Thursday, March 26, 2015

CMK's Land Grab Next to the Chicago River Progresses

A view of one of the empty lots that CMK bought next to the Chicago River - looking north from Roosevelt
From Crain's:
Residential developer CMK has cleared two more hurdles in its South Loop land grab, dropping more than $33 million on a pair of properties along the Chicago River.
A CMK venture paid $22.9 million last month for a 5.1-acre vacant parcel north of Roosevelt Road on the east bank of the river, one of the largest development sites in the South Loop, according to Cook County property records.
Another venture led by the Chicago developer paid $10.5 million for an empty 1.9-acre site just north of the River City housing complex, county records show.

CMK, whose recent projects include a 714-unit condominium tower at 245 W. Van Buren St., has emerged as the boldest buyer of South Loop land since the crash. In December it paid $7.8 million for a 1.8-acre property just south of River City.

As you might recall, this is a follow-up to the post we did back in January.  However, it appears that the article in Crain's at the start of the year was a little misleading.  CMK has actually bought a property South AND North of River City on the Chicago River.  Back in January we read it as they bought two lots South of River City.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that CMK is betting big on the Sloop and specifically this area on the river.

The Crain's article also presumes that they will be utilizing the river in whatever they're doing with the space (although it seems like it's speculation):
CMK also is building a 307-unit apartment tower at 1333 S. Wabash. Yet the developer's two Wabash projects, while in a more established neighborhood, aren't on the Chicago River, an amenity it will almost certainly embrace in its plans for its newly acquired properties.
Finally, one more fun fact for your Thursday - the lot that they acquired north of River City (known as Franklin Point) was purchased from two former business partners of Jay-Z.  They had plans to develop the lot, but obviously will not be doing that.

(Hat tip:  JJ!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Is it Spring?

A reader writes:
No SLoop development or business or brewery news- just a super-local, handcrafted ...billboard. This snow-ffiti was put on north side of The Franklin Building (720 S Dearborn ) this afternoon by a team of people. Lots of people were taking pix of it so maybe you already got some. This is the lot where Bob sells Christmas trees in December and dogs romp the rest of the year (except during Book Fair).

(Hat tip:  GM!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Rubi's - A Hidden Sunday Taco Gem in the Sloop?

We love tacos.  Maybe we were late to the game, but for some reason 3 years ago it just clicked.  They're delicious...but we digress.

Anyway, we were recently reading the Eater Chicago blog and came across a map thing outlining 15 of the Greatest Taco Spots in Chicago.  To our surprise, their was a place in the Sloop we had no idea about:
Rubi's At Maxwell Street Market (800 S. Desplaines)
A mainstay at Maxwell Street Market since 1997, Rubi’s is one of the city’s best kept secrets. Every Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., people line up at the flea market for this stand that serves its famous al pastor tacos. The corn tortillas are made fresh on the spot and filled with everything from huitlacoche to cactus and squash blossom. Add a little homemade salsa on them and you’ll be coming back every week for more.

This sounds fun...see you there next Sunday!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Developer Looking to Purchase Vacant Lot from City at 1136 S. Wabash to Build Apartment Tower

And it looks like another vacant lot in the Sloop is getting developed (via Crains):
Vacant lot at 1136 S. Wabash (via Crains)
Chicago developer Keith Giles plans to build a 24-story apartment tower on South Loop land he would buy from the city for $4.4 million.  
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today introduced the potential land sale at 1136-40 S. Wabash Ave. to the City Council, according to a statement released from his office. If the sale is approved, Giles would spend $64 million developing a 280-unit apartment building on the parking lot that now stands on the 19,000-square-foot site, the statement said.
Interestingly enough, it appears that the developer tried to buy the same lot for $8 million in 2009.  Seems strange that the price would get chopped nearly in half given that the real estate market has seemed to improve drastically since 2009.  What do we know...

According to the article the building would have 10,000 square feet of ground level retail space.  As it stands now, this stretch of Wabash (generally from 11th to 14th) is one of the more vibrant areas of the neighborhood.  We only imagine that this building would help that momentum.

As a reminder, their is a rumor reputable rumor floating around that a BBQ restaurant with live music is coming to 1132 S. Wabash (which is just north of where this proposed apartment tower would be).

