Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Illinois Legislature Sets Aside $50M for Near North High School

Interesting to see this story pop-up about a new high-school for Chinatown (and Bridgeport and South Loop) residents (via Sun Times):
The Illinois Legislature set aside $50 million in a new capital budget approved over the weekend for a new high school to be built on the Near South Side, boosting the hopes of Chinatown residents who have spent years pushing for a neighborhood school to serve their community. 
The grant doesn’t guarantee a new school will be built, but it revitalizes an effort that was set back a few years ago when a plan to transform a South Loop elementary school into a high school failed.
Given the cost of building a school in recent years, CPS would need to commit an additional $25 million to $60 million for the project to have any chance of becoming reality. A CPS spokeswoman didn’t answer questions about the state funding Tuesday.

It's not clear where this could come but the article does allude to the fact that location could be a challenge as South Loop real estate is expensive and Chinatown/Bridgeport are already pretty built-up.

Don't hold your breath on this one, but maybe some progress is being made on a neighborhood high school (even if it wouldn't be IN the South Loop).

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Reopen Illinois Event Takes Place at Buckingham Fountain But Eventually Broken Up By Police


Ugh (via Sun-times):
Just days before businesses in Illinois will incrementally begin reopening, hundreds of protesters gathered in Grant Park on Memorial Day to hear speakers rail against the statewide stay-at-home order that has brought the economy to a screeching halt in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Some demonstrators hoisted signs that promoted conspiracy theories and many chose not to wear face coverings, flouting measures recommended by health experts to contain the deadly disease as they pressed closely together to hear the speakers yell into a megaphone.
The rally, which overshadowed a similar event outside the Thompson Center on Monday, was ultimately shut down by Chicago police officers enforcing Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Checking in on Chicago Mega-Developments Amid Covid-19

A conceptual rendering from Related Midwest depicts the Discovery Partners Institute in The 78.(Related Midwest)
Oof (via chicagotribune.com):
More than a decade of aggressive building in Chicago has altered the skyline and emboldened developers to draw up some of the most ambitious real estate plans ever seen in the city.
Now the coronavirus pandemic leaves in doubt whether megaprojects like The 78 and Lincoln Yards can continue, if they’ll be pushed into the next construction cycle, or worse, go the way of the never-built Chicago Spire and Miglin-Beitler Skyneedle.
Among the obstacles developers face: a wrecked economy, companies cutting back their office space needs and fewer financing sources. Projects that move forward will have to weigh which design changes are here to stay and which are short-term concerns that will pass when the pandemic does.

If you're interested in the state of big developments in Chicago amid the Covid-19 pandemic this is a good read.

To go deeper on The 78 the article states:
The crisis “definitely has hit the pause button" on presales of condos, Carlins said in an email. He said the developers are confident sales will pick up once residents move in. The hotel is expected to open next spring, Carlins said.
North and south of the central business district, four multibillion-dollar, mixed-use projects are at various stages of development. Two of those, The 78 and Lincoln Yards, are at an advantage because the developers already own the sites and have city zoning approval.
Related Midwest’s The 78 is a $7 billion plan zoned for 13 million square feet of similar uses on the river between the South Loop and Chinatown. Construction is underway on a road through the property but no building construction has begun.

It is super interesting to see how this plays out.  This development seemed to be moving along at a pace that surprised us (although we've been talking about this land for 10+ years!).  That said, it seems like there will be some bumps in the (unfinished) road for Related on this project.

We'll be watching with interest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hotel BnB Sign Shows Up at Former Nail Spa at 1316 S. Michigan

A reader sends us this pic:
Have you heard anything on the hotel BnB on Michigan ave?  I think it used to be a nail place.

We're unsure about what this is, but it certainly was the old Isabella's nail place.

Hotel BnB is an intriguing sign.  The space is pretty small so seems unlikely that it's a hotel or BnB space - but maybe?  If it's not that, then what is it? 

Does anyone have any info?

(Hat tip:  MC!)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Heavy Rains Flood Chicago River in the Sloop

After a long couple of days of rain it looks like the Chicago river is overwhelmed (via Hello South Loop Facebook page):

(Hat tip: AL!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Blue Angels To Fly Over Chicago Today at 11:45am in Honor of US Response to Coronavirus

Other cities have had their Blue Angel flyover and it's the Midwest's turn today.  Besides our city getting the visitors, Detroit and Indy will also get a flyover.

What are the details?  See below or check the Blue Angels Facebook page:

The Chicago Air and Water show is one of our favorite events, so obviously we're going to peep out this flyover - especially since it seems unlikely that the event will happen this fall.

Monday, May 11, 2020

What The?!?!? 7 Police Officers Injured By One Man in South Loop Altercation

When we read this short post, we were left scratching our head (via NBC5):
A man has been charged after injuring seven Chicago police officers during an altercation Saturday in the South Loop.
Nathan Arrington, a 57-year-old from Hyde Park, is charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery to a police officer and one felony county of resisting or obstructing an officer, police said. He also faces a misdemeanor charge for simple assault and criminal trespass to land.
Officers were called to a storage center in the 1300 block of S. Wabash at around 11:05 a.m. for reports of a male was causing disturbance in the lobby, police said.

How does one man injure 7 police officers and leave a scene unscathed?

Friday, May 8, 2020

A Look at Covid-19's Impact on McCormick Places Convention Business

An interesting look at the convention business at McCormick Place and how it has been impacted by Covid-19 (via Chicago Tribune):
Before Illinoisans were working from home, before restaurants had shut down and before the stay-at-home order was in place, the coronavirus pandemic was already ravaging the state’s convention business.
Now it appears the industry that sustained the pandemic’s first economic blows might be one of the last to recover.
Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase plan to reopen the state, conventions cannot be held until the final phase of recovery. To reach that phase, a vaccine must be developed, a treatment option must be readily available or no new cases must arise over a sustained period.
There’s no telling how long it might take to reach the fifth phase, and increases in cases or hospitalizations could hamper progress. As a result, organizations are unsure whether they should cancel events later this year that would bring tens of thousands of people to the Chicago area, staying in hotels, taking cabs and ride-share vehicles and using their expense accounts to dine in the best restaurants.

The financial impact is staggering:
Between July and December, McCormick Place is scheduled to host 67 events with an expected attendance of 781,168 people, said spokeswoman Cynthia McCafferty. Those meetings and conventions translate to 585,199 nights in hotel rooms and generate $922.7 million in economic impact, including spending on food and entertainment.
McCormick Place had its first event cancellation related to the COVID-19 outbreak March 3. As of April 20, 65 events that would have drawn 656,668 attendees had been canceled or postponed at the facility, delivering an economic hit to the city of $897 million.

Just last week the convention center was being shut down as a possible emergency overflow outpost of sick patients.  So it's not super surprising that the financial impact of lost conventions is going to be drastic, that said it's still hard to wrap your head around this. 

Even more so, the city and local businesses rely on these conventions in so many ways so the impact is going to linger and have broad impact.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020

Sloopin Covid-19 Spotlight: Bar Louie (47 W. Polk)


Highlighting the good peeps at Bar Louie and their covid deals:
$5 Burgers all day Tuesday (carry-out/online ordering only)
Beer and Wine carry-out and delivery through Uber Eats
$40 Meal Bundles
$8 Special Menu for Frontline Workers (carry-out/online ordering only)
Martini Kits to go
Frequent 3rd party delivery specials on a rotating basis – all updated as they change to our Louie Nation loyalty members
At present, we are working on a fundraising initiative with local businesses to provide 600 meals to Frontline Workers through their sponsorship.  If I can provide any more information that would be helpful please don’t hesitate to let me know.