By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — The plaza in front of the Aon Center is undergoing a $6.5 million complete renovation.

The Telos Group announced in a news release that the half-acre renovation will completely reconfigure the entrance to the building off Randolph Drive. The renovation reflects a trend in focusing on outdoor spaces when many office workers are at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We’re taking our tenant-orientation at Aon Center to the next level,” Caroline Colnon, leasing director at Telos, said in a news release. “Aon Center has spent the past several years creating value for our tenants and the plaza reconstruction is an extension of this strategy. We’re building a stunning new outdoor space that will help bring Aon Center employees back to their offices.”

Aon Center Plaza Rendering

(Credit: Telos Group)

The new plaza will feature an entrance leading directly from Randolph Drive to the front door of the building, and will also include soft seating and gardens. It will be open to the public as an extension of Millennium Park, the Telos Group said.

The Aon Center has been making upgrades over the past few years – including the 70th-floor Cloud Level, which features a tenant lounge, a fitness center, and conferencing facilities.

“Aon Center is already a destination, so we’re embracing that aspect of this building,” Colnon said in the news release. “The plaza will become a welcoming space that extends the greenery of Millennium Park right up to Aon’s front door. We expect this to be a gathering spot for people and for it to meet the needs of our current and future tenants.”

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The demolition of the old plaza started this month. The new plaza is set to be finished late this summer.

The Aon Center was completed in 1973 as the Standard Oil Building. At the time, it was the tallest building in Chicago – having been completed a year before the Sears/Willis Tower – and it is now the fourth tallest.

The building was renamed the Amoco Building in 1985 and then the Aon Center at the end of 1999. It was originally clad all in Carrara marble, but the marble was replaced with white granite in the early 1990s.

In 2018, the Aon Center also announced plans for a new observatory with a feature called the Sky Summit – with gondola-like compartments with windows and see-through floors that would rise as elevators along the side of the building. Those plans have yet to be completed.

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