Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Plan for 900 Mixed-Income Residences Unveiled for Former Harold Ickes Homes Site

In case you missed this last week, big plans were revealed for the large piece of land running just west of South State Street between Cermak and Stevenson Expressway (via Tribune):
Eight years after the last building was demolished in the Harold L. Ickes Homes public housing development, an ambitious plan to build almost 900 mixed-income residences on the site is moving closer to reality.
The developers leading the long-awaited project hope to begin construction by early next year on the vacant site in the South Loop where 11 high-rises that made up the Chicago Housing Authority complex once stood.

If the project gains zoning approval and kicks off in 2019, it would be a big step toward finally bringing the CHA’s sweeping but oft-delayed Plan for Transformation to the finish line. The project, likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, also would contribute to a wave of ongoing and planned real estate projects in the area where the South Loop, Bronzeville and Chinatown converge.

Planned for three construction phases, the entire 11-acre development is expected to include 770 apartments and 107 town homes and condominiums, and potentially more, said Will Woodley, director of development in the Chicago office of the Community Builders. The Community Builders, a Boston-based nonprofit that specializes in mixed-income developments, and Chicago developer McCaffery Interests were chosen by the CHA in 2015 to lead a redevelopment of the site.

The $90 million first phase would create two six-story apartment buildings with a combined 200 units — 68 public housing units, 18 affordable units and 114 market-rate apartments. It also would include 18 for-sale town homes.

The project is another big one for the neighborhood with transformational potential.  So what's next?  Apparently the plan is to be reviewed at  the Chicago Plan Commission’s July 19 meeting.  After that it's off to city council for vote.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 16, 2018

First Draft (649 S. Clark) Gets a Patio

Looks like First Draft (649 S. Clark) has a patio now (via Facebook).  An reader writes:

First Draft also opened their new full service patio on Clark Street!

(Hat tip:  CD!)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Essex on the Park Reveals Two New Renderings for Its "Winter Garden"

The "winter garden" is one of the most interesting components of the new Essex on the Park development. We're curious to see how it comes to life, but some new renderings give us a new glimpse into what it could hold (via Curbed):
As the South Michigan Avenue’s 56-story Essex on the Park tower continues its skyward climb, a pair of newly released renderings provide fresh perspectives of the skyscraper’s stunning four-story winter garden overlooking Grand Park.
“The design team was inspired to capture within the building a slice of the park beyond,” Paul Alessandro, partner at Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) tells Curbed Chicago. “If Grant Park is an oasis of green carved out of the city proper, the atrium is an oasis of green carved out of the new Essex on the Park tower.”

Indeed, the interior of the winter garden draws many design elements directly from its eastern view, according to the architect. The hanging gardens and green wall is meant to evoke the trees and lawn of the park while the infinity-edge pool mirrors the water of Lake Michigan beyond.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Site Available Sign Still at Polk/Dearborn Despite Recent Article Saying Micro-Apartments Coming

As a follow-up to our recent post about Roots Pizza potentially moving into a "micro-apartment" building, a reader questions the validity of that story:
Polk/Dearborn - This sign is up on that small vacant lot right now. Sure doesn't look like the micro apartments project is happening...?

We're skeptical too...

(Hat tip:  PB!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Starbucks "Coming Soon" Sign Appears at SE Corner of Michigan and Cermak

While many may roll their eyes at this picture, the impending opening of Starbucks at the southeast corner of Michigan and Cermak marks a pretty big development for this stretch of the neighborhood.

Yes we've been chronicling these changes for awhile (ahem Subway coming to the area), but this one feels bigger.

Ever since we started this blog we've heard people comment about how the south portion of the neighborhood was a joke and how they couldn't even get a Starbucks south of the one on Roosevelt (although we think there was always a Starbucks INSIDE McCormick Place...but that's not the same).

While we didn't really pay heed to this narrative, it stuck with us.  Anyway, now that this is coming it feels like the momentum is building and probably won't stop.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Group of Robbers Use Panhandler in Wheelchair to Lure Victims

Stay aware (via ChicagoTribune):
Police are searching for a group of robbers who lure in South Loop victims with a man panhandling from a wheelchair.

