DOWNTOWN — Willis Tower, once the tallest building in the world, now isn't even one of the top 10.
A new report offers plenty of reason for Chicago, the city that invented the skyscraper, to have renewed height envy.
The Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said Thursday that the newly finished Shanghai Tower in China bumped the building formerly known as Sears Tower off the tallest-10 list. The distinction marks the first time the monolithic tower at 233 S. Wacker Drive wasn't one of the world's 10 tallest buildings since it opened in 1974. Until 1998, what-was-then called Sears Tower was the tallest building on Earth.
And unless a bold developer emerges, Chicagoans should get used to seeing Willis Tower slip down the list.
"Given the rapid development of urban centers in [Asia and the Middle East] and the new heights that are being realized by contemporary tall buildings, [the council's] data projects that it will be less than five years before Willis Tower also falls out of the Top 20 Tallest Buildings," the council wrote in its report.
The 20 tallest buildings in the world right now. [Council on Tallest Buildings and Urban Habitat]
The news is a blow to Chicago's reputation as an architectural mecca, especially with regard to tall buildings. The now-demolished 10-story, 180-foot-tall Home Insurance Building finished in 1885 at LaSalle and Adams streets is regarded as the world's first-ever "skyscraper," the first of many built here after the Great Chicago Fire.
There are plans for new supertall towers here, including the 93-story Wanda Vista Tower on Wacker Drive and an 85-story high-rise at 1000 S. Michigan Ave. But neither would rise taller than Willis or get a Chicago building back on the council's top-10 list. New York's One World Trade Center, built in 2014, stands to remain the tallest building in the United States for the foreseeable future.
And on another note, in case you forgot, Chicago is still slated to overtaken by Houston as the third most populous city in the country.