Saturday, November 28, 2015

Harolds Chicken Shack Moving to 612 S. Wabash?
What's to Come Of Their Old Location at 636 S. Wabash?

A reader sends us the following picture:

So what does that mean about their old location at 636 S. Wabash?

Hmmmmm....anyone have some insight?

(Hat tip: OI!)

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's CTA Holiday Train and Bus Time

We like this (via DNAinfo):
CTA trains are ready for some serious holiday decorations, according to a Friday announcement.  
A six-car train adorned with Christmas lights and painted end-to-end with snowflakes and Santa Claus will run on all eight rail lines, starting on the Red Line Saturday, the announcement said.

Here is the link to the full schedule, but if you're interested in the CTA El lines that go through the Sloop here you go:

Oh and if you're a bus person here is a link to the Holiday bus.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful for Everyone Who Makes the Sloop So Great!

It's Thanksgiving so instead of bringing you some hard hitting South Loop news, we simply wanted to say thanks for reading Sloopin.  Thanks for sending us emails, tips, pictures and words of encouragement.

But most of all - thanks for making our neighborhood so great!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Villain's Gets Some Brunch Love from the Chicagoist

Chicagoist weighs in with "13 of the Best Brunch Spots in Chicago" and one of our favorites gets some love:
Villains If you don't live in the South Loop, you might have missed this spot, which quietly opened earlier this year. They're known for their incredible beer list (and for probably having more edison bulbs than any other restaurant in the city), but their brunch is a secret standout. First off, they've got a custom-brewed beer made just for them that tastes like a bloody mary. No, it's not some mixed gimmick—the beer actually has all the flavors of tomato, celery and spice, in a subtle concoction that we couldn't stop drinking.They've a great oyster po'boy and a perfect pork scrapple (which you don't often see on a menu).  
Villains is at 730 S. Clark St.

We actually haven't been for brunch, but don't doubt it's spectacular.

Oh and if there is any doubt about their food, we recently went back and had the Sirloin steak again.  We weren't sure if they could replicate the amazingness that we tasted on our first visit, but can confirm that was just as delicious the second time.  We had a group of about 8 people and pretty sure every single person had order envy.

(Hat tip:  VM!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Scene Around the Sloop: Laquan McDonald Protests

Regardless about how you feel about the news regarding the death of Laquan McDonald, it's safe to say it's was a tough day and night for everyone around the city.  As of now it seems like the protests happening around the city have been relatively peaceful - let's hope it remains that way.

If you are around the Sloop this evening, you probably have been hearing the constant hum of helicopters monitoring the protests as the South Loop has been at the heart of many of them.

While there are a lot of pictures and videos floating around the web, we wanted to share a couple that people have sent to us:

Feel free to send us your pictures and we will post.

(Hat tip:  AK & JB!)

Corner of Maxwell and Polk Getting a 22-Story Residential Tower?

The Chicago Architecture Blog has news of a new residential development west of the River:
If you wanted to build a new residential tower downtown, but also wanted to be an urban pioneer at the same time, where would you put it? Streeterville’s pretty much full. River North’s a cliché. The South Loop has been done to death or has it? 
What if you put your shiny new residential tower in that quadrant north of Roosevelt Road and south of Congress Parkway sandwiched between the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Chicago River? It’s quiet. Tube socks and used records are readily available at the new Maxwell Street Market a block away. And real estate marketers haven’t given it a silly New York-style abbreviated name yet. It’s a hipster paradise, without having to suffer the indignities of an Orange Line commute from Bridgeport to the West Loop.  
All that and more is the potential of 571 West Polk, a 22-story residential block proposed for the southwest corner of West Polk Street and South Jefferson Street. The tower portion actually sits mid-block in the western half of an existing surface parking lot. A three-story brick building on the corner is incorporated into the design.

Very interesting.  While we have expected retail development in the area, we weren't sure if this area would see residential.  Guess it was bound to happen at some point.

As you may or may not know, many feel that the "Roosevelt corridor" is following in the footsteps of the North side's "Clybourn corridor" shopping district (arguably for better or worse).  With that said, maybe you could draw some similarities between the SoNo high-rise that was developed in the area in 2007-2008 which was really the first "major" development in the area.  

Stay tuned - if this happens and finds some success maybe it could pave the way for even more development in this area.

(Hat tip:  WL!)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Riverline Master Plan Announced and Approved; Has Us Dreaming About a Huge Riverwalk

The Chicago Architecture Blog has a big article on a huge plan being dubbed "Riverline".  While all the information isn't new, this is the first comprehensive announcement of the master plan as far as we've seen:
Downtown Chicago’s newest planned community can officially make the transition from paper to reality. Today the Chicago Plan Commission approved the construction of Riverline. 
Riverline is a joint development between CMK and Australian mega-developer Lend Lease south of Harrison Street, north of Roosevelt Road, and sandwiched between South Wells Street and the Chicago River. 
It was designed by Ralph Johnson at Perkins+Will and includes five skyscrapers ranging in height from 380 to 600 feet, three mid-rise buildings, and a number of townhouses. In total the city approved 2,699 residences, about 16,000 square feet of retail space, and lots of public open space and pathways.

To be honest, this announcement is tough to comprehend mostly because the numbers are insane.

While it's fun to dream, it seems unrealistic to think that this will play out as designed.  After all the entire plan wouldn't be expected to be completed until 2023 and 2025 (seems hard to imagine that this cycle of real estate development will continue that long - but what do we know).

