Friday, December 13, 2019

A Look at the Shedd's Scientific Research Efforts in the Bahamas

If you're like us, you love having the Shedd Aquarium so close to your house.  While we've wandered around the building many of times, we appreciated this long (and gated) article in the Chicago Tribune talking about the scientific research the institution is conducting in the Bahamas.  

It's a long one, but wanted to highlight this blurb that caught our attention:
The aquarium is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions, but few of the nearly 2 million annual visitors realize that it is more than a menagerie and spends more than $3 million annually on its field research team. The Shedd’s applied-science efforts have been refocused in recent years under CEO Bridget Coughlin, herself a Ph.D. in applied biochemistry, to have one group studying local freshwater aquatic life and the second working in the Bahamas, an independent country spanning some 600 miles to the east of southern Florida.
Their tight lens on Bahamian marine life takes advantage of the Miami-based Coral Reef II, commissioned by Shedd in 1984 for the collection of marine life to display back in Chicago but long since repurposed for science, a conversion mirroring the change zoos and aquariums have made toward conservation. This group of salt-water researchers was already studying creatures along the food chain from conchs to iguanas to groupers to sharks. Adding coral at the low end made sense, Coughlin says, because of coral’s huge significance in the marine environment and to the Bahamas and as a climate-change bellwether.
“It’s a great marrying of something the public understands — coral bleaching, temperatures of the ocean rising — and a great scientific endeavor,” Coughlin says. “What we do on site (is) to engage people with animals and then extrapolate it to out in the wild and how Shedd can contribute to the solution.”

Thursday, December 12, 2019

US Soccer Federation Moving Their HQ Out of the Sloop

In case you missed this story from last week, there was a lot of news about the United States Soccer Federation and some of the lawsuits they're fighting regarding gender discrimination.

You may be wondering why we're writing about this, but the Sloop connection was buried in the article (via
US Soccer is also looking to move out of its Soccer House headquarters in Chicago’s South Loop because it needs more room due to an expanded workforce. It will look to lease space elsewhere in the city for a few years while it figures out a long-term plan.

For those of you who aren't familiar, the US Soccer HQ is at the southeast corner of 18th and Prairie - anchoring the mansions on Prairie avenue.  The house - called the William W. Kimball House - is actually on the National Register of Historic Places and according to wikipedia the history goes something like this:
The house was built in 1890–92 for William Wallace Kimball, a piano manufacturer. Kimball reportedly spent $1,000,000 on the home. At the time, Prairie Avenue was known for its expensive homes designed in popular revival styles, and the district was home to many of Chicago's wealthiest residents. The Kimball House and the John J. Glessner House are the main two surviving examples of the district's homes of the late 1800s. The house now serves as the headquarters of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

It is a beautiful building, but always seemed like a strange location for the US Soccer operation (other than it's proximity to Soldier Field). 

Assuming they move out, curious to see what happens to this building.  Bed and Breakfast anyone?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic Weighs in On Sloop's Tallest Building NEMA

NEMA Chicago is nearly done and architecture critic Blair Kamin weighs in (via Chicago Tribune):
It’s no coincidence that the nearly complete NEMA Chicago skyscraper, which at 896 feet is Chicago’s tallest rental high-rise, bears a strong resemblance to Willis Tower. The architect, New York’s Rafael Viñoly, is a fan of our muscular skyline giant.
The comparison is impossible to miss. Even the most casual observer can glimpse it in NEMA’s resolutely right-angled geometry and the way its cluster of nine vertical sections gradually peels away, leaving one to soar to the summit.
Fortunately, the outcome is a vigorous reinterpretation of Willis, not a slavish copy. And that should come as a relief for anyone who cares about Chicago's skyline.
Apartment buildings are notorious for low budgets and lower aesthetic aspirations. A visual flop at NEMA’s prominent site — on the south edge of Grant Park and near the busy corner of Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue — would have left a lasting, unavoidable eyesore.
Viñoly, whose previous works include a business school and hospital at the University of Chicago, avoided that trap by doing things the old-fashioned Chicago way: with a directness that verges on bluntness.

