesses or safety measures in place, the rock certainly pushes you to your limits. With a hiking path in place, tourists can explore the beautiful view on offer from the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge to the top of the mountain plateau, over 600 meters high. The walk from the lodge to the top and back will take at least 5 hours, so prepare to spend the day as a hiker – and don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the view from the plateau.
Alberto Carrasco Casado
7/10 Step into the Void, French Alps
Step into the Void is a glass room, with a glass floor and ceiling hanging off the terrace of the Aiguille du Midi at 3,842 meters high. It is one of the highest attractions in Europe. If you can manage to stop thinking about that glass cracking under your feet, you’ll be able to enjoy the highest peaks in Western Europe – a view you don’t want to miss out on. A warning for anyone suffering from vertigo: do not step into the void.
8/10 Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
If you love hiking or experiencing the extraordinary, the Sigiriya is definitely the place to go. Standing on the Lion Rock, the breath-taking beauty that surrounds you will be enough to help you forget that you’re 180 meters high. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is accessible through the mouth of a lion, with a string of elegant staircases emerging as you enter.
9/10 The Devils Poo, Zimbabwe
The Devils Pool is a natural rock pool right on the edge of Victoria Falls. The rock is shaped like an armchair, making it the perfect place to sit down and enjoy the stunning view of Victoria Falls. The waterfall drops down 300 feet and the site has become a popular tourist attraction for the beauty and thrill the natural rock has to offer. If it seems like it’s too tough to handle, you could always try out the Angel’s Armchair nearby.
10/10 Chicago Willis Tower, USA
The Chicago Willis Tower is the perfect place to be to appreciate the amazing Chicago skyline. But the skyline isn’t the only attractive feature the tower has to offer. The glass floor located 1,353 feet above the ground is the perfect place for that fun holiday photo. And if you think there’s not enough thrill, see if you have the courage to go up there after the floor started to crack under the feet of a family on a day out. But don’t worry, the floor is completely safe: it’s designed to crack. Just another feature to help you experience falling over 1,000 feet to the ground!
The 108-story building was finished in 1973 and was the tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years. The skyscraper is now the 12th-tallest building in the world and the second-tallest in the US. It was renamed Willis Tower in 2009.
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