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CHICAGO-The conversion of the Palmolive Building from offices to condominiums is being financed with a $135-million loan from Corus Bank. The North Side lender is tackling the entire deal, which will convert the 74-year-old landmark Art Deco building at 159 E. Walton St. into 103 condominiums, by itself.

A Draper & Kramer Inc. affiliate had sold 40 units through the middle of the year, according to Appraisal Research Counselors’ most recent benchmark report. The most recent sales have been slightly more than $2 million per unit, or $750 per sf, near the top of the overall Downtown market and slightly lower than the price tags at Donald Trump’s project at 401 N. Wabash Ave.

Marketing of the Palmolive Building Landmark Residences began in the summer of 2002, and occupancy of the first units is scheduled to begin in 2005.

The 37-story building at the north end of the Magnificent Mile was built as the headquarters of the Palmolive Peet Co. Although it opened six months before the onset of the Great Depression, occupancy remained above 88%, according to Draper & Kramer research. Nine years after moving to New Jersey, Palmolive sold the building in 1943. Its next notable tenant was Playboy Enterprises, which leased the building from 1965 through 1989.

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