Sears vs. Willis: The Battle of the Sculpture

Sears wants to buy sculpture back from Willis Tower

By Sandra Torres
|  Tuesday, Oct 5, 2010  |  Updated 9:36 AM CDT
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Inside the Sears Tower

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"The Universe" sculpture by Alexander Calder

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A legal dispute is brewing between the former and current owners of the now Willis Tower.

The current owners, a Chicago-based investor group, filed a lawsuit last week in Cook County Circuit Court asking a judge to block Sears from buying back a giant sculpture located in the tower's lobby, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A Chicago attorney representing the new owners says that in July, Sears officials notified them of plans to purchase the artwork as part of a 1994 buy-back agreement.

Willis' owners argue the buy-back agreement was terminated long ago.

"We believe it is part of the building and part of Chicago,"  the attorney representing Wilis told the Chicago Tribune. He says the Willis owners estimate it would cost about $250,000 to remove the artwork.

A spokesman for Sears tells the Chicago Tribune the suggestions to move the sculpture are speculation and "it will be determined in court."

The sculpture designed by Alexander Calder is called "The Universe" and was unveiled on October 25, 1974.

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