Thursday, April 24, 2014

Deals at Recently Opened Bentley's Corner Barkery

Bentley's Corner Barkery just opened at Roosevelt Collection and they're doing some good stuff:
We just opened our 5th Bentley's location in the Roosevelt Collection! We are thrilled to be in the South Loop and we've already met so many great people and their dogs. We'd like to offer your readers 10% off any purchase from now through the end of April. Here's some more info about us:  Bentley’s Corner Barkery Now Open in the South Loop!
And we have a Grand Opening Sale and Celebration coming up on Saturday and Sunday, April 26th and 27th. On Saturday we'll have Project Rescue Chicago here with adoptable dogs. A portion of all of our sales of Stella and Chewy's will benefit them this month (also, Callen, our official store greeter for our South Loop location, was adopted from them over 3 years ago:)
Readers can mention "SLOOP" or we can scan the code:

(Spring) Cleaning Up the May or May Not Open Sloopin Business Counter

The Sloopin Business Counter is one of our favorite things.  It gives us a good way to quantify trends in the neighborhood.  Maybe it's not scientific, but in our eyes it's helpful.

Anyway, we've been doing it for a couple of years now and there are a couple businesses that either are still working out the kinks or simply have called it quits.  We don't have firm intelligence on all of them, so figured we would pose the question to you - do you have any updates on some of these lingering retail projects?

Inside Broad Shoulders Brewery
(via their Facebook Page)
Here are some of the lingering projects and some of the rumors we've been hearing:

• Broad Shoulders Brewery (2337 S. Michigan)
One of the most anticipated projects in the Sloop, but it's been taking a long long time.  However, looking at their facebook page it still looks they're still moving forward.  Chance of opening?  We're still optimistic

• Cheap Trick Chicago (2245 S. Michigan)
In march of 2013 this deal apparently fell through.  It wasn't clear if the deal for the building fell through or the concept in total.  We're assuming the former, but also heard rumors that it might not be dead.  Chance of opening?  Unlikely

• Yard House (150 W. Roosevelt Rd)
Back in 2012 it was leaked on the Yard House website that they would be opening at RC.  It's been awhile and we haven't heard anything.  The Roosevelt Collection team is also pretty good about updating everyone on retail news, so the fact that we haven't heard a peep makes us think this is dead.  Change of opening?  Not happening - removing from list

• Blackfin American Grille (150 W Roosevelt)
During the initial wave of retail announcements at Roosevelt Collection, Blackfinn was included as a new tennant.  This was back in November of 2012.  Given that we haven't heard anything else about this and that BlackFinn opened in River North - our doubts are high.  Change of opening?  Not happening - removing from list

• Pink Olive Wine and Liquor Store (80 E. Cermak)
Haven't heard much about this, but they were talking about opening over a year ago.  It's also interesting that McCormick Market recently opened in the same retail building.    Chance of opening?  Unlikely

• Pretty Donkey Coffee (77 E. Cermak)
We had questions when we saw their website, but gave them the benefit of the doubt.  While signage is up, it's been awhile since we've seen anything new happening at this place.  Chance of opening?  We're still optimistic

• FruVe (1130 S. Wabash)
One of the more interesting projects we were excited about, has seemed to stall.  It hasn't been a year yet, but usually a Juice bar doesn't take that long to build-out (despite that they were going to be the "world most complete juice bar" - whatever that means).  However, signage is still up, which is encouraging.  Chance of opening?  We're still optimistic

• TBD - Burger Restaurant (NW corner of Roosevelt & Michigan)
A super high-profile Sloop retail space was finally going to be snatched up by a relatively sexy restaurant, Burger Bar.  Or maybe not?!?!?!  Seemed like we had a lot of people confirming this, but maybe it fell through.  To this date there has been zero activity inside the proposed retail space at the Northwest corner of Roosevelt and Michigan.  Chance of opening?  Unlikely

What do you think?  Is our assessment off?  Have you heard otherwise?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Roosevelt Collection Retail News: Lululemon, The Container Store and Banana Republic Coming to the Sloop

Lululemon storefront
2014 has been humming a long from a retail standpoint.  Nothing major has happened this year (IMO), but big news has just emerged about three prominent national retailers coming to the neighborhood (via Chicago Real Estate Daily):
A trio of national retailers — Banana Republic, Lululemon and Container Store — are moving into the Roosevelt Collection shopping center in the South Loop, a big casualty of the real estate crash that is steadily filling up. 
Totaling 37,000 square feet, the new leases will bring the 330,000-square-foot retail development's occupancy to 79 percent, up from just 23 percent when Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc. and a partner bought it three years ago.
While we've heard rumblings of the Container Store seeking construction bids recently, it's good to get confirmation on Banana Republic and Lululemon.

Lululemon has long been rumored and hinted at based on marketing collateral that was floating around on the interwebs way back in early 2012.  We even heard stories of leasing agents at Roosevelt Collection not so subtly stating that a popular "fruit" yoga/athletic retailer would be opening up shortly.  Looks like it took some time for the ink to dry, but glad to see this coming to fruition.