In the month of July, three of these robberies have occurred, according to the Chicago Police Department. It starts with the man in the wheelchair asking for change or a cigarette. As someone approaches, other offenders attack the victim.

The first reported incident occurred at 3:12 a.m. July 3 in the 700 block of South Michigan Avenue, police said. The next was at 9 a.m. that day in the 900 block of South Michigan Avenue.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Poke & Roll Closes at 555 S. Dearborn

A reader writes:
The Poke and Roll at 555 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605 has permanently closed. Carlos the owner said he is opening a restaurant in Hyde Park area.
It seems like this spot never really gain traction.  As a reminder they opened in the spring of 2017 and opened pretty quickly.  We had a couple decent meals, but frankly it didn't wow us.

Maybe Hyde Park will treat them better?

(Hat tip:  SC!)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bike Lane on Dearborn in Printers Row Finally Repaved

A reader writes:
The bike lane on Dearborn in Printer’s Row finally has been repaired. It has been ripped up for a year (it seems).
As someone who rides their bike on this stretch almost daily all I can say is finally.

(Hat tip:  DH!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Roots Pizza Coming to Printers Row and Anchoring 15-Story Micro-Apartment Building?

If you're into the restaurant business, Crain's has a good read about the 50/50 restaurant group.  It's an interesting read, but what really caught our eye was this paragraph:
Beyond the high-profile Old Town project, Mohr and Weiner are readying other ventures. A fourth, supersized Roots Pizza will open in the South Loop next summer. The 11,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant will sit atop a 15-story luxury micro-apartment building going up at Dearborn and Polk streets.

Lots of goodness to unpack here.  First - is that really a "micro-apartment" reference again?  If you're an avid Sloopin reader you may remember way back in 2015 when the micro concept was revealed.  Subsequently we were under the impression those plans were scraped, but maybe not?   

Second, bringing another restaurant - especially one with a proven track record - to this stretch of Printers Row is only going to continue the momentum for Dearborn.  Yes it's another pizza joint - and we certainly have a lot of them in the neighborhood - but still seems like a good addition. 

What's even more interesting is that it apparently is going to be a two-story concept with a retractable roof (via Eater):
A fourth Roots pizza is planned for the South Loop at 776 S. Dearborn Street. They’re gunning for a summer 2019 opening of a two-floor restaurant with 320 seats. About 200 seats will be on the second floor that will be covered by a retractable roof.

Wowsa - sounds sweet!  Thoughts on this news - seems positive if true?

Monday, July 2, 2018

Shedd Aquarium Partnering on "Wild Mile" Project on Chicago River

Although this isn't in the Sloop, it is something the Shedd is doing and since they're in the neighborhood thought it was worth a post (via ChicagoTribune):
From the Cherry Avenue Bridge, the rehabilitated span for trains and pedestrians at the northern tip of Goose Island, the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River looks like a silty, murky mess. The riverbanks are scarred with concrete and wooden and metal retaining walls. Unruly trees pay the barriers no mind, stretching defiantly into the water, their sagging branches capturing a flotilla of plastic bags and beer cans.

But look southward from this point only a few steps from the rush of North Avenue, toward the Lincoln Park Whole Foods store, and the river is alive with floating tufts of greenery. The gardens are the beginning of a vision to turn the old industrial channel on Goose Island’s eastern edge into a “wild mile,” an eco-park of floating plants, wetlands, kayak piers and public walkways.

Soon these water gardens, the work of Urban Rivers, will have companions. By the beginning of July, a new set of native plant gardens will float in the canal, courtesy of a partnership between the environmental nonprofit and Shedd Aquarium.

Shedd’s river “island” will add 260 square feet of native plants such as swamp rose mallow, marsh marigold, Dudley’s rush and queen-of-the-prairie to the 1,500 square feet installed a year ago by Urban Rivers.