Anyway, it does sound like the first part of the plan will be getting underway soon:
The preview sales program for the first phase offering is scheduled to launch in early 2016, with construction anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2016. Phase 1 is planned to include a 19‐story 278‐unit condominium building and 62 fee‐simple townhomes south of Taylor Street, a 29‐story 452‐unit multi‐ family building north of Polk Street, 31⁄2 acres of open space south of Harrison Street and the entire River Walk from Harrison Street to Roosevelt Road.
While it seems like it will be good to activate this relatively sleepy area of the Sloop, the major jewel in this crown is the announcement of 1/2 mile of river walk being built from Harrison to Roosevelt.

This is a pretty big deal assuming it actually happens.

Why?  Well it seems like it will be paving the way for the Sloop to have a full on river walk.  We know Ping Tom Park has a nice park/river walk.  We assume whatever comes of the Related Midwest plan south of Roosevelt along the river will also have a river walk.

Could we eventually be able to walk along the river (in an intentional manner) from Chinatown all the way to Harrison?

Could our South Loop river walk ever be connected to the Loop's river walk?

We have a long way to go, but we can dream, right?

What do you think?  Will we ever be able to walk from Chinatown along the river, uninterupted to Lake Michigan (via the Loop river walk)?  We're taking bets.  In the year 2040?

(Hat tip:  PO & WL!)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Soil Boring Test Equipment Appears Outside of 1411 S. Michigan

A reader sent us the following picture and suspects some developer might be sniffing out the property at 1411 S. Michigan (just south of the Chicago Firehouse):

This looks like a soil boring test which probably means someone is curious about this property, right?

Does anyone have any insight on this one?

(Hat tip:  BH!)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Natural Girl Salon Opening at 1507 S. State

A reader writes:
Attached is a photo of a new hair boutique on State St.

This has been added to the business counter!

(Hat tip:  MK!)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Versailes Massage & Bar Coming to 1331 S. Michigan Ave

A reader writes:
My wife snapped this picture 1331 South Michigan Avenue, the sign reads "Versailes Massage & Bar". Certainly an interesting concept.

Ummmm, this is slightly confusing right?  By bar do they mean a drinking bar?  or some other kinda bar?


Business Counter is updated!

(Hat tip:  JM!)

25-Story Rental Tower Coming to the Sloop; Apparently will Block Hebru Brantley Wabash Arts Corridor Mural

And here comes another new development (via Curbed):
Last week, renderings were released for an upcoming project at 1136-40 South Wabash, a property that sits adjacent to the CTA Roosevelt station. The project was recently revealed to the Greater South Loop Association and marks yet one more residential project for the booming South Loop area. The proposal is being developed by a joint venture of Keith Giles and CA Ventures and will be constructed on a city owned surface parking lot which the development team has a contract to purchase from the city for $4.4 million. The proposal's latest version calls for a 25-story rental apartment building, with residences stacked between floors 5 through 24. The first three levels will be reserved for parking and ground level retail space, while the fourth level will feature the building's amenities. Capping the top of the building would be a 25th floor lounge.
Apparently it's moving forward pretty quickly judging by pictures and this blurb:
Before the recession hit, the site was targeted for developing student housing, but this like another planned dorm tower at Van Buren and Wabash never got off the ground before the economic downturn hit. The site has seen soil testing and some potholing to examine the composition of the site's subterranean geology and the locations of buried foundations from previous buildings. Lend Lease, the general contractor who is currently working on CMK's nearby apartment tower 1333 South Wabash has since been hired to build the 1136-40 project, which is expected to begin fairly soon as no zoning change is needed.

DNAinfo had a story on the project and provided some more details on what type of rental units it would be:
Giles unveiled plans last week for the 24-story, 320-unit apartment tower he wants to build at 1136-40 S. Wabash Ave. And he's hopping on a national trend: Half of those units will be studio "quasi-micro" apartments.  
"We’re trying to meet the demands of younger people that would rather live alone and can only afford under $2,000" rent, Giles said.

The DNAinfo story states that the building will also have a rooftop bar which could be a nice addition to the Sloop (since there aren't a ton).

Our Sloopin Development Tracker is updated with this project.

Finally, if you're looking at the picture above you will probably notice that this lot is next to the sweet Hebru Brantley Wabash Arts Corridor mural.  Looks like that's going bye-bye (unfortunately).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dual-Branded Hotel Concept Proposed for SE Corner of Congress/Wells

Another day another proposed development for the Sloop.  This one is a dual-hotel concept (via crains):
...Beitler also wants to tee up a dual-branded 400-room hotel project in the South Loop. A Holiday Inn Express would comprise about half the rooms in the $93 million project, with a Staybridge Suites accounting for the rest. Both chains are run by InterContinental.

In the South Loop, Beitler would build a 27-story tower at the southeast corner of Wells Street and Congress Parkway. Owned by the Cacciatore family, the property includes the Hunter Building, an eight-story structure built in 1903 that would be torn down. 
Designed by Chicago architect James DeStefano, the new high-rise would include a rooftop restaurant and bar with views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, Beitler said. He expects significant demand for rooms from the University of Illinois at Chicago and nearby hospitals like the Rush University Medical Center.

We shall see...

FYI - our Sloopin development tracker is up-to-date.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Roosevelt Road Bike Lane Painting Appears to Be Done

Well it looks like the painting for the new bike lanes on the north side of Roosevelt are done judging by all the pictures and emails we received:

Maybe this will actually cause walkers/runner to stop using this space as an extended sidewalk?  We shall see, but it does seem like it's a step in the right direction to recognize this space for what it was intended to be.  

(Hat tip:  MK, ER, LK!)