The small article in Chicago Real Estate Daily also had some other intriguing tidbits and quotes:
  • Container Store Group Inc. is the Roosevelt Collection's biggest new tenant, with a lease for more than 26,000 square feet, according to a recent McCaffery leasing document. Apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. leased more than 2,900 square feet there, the document shows. 
    A McCaffery spokeswoman also confirmed that Banana Republic, a unit of San Francisco-based Gap Inc., leased 7,500 square feet in the shopping center at 150 W. Roosevelt Road, west of Clark Street. She declined to confirm the names of the other new tenants or discuss their leases.  
    Sloopin thoughts: so you're telling us there are more stores?  
  • The leasing activity should attract other national tenants that may not immediately think of the South Loop as a retail destination, said John Vance, a vice president at Chicago-based Stone Real Estate Corp. who wasn't involved in the deals. Sloopin thoughts: It feels like we're already seeing this with The Maxwell development and a lot of other interest and activity west of the Chicago River on Roosevelt.   
  • Meanwhile, the McCaffery leasing document shows the company wants to build a 355-unit apartment tower on the northwest corner of the property. Further details about the new residential building were unavailable. The property currently includes 342 apartments.Sloopin thoughts: This isn't new news, but sounds like they're looking to move quicker than we expected.
Seems like some good momentum and seems like a good mix of national and local retailers at Roosevelt Collection.  What do you think?  Is this a good thing?

(Hat tip:  JJ, KM, AR, KW!)

An Update on the Northerly Island Transformation

A reader writes:
I emailed the Park District to get an update on the schedule, and they replied:
Thanks for contacting us regarding Northerly Island!
Our planning department is projecting that the strolling path will be available this summer in June/early July. Visitors will be able to walk along the path; there may be large areas of the land space that remain unavailable to walk on because we're doing plantings in the natural areas.
We look forward to seeing you here this summer!

A)  Nice of them to respond and B) Glad to see parts of this will be accessible soon!

For background the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke grown to develop the southern 40 acres of Northerly Island, thanks to a $2.8 million federal grant and $1.5 million in Park District revenues generated by the concert venue at Northerly Island.

Last year, the "new" concert venue was up and running and ran into some consumer backlash given weather and lack of time.

This all could eventually pave way for grander and more dramatic (and costly) changes to the infamous "island".

(Hat tip:  JMK!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FYI: PDNA Presentation from April 14th Meeting

In case you missed the Prairie District Neighborhood Association meeting on April 14th, here is a detailed deck for you to peruse through.  Has a lot of interesting information and if any of the following topics seem interesting, we highly suggest opening the presentation at this link:

(Hat tip: AL!)

First Ascent Climbing Falls Down - Won't Open in Sloop; Opts for Avondale

Last year we got word that First Ascent Climbing was going to open up a massive climbing facility in the Sloop.  They were aiming for a Fall opening in 2013, but then got delayed and was planning on Spring of 2014.

Judging by the title of our post, you probably realize that this isn't happening in the Sloop.  A reader give us this update:
The climbing gym that was supposed to open this spring that was rumored to be in the South loop updated their site today. 
Unfortunately it isn't going to be in the sloop anymore sadly. New date is December 2014 up in Avondale.

As a result, we will be removing them from our future business tracker.

Would have been interesting...but now I doubt that I'm ever going to go...sigh.

(Hat tip:  CC!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shots Around the Sloop: Toewsosaurus

(Hat tip:  GS!)

If only he was this big, because something tells us the Blues are going to be hunting number 19's head after their captain was crushed:

Harrison Red Line Stop to Get Makeover

Back in the fall of last year, the city announced that the North entrance of the Harrison Red Line stop was going to get a makeover.  Well we finally get to see what the stop will look like soon (Via Curbed Chicago):
As the South Loop area continues to grow in population and as more students attend area classes or live nearby, a fresh coat of paint will be much welcomed by L riders. Aside from aesthetic improvements and repairs that should reduce water pooling around the stairs and platform (a huge problem at this station), the station will be upgraded with better security cameras, Train Tracker screens, and better placement of ticketing and entrances. However, the improvements won't all be below ground. The station will be the first to include newly designed glass and steel entrance canopies over the entrance stairways on State Street, breaking tradition from the throwback black wrought-iron look the CTA has been using for recent downtown area entrance canopies lately.
More renderings over at Curbed Chicago.

Looks pretty nice and modern to us!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Don't Forget to Claim Your Sloopin Hat Tip T-Shirt!

It's been a grip since we've done a post reminding you to pick up your Sloopin Hat Tip T-shirt, so figured it's a good time to do so.  The weather is warming up and we expect to see many peeps rocking the shirt soon!

For background here is the background on the Sloopin Hat Tip T-shirt program.

