The Long Trip Up Chicago's Willis Tower Will Soon Be Much Faster

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(Bloomberg) -- Getting upstairs at Chicago’s tallest tower is about to get quicker.

The 110-story Willis Tower -- the building formerly known as Sears Tower -- signed a contract with Otis to modernize its 83 passenger and freight elevators, their first major overhaul in the building’s four-decade-plus history. The work will allow the tower’s tenants and visitors, who number more than 15,000 a day, to get to their destinations about 30 percent faster.

The project, part of a $500 million renovation by Blackstone Group LP’s Equity Office, the tower’s owner, will start next month and take about five years to complete, according to Otis, a unit of United Technologies Corp. Willis Tower’s elevators make more than 46,000 daily trips and serve an estimated 5.8 million people each year.

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