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  #1  
Old 10-11-2018, 12:36 AM
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Zenith HQ 1975-2000 being demolished

Glenview Plant 25 was Zenith corp. HQ and R&D center from 1975-2000. During that time it was sold to Blackstone Realty and leased back. When Zenith vacated, it was leased to AON insurance.
Further details I haven't completely verified: Later it was sold to another owner. AON vacated in 2015, but still had to pay on the lease until 2017, at which point the owner could no longer repay their debt, not having found a renter for the large floor area.

I haven't found a story on the demolition, but it's not likely anyone would pay to demolish it if they didn't have plans to replace it with a more easily rentable development.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:44 AM
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:39 PM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old_tv_nut View Post
Glenview Plant 25 was Zenith corp. HQ and R&D center from 1975-2000. During that time it was sold to Blackstone Realty and leased back. When Zenith vacated, it was leased to AON insurance.
Further details I haven't completely verified: Later it was sold to another owner. AON vacated in 2015, but still had to pay on the lease until 2017, at which point the owner could no longer repay their debt, not having found a renter for the large floor area.

I haven't found a story on the demolition, but it's not likely anyone would pay to demolish it if they didn't have plans to replace it with a more easily rentable development.
Kind of like the demise of the Motorola Franklin Park plant.
In this area, there's a lot of demo going on with rather new existing buildings.
Look at the downsizing of the large shopping centers and malls.
The bigger the complex, the bigger the problems!
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:06 PM
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So sad when history is removed like this.
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:05 AM
consoleguy67 consoleguy67 is offline
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This is what happens when we let our manufacturing go overseas!
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:27 PM
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Did Zenith originally built that or was it inhabited by some other company before 1975?
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:42 PM
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Built in 1975 (started in 74?) - Move-in was in '75 - '76, floor-by floor as the interiors were completed.

It was an unusual building with greater than usual height per story. All electric, with waste heat from the lighting fixtures used as a planned part of winter heating. Ahead of its time: floors were concrete with built in electical run cavities, so electrical power and signal outlets could be placed anywhere by drilling a hole through the floor at the desired point. Whenever space was rearranged, new holes were drilled and the old ones were capped with flush metal caps. One of the most expensive features: Zenith had one of the largest audio anechoic chambers around, built on a separate foundation in the center of the basement. The working "floor" of the chamber was a steel wire mesh at mid height with equal room cavities above and below. With all these precautions, there were still some very low frequency vibrations from traffic on the tollway. Lighting in the building was some of the brightest in any office building, which later became something of an annoyance as more and more work was done on computer monitors.

The building was originally designed to be entirely filled with R&D and have a twin building to the north connected through the lobby. Plans were changed to use the building as both headquarters and R&D, as the Research division was closed in 1975. (Zenith was one of the few TV makers to have a three-tier structure of Research, Advanced Development and Product Development. Only GE outdid this, having a fourth tier of product cost reduction.) The second tower was never built.
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Last edited by old_tv_nut; 10-12-2018 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 06:26 PM
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Given the time frame apparently someone didn't feel the import market was going to become a threat. In any event that place was a real testament to how successful this countries consumer electronics industry was at one time, which is very sad that certain individuals were willing to let it all go away.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:07 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Originally Posted by old_tv_nut View Post
Built in 1975 (started in 74?) - Move-in was in '75 - '76, floor-by floor as the interiors were completed.

It was an unusual building with greater than usual height per story. All electric, with waste heat from the lighting fixtures used as a planned part of winter heating. Ahead of its time: floors were concrete with built in electical run cavities, so electrical power and signal outlets could be placed anywhere by drilling a hole through the floor at the desired point. Whenever space was rearranged, new holes were drilled and the old ones were capped with flush metal caps. One of the most expensive features: Zenith had one of the largest audio anechoic chambers around, built on a separate foundation in the center of the basement. The working "floor" of the chamber was a steel wire mesh at mid height with equal room cavities above and below. With all these precautions, there were still some very low frequency vibrations from traffic on the tollway. Lighting in the building was some of the brightest in any office building, which later became something of an annoyance as more and more work was done on computer monitors.