Development is surely getting hot.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hey Hey - Get Your Sloopin "Hat Tip" T-Shirt

A friendly reminder that the Sloopin "Hat Tip" T-shirts are available for those of you who have recently submitted tips on published posts.   You're now officially eligible to get your t-shirt. If you see your initials below, please send an email to to let us know you're going to go to Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan) to redeem your shirts:
  • AK
  • AT
  • NK
  • MD
  • GS
  • DT
  • AM
  • JL
  • BK
  • @tylereece
  • ESN
  • MR
  • RY
  • SN
  • JB
  • DS
  • AD
  • BS
  • TR
  • SH
  • SC
  • NK
  • KK
If this post doesn't mean anything to you and you're like "Wha?!?!? click here for some background on the Sloopin Hat Tip program. 

Thanks again for all the tips, photos, suggestions and whatnot. Without you Sloopin wouldn't exist!

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Sail

A reader writes:
Today some interesting looking pavers are being laid along Roosevelt alongside the elevated bike bath. Some have words, SAIL, EXCAVATION, etc.
(Hat tip: LK!)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
New Construction Walk-up

The Sloopin Open House is a new weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right?

You don't see many new construction, walk-up condo buildings in the Sloop, but here is one.  At the corner of State and Archer (1837 S. State) sits one complete building and another one on the way.

We've actually been to this open house and can attest for the quality construction at this place.  We are also a sucker for the vaulted ceilings and loft space (however, they're claiming the loft is the third bedroom which some people might scoff at).

A potential turn-off could be the close proximity to the EL (the unit sits on a lot right next to it) but if you can get over that, it's worth a look.

This 3bd/2bth penthouse unit is listed at $499K and is having their open house on Sunday (3/22) between noon and 2pm.

The Pains of Living By A Construction Zone

A reader writes:
Besides leaving the streets muddy in the vicinity, this crew has managed to knock down and break a traffic signal at 9th and State. The other lights are now set to flashing red.

As a reminder, this construction zone is due to a new high-rise coming to the southeast corner of State and 9th.

(Hat tip:  JS!)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Out with the Couture, In with the Baby's at Roosevelt Collection

Maybe this is a sign of what are neighborhood is these days - baby gear instead of trendy gear.

It appears that there is some new news at Roosevelt Collection's retail space.

A reader writes:
Well looks like ROC @ Roosevelt Collection might be RIP? Tarps in all the windows... Last week was signs showing 40-70 off everything.

In other retail news, it appears that the baby gear store Carter's is moving into the Roosevelt Collection:

Based on our false alarm (albeit probably a valid warning sign) about Republic of Couture in January we figured we would try to get some confirmation.  This is what a representative from Roosevelt Collection told us:
Republic of Couture has closed this location along with several of their other locations such as Scottsdale, AZ, Omaha, NE, Queens, NY and Oxnard, CA as well as disabling their website. We look forward to gaining back this high quality retail space since demand for new retail in the South Loop has increased and we look forward to welcoming a new tenant in the near future. Our next exciting retailer to join Roosevelt Collection is Carter’s opening at the end of March, along with our restaurant tenants planning openings for this Summer.

(Hat tip: SH, SC, NK, KK!)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Sociale" & "Cafe Press" Apparently the Names of the Two New Spots Coming to Polk and Clark

As you probably recall, we did a post about two new restaurants coming to the recently completed AMLI Lofts at Polk and Clark.  A couple readers have sent us information and provided updates.  One writes:
You posted a while ago about 2 restaurants (Mediterranean tapas and a cafe) coming to the retail space inside the new AMLI Lofts at Clark/Polk. Late this week the spaces were covered in decals advertising the two spots with names and some details.
Looks like the Mediterranean place will be called “Sociale” and the cafe will be “Cafe Press” , which disappointingly reminds me of the website for ordering custom-printed crappy swag with the same name.

Both are listed as opening Summer 2015, but so far restaurants on Clark St have had a pretty bad track record for opening on time. First Draft opened a year and a half after their original intended open date, and the new Villains seems to be still stuck in limbo (liquor license problems I expect).
We know the AMLI lofts are signing leases (shout-out to CG!) and it looks like these residents will have some new places to get their grub on as well.

As a reminder, these spots will be run by the Good Eats Group, which also just opened up Burger Bar at Roosevelt and Michigan.

