EQ Office’s Willis Tower


The 1,450-foot-tall iconic skyscraper is undergoing an unprecedented $500 million redevelopment, including 300,000 square feet of dining, entertainment, and tenant amenities. As a Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designated site, balancing the demands of the building’s distinction with the competitive leasing market and trends toward open, collaborative workspaces is a challenging feat. The security design was challenged with weaving physical security and technologies into the renovation, embracing a five-star operational experience to accommodate the more than 20,000 tenants and visitors that come to the building each day, employing strategies for mitigating security threats to new modern workspaces, as well as scale for future expansion while maintaining a high-caliber security program.

Guidepost Solutions

Guidepost was engaged by the building’s management firm EQ Office early in the planning process in order to properly execute the expansion from a safety and security perspective. We assessed how the plans might impact onsite security and oversaw installation and testing of the security systems. This includes the numerous components that make up the buildings command center such as video surveillance systems, access control alarms, intrusion detection, visitor management, biometric touchless entry experience, card readers, the elevator destination dispatch system, and improved monitoring capabilities via exception based monitoring and analytics. This is in addition to security and life safety training on active shooter, emergency operations, customer service, building navigation, and control room operations.

Another key attribute is the enhanced and more streamlined visitor management system that was employed to support multiple check-in methods while accounting for the 70,000-turnstile transactions per day and 350,000 visitors a year.

Guidepost continues to support EQ Office with renovations of the buildings Sky Lobbies and Sky Deck, the 103rd floor observation deck attracting more than 2 million visitors a year. To enable a full street to top re-imaging of the building, Guidepost renovated the security operations center, expanding the capabilities and capacity to support the continued efforts in enhancing security and safety at the iconic building.

Benefit to the Client

By working collaboratively with EQ Office, Guidepost developed a security program encompassing physical, operational, and technical systems focused on the tenant and guest experience. We incorporated security controls into aesthetically-pleasing, collaborative environments using design strategies built upon threat and risk assessments to address the project’s security requirements and needed security technology enhancements.

The new security measures offer tenants, visitors, and tourists a user-friendly and efficient method to access the Chicago landmark. The high-quality and complex security management program is rated as best-in-class by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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