If you see your initials below and have submitted a story, you're eligible for a t-shirt.  However, we're running short, so first come first serve:

  • VC
  • RP
  • DN
  • AD
  • CM
  • JC
  • EA
  • KM
  • CD
  • MJ
  • MK
  • BS
  • MG
  • KW
  • NB
  • AN
  • TOC
  • SH
  • MP
  • DW
  • DWK
  • AR
  • OI
  • AN
  • JH
  • JJ
  • KM
  • VC
  • AF
  • AS
  • TCH
  • KK
  • DK
  • MM
  • SH
  • RH
  • AR
  • SH
  • HH
  • BO
  • DW
  • CS
  • MP
  • JB
  • CM
  • AC
  • RE
  • CD
  • KP
  • YL
  • VG
  • DK
  • TP
  • JE
  • JD
Needless to say thanks for all the contributions!  We couldn't do it without you!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Porkchop & Mirai Sushi to Open at Roosevelt Collection this Summer

About a month ago, word came out that two new restaurants were coming to Roosevelt Collection.  Now we're getting confirmation that both concepts have been finalized.

The first is Mirai Sushi, which will be the second location for the popular former Japonais partner Miae Lim.  While this was hinted at back in March, it wasn't confirmed that it would be a Mirari Sushi.  At the time it was being labeled as "a new casual gourmet concept".  Sounds like we're just splitting hairs now.

Anyway, the new news is that Porkchop will be the second restaurant opening up at RC.  This will be the third Porkchop in Chicago.  The first was on Randolph in the West Loop and they recently just opened a new restaurant in Hyde Park.

For those not familiar with the restaurant here is a blurb from their website: 
Menu favorites (like the knock-out pork belly sliders, Baby Back Ribs with "Damn Good" BBQ Sauce or the classic pork chop grilled atop natural charcoal imbedded with whiskey barrels) or come in for lunch for the Pork Belly Sandwich with the sexy yet simple attitude, and a huge sidewalk patio in the summer and warm an unique place to hide away in the rain and chicago winters.
We've never been, but sounds interesting and definitely sound unique to the Sloop.

According to an article on DNAinfo, both restaurants are shooting for an opening this summer.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

7 Townhouses Coming to 1900 S. Calumet

More and more building projects continue to emerge in the Sloop (via Curbed Chicago):
The South Loop will soon be getting some new spacious residential units in the form of a townhome development planned for 1900 South Calumet Avenue. The current zoning for the lot allows for upwards of 31 units, however the developer Harbor Side LLC plans to only build seven units in the form of two buildings. At four stories tall, the townhouses designed by architect Michael J. Leary will range in size, with the larger units containing roughly 4500-5700 square feet of space and each residence will include two parking spaces.

Looks pretty nice to us.  The neighborhood could use more family friendly housing options.

(Hat tip:  VC!)

Parking Situation at the Post Office Just North of State and 21st Street

A reader writes about a problem at the neighborhood post office:
I'm writing about the post office at 21st & State. 
Below is a photo showing the problem.

This is the "customer parking area". All taken up by cars belonging to USPS employees.
This forces real customers to use the surrounding streets, a difficult task for a variety of reasons. 
I'm sure when this location was built the zoning code required them to have a certain number of off-street parking spaces of their customers. 
This post office has an employee parking lot on the other side of the building, but an employee (the postmaster wouldn't speak to me) said they're aren't enough spaces and it makes it difficult for the trucks. 
These cars need to go somewhere else so customers can park and unload their packages adjacent to the entrance.
Funny you write, because we've noticed this and also been frustrated.  Definitely doesn't seem right.

Our suggestion would be to email the 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell -

(Hat tip:  RP!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New McCormick Place/DePaul Plan Works Around Legal Land Hurdles

New McCormick Place/Motor Row Expansion Plan (via DNAinfo)
New plans for Motor Row and the proposed DePaul event center have emerged out of a community meeting earlier this week (via DNAinfo):
The massive redevelopment of the South Loop that would bring in the new DePaul Athletic Arena and a $400 million hotel would also include a new park and a plan to move the historic Harriet Rees House, community leaders said Monday night. 
The South Loop makeover is poised to attract traffic and tourists headed for McCormick Place — along with new businesses and residents — issues that have led to opposition from the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance and other community groups. 
The meeting at Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago, 1936 S. Michigan Ave. drew about 200 residents, several of whom voiced their concerns during a question-and-answer session at the end of the evening.

We had a post about the Harriet Rees House a couple of weeks ago and really there isn't a ton of new info here.  Regardless, should be interesting to see how this progresses.

The one piece that is new to us is the timing.  We've posted about some of the legal issues the initial plan had (mainly based on acquiring land), but according to a post on Curbed Chicago this new plan works around the issue:
As far as timelines are concerned, McPier wants to move quickly with the plan. It had previously been held up due to a land dispute, however now that the map and (some of the) buildings have been redrawn, McPier says that it is now go time. The ginormous redevelopment proposal heads to the Chicago Plan Commission on April 23, and if all goes according to the predetermined schedule, everything will be completed by Spring 2017.
Sounds like this is moving forward.