The building was originally designed to be entirely filled with R&D and have a twin building to the north connected through the lobby. Plans were changed to use the building as both headquarters and R&D, as the Research division was closed in 1975. (Zenith was one of the few TV makers to have a three-tier structure of Research, Advanced Development and Product Development. Only GE outdid this, having a fourth tier of product cost reduction.) The second tower was never built.
The firm I worked at for 33 years, 20 as an Electrician, had the cellular raceways in the concrete floors as stated above and that section was built in 1957, so that concept was around for awhile.
The fourth tier on the GE R&D Product Development structure must've been the busiest because they sure knew how to build products cheap.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:48 AM
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Thanks - "raceways" was the term I couldn't remember.
General offices at first had only phone and electric, I think, but lab areas had tons of coax cable. The coax came from a central "signal studio." Feeds consisted of a fixed RF channel bank of test signals and a variable channel bank, where you could call the studio and request special signals. [EDIT: there was a third bank of off-air signals.] Plus, there were multiple individual cables for baseband video that would be supplied on request. The coax all ran from the studio through the floor to patch panel racks spaced throughout the labs, and then from the patch panels through the floor to individual work benches.

We said that the studio techs' motto was "It's OK on this end."

I once had a back and forth run of mild practical jokes with one of the engineers who worked on sweep circuits, who always had a set running with the Indian Head test pattern. The jokes involved a picture of me with googly doll eyes pasted on. We would alternately hide the picture somewhere in the other's work space. He gave up trying to best me when I had the studio substitute a test pattern with my googly-eyed face staring out at him in place of the Indian.
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Last edited by old_tv_nut; 10-13-2018 at 10:57 AM.
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2018, 09:51 PM
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Really great stories! Where else would we find this out?

To Kevin's comment: Zenith's future to that point had been very bright & always on the increase. It was in a constant battle with RCA for #1 in TV sales in the US & was cranking out what were arguably the highest quality sets built by anyone in the world. Chromacolor II was a great product with System 3 in the wings. No reason to think that tomorrow won't be even brighter than today. Cost-cutting, like using Elmenco for your 4-legged capacitors instead of Sprague Orange Drops, will help keep the competition at bay...
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:40 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgadow View Post
Really great stories! Where else would we find this out?

To Kevin's comment: Zenith's future to that point had been very bright & always on the increase. It was in a constant battle with RCA for #1 in TV sales in the US & was cranking out what were arguably the highest quality sets built by anyone in the world. Chromacolor II was a great product with System 3 in the wings. No reason to think that tomorrow won't be even brighter than today. Cost-cutting, like using Elmenco for your 4-legged capacitors instead of Sprague Orange Drops, will help keep the competition at bay...
The original 4-legged capacitors were made by American Radionic, EIA 648.
Magnavox used them as well. The newer replacements from Magnavox looked different, but they were 648's.
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:53 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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This is what happens when we let our manufacturing go overseas!
Generous Motors had a big manufacturing complex in Milwaukee a few miles south of the Terminal, where most of the WARCI meets are held.
They made Catalytic converters and other auto parts there and a lot of research for satellite guidance was done there. They even had an observatory used for space observing.
All gone now! Strip mall in it's place.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:37 PM
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The original 4-legged capacitors were made by American Radionic, EIA 648.
Magnavox used them as well. The newer replacements from Magnavox looked different, but they were 648's.
Thanks-this is what I get for talking about something I've never seen in person I have a few unused orange drop kits but never owned a set that wasn't converted.
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Old Yesterday, 10:41 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Thanks-this is what I get for talking about something I've never seen in person I have a few unused orange drop kits but never owned a set that wasn't converted.
I took a hammer to the porcelain tube dual caps I replaced. There was a small rubber band holding something together. It also had an oily film on the dielectric parts, so it must've some kind of an oil capacitor.
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