(Hat tip: AD, BS, TR!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Villains Gets Their Licenses for New Location at 730 S. Clark

Via Eater Chicago:
It looks like Sloopers won't have much longer to wait for Villains' long-gestating new location to open, as licenses were issued on March 12. No official word has come from representatives yet and there's no telling if chef Dennis Stover is still in the picture, having come on board well over a year ago.

As a reminder, Villain's abruptly closed and apparently lost their lease at 649 S. Clark way back in 2012.  They subsequently announced their return to South Clark in 2013 and officially began their build out in 2014.

Hopefully this means they'll be opening soon!

(Hat tip:  DS!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

NFL Draft to Close Down Much of Grant Park and Some Streets for 2 Weeks

The NFL draft and it festivities are invading the Sloop this spring.  We all knew that the NFL draft was a prestige event, a feather in the city's proverbial hat, but we weren't really sure what the city had to do to have the honor of hosting the event.

Interactive Map of NFL Draft Festivities (via Tribune)
Well it seems like they pretty much had to hand over Grant Park for awhile and some more according to a Chicago Tribune article:
City records show much of Grant Park is reserved for two weeks, as well as a key stretch of Congress Parkway between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Avenue. Adding to the possible congestion on May 2 will be the annual Polish Constitution Day Parade, which has been rerouted to accommodate the draft.  
A park district spokeswoman confirmed the NFL's tentative reservations for the park, as well as Congress Parkway between Michigan and Wabash, from April 24 to May 6. Congress, from Michigan to Columbus, is expected to be closed by April 25, according to records obtained by the Tribune via a public records request.  
The draft starts in less than seven weeks, running April 30 through May 2, but many details, including transportation, parking and road closures, have yet to be announced. City, local tourism officials and the NFL have said many aspects have yet to be finalized.

While this isn't unheard of (see Lollapalooza, Obama Election Night, Taste of Chicago) it does tend to provide a huge traffic nightmare for those of us around the area.

For football fans, the headache is probably worth the inconvenience to experience this unusual event.  For the city, the opportunity to showoff our "front-yard" through the this highly rated television event is also probably pretty enticing.

We will be paying close attention to see if all the hype is worth it.

What do you think?  Is the city doing the right thing here?

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Fugitive Map:
Sloop Home to One Memorable Scene; One Not So Much

One of our favorite movies of all time is The Fugitive!  Not sure if it's considered a classic by most, but for Chicagoans it seems like many view it favorably due to the fact that it was shot in our glorious city (and it was an entertaining story - right?!?!?!).

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to draft off of a fun thing the peeps at Curbed Chicago recently did.  They outlined all the Chicago spots that the film utilized.

In regard to the Sloop, the final and (arguably) most climatic sequence of the movie was actually shot in the South Loop at the Hilton Towers at 720 S. Michigan:
Kimble was on his way to confront Nichols. You see there was no forced entry when his wife was killed. That was because Nichols had his keys and let Sykes into the house. Gerard and his team have figured this out. All of the main players still able to walk converge on the site of the pharmaceutical convention, where Nichols is delivering the keynote, which Kimble interrupts. The two fight inside the building and then make their way to the roof. After falling down an elevator shaft, the fight ends when Kimble takes out Nichols in the hotel’s laundry room. In an emotionally charged scene, Kimble tells Gerard, “They killed my wife” and Gerard replies “I know it.” Gerard escorts Kimble from the hotel and puts him in a car. Once in the car, Gerard removes the handcuffs and they drive away. If you have never watched the movie to the end of the credits, please do, for there is a little treat there.

It appears that there was also a scene at the former Meigs Field (now a nature preserve on Northerly Island).  The article states:
Having left the local authorities to find Kimble’s body – alive or dead – Gerard and his team board a plane to head back to Chicago, though the airport terminal seen is Meigs Field, which no longer exists. The runway was demolished March 30, 2003.

Anyway, if you're a fan of the movie we highly suggest reading the post.

We promise Dr. Richard Kimble would approve of you reading this!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Fire of the Dragon

A reader took a recent shot that shows the carnage of the fire that raged at the retail at Cermak and State back on 12/31/14:
I was walking to the new Cermak Green Line stop this morning and noticed one of the boards was missing on where the windows used to be on the burned out Dragon Fire Asian Grill place. I peaked inside and took this photo. 

(Hat tip: JB!)