Walk on the Willis Side

New sky-high attractions proposed for Willis Tower

East Skyscrapers
New sky-high attractions proposed for Willis Tower. Seen here: Willis Tower Skydeck. (Courtesy Morningstar)
New sky-high attractions proposed for Willis Tower. Seen here: Willis Tower Skydeck. (Courtesy Morningstar)

The battle of the observation deck attractions continues as new information was revealed about possible improvements to the Willis Tower’s Skydeck. Following last month’s unveiling of a $500-million plan to upgrade the tower, which includes major improvements to its base, it is no surprise that the top of the tower would get some love too.

Following the major success of the Skydeck’s “Ledge” attraction, a set of glass boxes suspended off the side of the building, the new plans include even more high-flying theatrics. One of the new attractions would allow for guests to descend from the 103rd floor to the 102nd floor by rope in a glass enclosure on the side of the building. Another, called the “Ledgewalk,” would allow guests to walk along a glass ledge cantilevered off the side of the building. The rendering also includes a new glassed-in staircase attached to the corner of the building.

The new attractions were revealed in a report by Morningstar Credit Rating. They would be part of a $20 million overhaul of the Skydeck which would include expanding the observation deck to accommodate double its current 600 guest capacity. The 102nd floor would be added to the space, which currently is contained completely on the 103rd floor.

The Skydeck is in direct competition with the John Hancock Center’s 360 Chicago observation deck that includes the “Tilt” attraction, which suspends guest face-first over the side of the building. The attractions also are reminiscent of the Los Angeles’s US Bank Tower’s “Skyslide,” which lets guest slip from the 70th floor to the 69th.

It would seem that Blackstone, the Willis Tower’s owner, is betting that the annual 1.5 million guests might be just as interested in being terrified as they are getting a good view.

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