Palmolive Building

Coordinates: 41°53′59.41″N 87°37′25.94″W / 41.8998361°N 87.6238722°W / 41.8998361; -87.6238722
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Palmolive Building
Palmolive Building.jpg
The Palmolive Building
Palmolive Building is located in Chicago metropolitan area
Palmolive Building
Palmolive Building is located in Illinois
Palmolive Building
Palmolive Building is located in the United States
Palmolive Building
Location919 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Coordinates41°53′59.41″N 87°37′25.94″W / 41.8998361°N 87.6238722°W / 41.8998361; -87.6238722
ArchitectHolabird & Root
Architectural styleArt Deco
NRHP reference No.03000784 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 21, 2003
Designated CLFebruary 16, 2000
The Lindbergh Beacon atop the Palmolive Building can be clearly seen at night.
Building with the Playboy name on top, circa 1970

The Palmolive Building, formerly the Playboy Building, is a 37-story Art Deco building at 919 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Built by Holabird & Root, it was completed in 1929 and was home to the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Corporation.

The Palmolive Building was renamed the Playboy Building in 1965 when Playboy Enterprises purchased the leasehold of the building. It was home to the editorial and business offices of Playboy magazine from that time until 1989 when Playboy moved its offices to 680 N Lake Shore Drive. Playboy had sold the leasehold in 1980 and signed a 10-year lease that expired in 1990. The new leaseholder renamed the building 919 North Michigan Avenue.[2]

During the time that Playboy was in the building, the word P-L-A-Y-B-O-Y was spelled out in 9-foot (2.7 m) illuminated letters on the north and south roofline.[3] The building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2000,[4] and it was added to the federal National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

In 2001, the building was sold to developer Draper and Kramer who, with Booth Hansen Architects, converted it to residential use with the first two floors dedicated to upscale office and retail space. High-end condos make up the rest of the building. The new owners restored the building's name to the Palmolive Building. The business address remains 919 North Michigan Avenue; however, the residential address is 159 East Walton Place. Notable residents of the building include Vince Vaughn, who bought a 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse encompassing the 35th, 36th and 37th floors for $12 million.[5] In February 2013, Vaughn offered the penthouse for sale as a pocket listing for $24.9 million. However, after multiple price cuts he chose in May 2016 to divide the unit in two, offering one for $8.5 million, and the other smaller unit for $4.2 million.[6]

Lindbergh Beacon[edit]

Lindbergh Beacon atop the Palmolive Building in Chicago

A beacon named for the aviator Charles Lindbergh was added to the building in 1930. It rotated a full 360 degrees and was intended to help guide airplanes safely to Midway Airport.[7] The beacon beamed for several decades, and ceased operation in 1981 following complaints from residents of nearby buildings.[7] During the Palmolive Building's conversion to condominiums in the late 2000s, the beacon was modified to rotate back and forth, always pointing towards the waterfront, so as to avoid shining light into other buildings. Subsequently, the historic beacon resumed operation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Storch, Charles (April 9, 1988). "Playboy To Leave 'Playboy Building'". Chicago Tribune. p. B7. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Palmolive Building". Emporis. 2007. Archived from the original on February 19, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
  4. ^ "Palmolive Building". Chicago Landmarks. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  5. ^ "The Palmolive Building". Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  6. ^ Rodkin, Dennis (16 May 2016). "Vince Vaughn relists Palmolive penthouses". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  7. ^ a b Burton, Cheryl (5 July 2007). "Palmolive Beacon lights up the lake again". WLS News. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2010-01-10.

External links[edit]

Media related to Palmolive Building at Wikimedia Commons