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CHICAGO-About half of the tenants at the 110-story Sears Tower were back at work Wednesday, a day after the outrageous destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and attack on the Pentagon. Those that came to work or visited the landmark building saw a beefed-up private security force inside, as well as Chicago Police officers outside.

Across the Central Business District, security measures ranged from business as usual to heightened, including checking identification badges. However, security personnel at Sears Tower, as the sheer numbers of workers – 10,000 at Sears Tower – made stricter checks impractical, according to a spokesperson for building owner TrizecHahn. Rather, they were relying on increased numbers of uniformed guards, as well as their eyes and ears. Managers of the mixed-use 100-story John Hancock Building, which includes condominiums, reportedly were taking a similar approach. While it was business as usual at some Downtown buildings, others required workers to sign in and restricted access to one set of doors if they were located on corners, two measures not in place Monday.

Meanwhile, Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard continued urging building owners and managers to keep watchful eyes. “Security personnel should be challenging everyone who enters their buildings,” Hillard says. “Those security personnel in those buildings know who to challenge.”

Like Tuesday’s evacuations and building closings, security measures in the wake of the unprecedented terrorist attack on US soil is up to individual owners and managers. “Each building is handling it a little differently,” Paul Colgan, director of public affairs for the Building Owners and Managers Association, tells GlobeSt.com. “But in most cases, you’re seeing more visible security.”

Employees evacuating Sears Tower Tuesday morning considered the building an obvious “bull’s eye” for a terrorist, much like the targets struck in New York and Washington, DC. However, extra measures extended to the suburbs, as Cook County sheriff’s deputies guarded United Airlines’ headquarters in Elk Grove Township, a few miles northwest of O’Hare International Airport. Back Downtown, tourist attractions such as Navy Pier were getting increased police presence.

Lobbies are just one area getting extra attention Downtown, Colgan notes, as the increased vigilance is extending to the loading docks and delivery entrances, where packages are getting scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Chicago Police are not allowing parking east of Michigan Avenue, as well as Lower Wacker Drive and in front of city, state and federal buildings. Although their were rumors of possible car bombs Tuesday, they turned out to be unfounded.

Hillard offered police help to building owners and managers with security questions, but Colgan’s members have benefited from an ongoing relationship with the department’s district bureau liaison officers. The first district officer is at (312) 745-4299 while the 18th district can be reached at (312) 742-5894.

“We have regular meetings of security people, at which Chicago Police officials are present,” Colgan says. “We’ve talked about circumstances such as this in the past. That well-established relationship comes in handy.”

While many offices in the Sears Tower remained closed Wednesday, the TrizecHahn spokesperson noted many of the tenants are in the financial sector, which remained shut down with US markets closed.

How long security will continue to be heightened remains to be seen. “At some point, people will figure out an appropriate level,” Colgan says. “Only time will tell.

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