For $10 Million, an Entire Floor of the Old Playboy Building
The 5,500-square-foot condo sits on the 31st level of the Palmolive Building.
Published Oct. 8, 2020, at 11:16 a.m.
Text by Alison Goldman
The Palmolive Building (159 E. Walton St.) has been associated with a lot of big names in its near century of existence. The 37-story tiered skyscraper was completed in 1929 by the renowned Chicago firm Holabird & Root. The next year, President Herbert Hoover first triggered the tower’s navigational beacon from the White House. In the 1960s, Hugh Hefner and company moved in, and giant lit-up letters spelling “Playboy” were hung just below that beacon. Since its conversion to condos in the aughts, big-deal CEOs and Chicago’s biggest fan Vince Vaughn have bought and sold homes within the building. Now one of the units — a full-floor, three-bedroom condo on the 31st level with private elevator access (and six parking spots, if cars are your thing) — is on the market for a cool $9.9 million (down from $10.9 million last week).
In 2015, the condo’s current owners teamed up with designer Steven Gambrel and Liederbach & Graham Architects to overhaul the 5,500-square-foot space, imbuing it with an art deco style that pays homage to the building’s exterior and history. Gambrel wrapped the corner library in red leather as a hat tip to David Adler and Frances Elkins, who lined the library of Lake Forest’s Helen Shedd Reed House with tan Hermès goatskin around the same time the Palmolive was built. In the kitchen, white glass-paneled walls anchored by brushed nickel rivets are set off by the orange range, hood, and banquettes. The matching barstools, chairs, and table come with the condo, as do many of the property’s other furnishings.
Then there’s the master suite that features a sitting room inspired by vintage Louis Vuitton luggage, a bathroom dripping in black-and-white marble, and a dressing room the size of some studio apartments that peers over Michigan Avenue. “Arguably that closet has one of the better views,” @Properties listing broker Ken Jungwirth says. But nearly every room has windows overlooking the lake or downtown, creating a home full of million-dollar views — or, to be precise, $9.9 million ones.