On This Day - May 3rd

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Sears_Tower_ss

The Willis Tower, built as and still commonly referred to as the Sears Tower, is a 110-floor, 442.1m (or 1,450-foot) skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States of America.

It 'topped-out' on 3rd May 1973 and in doing so surpassed the World Trade Centre towers in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title it held for nearly 25 years; it remained the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere until the completion of a new building at the World Trade Centre site in 2014. The building is considered a seminal achievement for its designer Fazlur Rahman Khan.

After its completion, Sears' optimistic growth projections for their business were not met. Competition from traditional rivals continued, with new competition by retailing giants such as Kmart, Kohl's, and Walmart. The fortunes of Sears & Roebuck declined in the 1970s as the company lost market share. Nor did the Sears Tower draw as many tenants as Sears had hoped. The tower stood half-vacant for a decade as a surplus of office space was erected in Chicago in the 1980s.

In 1994, Sears sold the building to Boston-based AEW Capital Management, with financing from MetLife. At the time, it was one-third vacant. By 1995, Sears had completely left the building, moving to a new office campus in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

Since 2007, the building owners have been considering building a hotel on the north side of Jackson, between Wacker and Franklin, at the plaza that is the entrance to the tower's observation deck. The tower's parking garage is beneath the plaza. Building owners say the second building was considered in the original design. The plan was eventually cancelled as city zoning does not permit construction of such a tall tower there.

Although Sears' naming rights expired in 2003, the building continued to be called the Sears Tower for several years. In March 2009, London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings agreed to lease a portion of the building, and obtained the building's naming rights.

It has been some time since the Sears' Tower has been able to claim to be the world's tallest building, having been bested through the years bu successive contenders.

Which building today holds that title?

Here's the answer

The world's tallest building, or artificial structure is the 829.8-metre-tall (2,722 ft) Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The building gained the official title of "Tallest Building in the World" and the tallest self-supported structure at its opening on January 9, 2010.