It's a good read (as usual) and he sums up the building in a succinct manner:
For now, we can be glad that NEMA has returned Chicago to its pragmatic architectural roots and endowed the skyline with a fresh shot of visual poetry. That’s better than an ugly concrete stalk along Grant Park.
Ok, so maybe not a resounding win - but sounds like it could have been worse. 

In our opinion the building does well.  Viewed from almost every direction it is an impressive building.  The view from the west is probably the worst, but hopefully that gets covered up if and when the build the second tower.

What do you say - is this a good building?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Sultry Steps Looks to Be Moving in at Roosevelt Collection

It looks like Roosevelt Collection is quickly refilling a space that White House Black Market just vacated:

If the picture above isn't clear enough it says "Sultry Steps Boutique".

We weren't familiar with the store so after some googling found their website here.  It appears this is their first brick and mortar location judging from their about us page:
Marquisha Washington is a Wife, Mother, and the founder and President of Sultry Steps, Inc.  Sultry Steps began as a passion project from home and evolved into a boutique located in the Chicagoland Suburb of South Holland since 2016.
At an early age, when many were struggling to fit-in the room, Marquisha was preparing to slay the room! Her sense of colors, combinations, self expression and fashion, fueled her consumption of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Ebony magazines.  More important, as a modern working woman, she “seamlessly” reconciles the necessity for runway level fashion with the 21st century woman’s need for comfort.  Thus, the “Sensual, Sexy and Functional” offerings of Sultry Steps e-commerce was launched in 2015.

Good to see a local business come in.  We wish them the best and looking forward to having them in the Sloop.

Update - here is an image of the store without paper up:

Monday, December 9, 2019

Another Pizza Joint - Paisans Pizzeria & Bar - Coming to Printer's Row Area

A reader writes:
The mystery of just what is coming to the space just north of Burnham Pointe has been answered. I was never able to figure it out from the original construction permit for the exterior work, but a new building permit for the interior build-out just went up that reveals the space is going to be a Paisans Pizza, a suburb brand that's expanding into the city.

It’s kind of wild that 2 pizza restaurants are mid-construction within a stones’s throw from each other (Roots Pizza around the corner), both outside-chicago restaurants that are expanding into the city for the first time. Are there enough pizza eaters in printers row to sustain the business? Maybe.
It's a good question.  With the Old Post Office filling in and the accompanying residential developments around the river, it seems like these restaurants are betting that demand continues to pick up.  Will it be enough to sustain so much pizza pie is a fair question and something to keep our eye on.

Regarding the building, we believe it was a car wash but has sat vacant for awhile:

It's between Burnham Pointe and the build out going on for the Church of Scientology.

(Hat tip:  AD!)

Sunday, December 8, 2019

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: El train, El train, dancing in the night

A reader writes:
Sloop-bound CTA Holiday Train, 12/3/2019. Taken at Adams and Wabash crossover bridge.

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

...and Amarit is Back Open at 600 S. Dearborn

Yesterday we posted about Amarit's license being suspended.  Well apparently things have been resolved.  Lights on and people inside eating is a good sign:

Good to see them back up and running.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Amarit Thai and Pan-Asian (600 S. Dearborn) Has it's License Suspended

It looks like Amarit Thai and Pan-Asian at 600 S. Dearborn had it's license suspended judging by the green sign on the door:

Where not sure what is next, but hopefully they bounce back.  While it never seems super busy, we imagine they do a decent takeout business and they've been a longtime stalwart in the Sloop

Anyone have any info?  We will keep you posted if/when they reopen or we get more information.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Our Updated 2019 Business Counter

To follow-up on our 2019 Business Counter post we did a couple weeks back, looks like we missed a couple closings:
  • 14 Parish (2223 S. Michigan) 
  • White House Black Market (1112 S. Delano Ct)
This means that our current tally has the Sloop gaining 5 new retail/restaurant businesses in 2019 (so far).  It also means that it's lowest net number since we started tracking this back in 2012:

Is this a trend (by definition it seems to be)?  We still have a month to go and will continue to monitor.

Monday, December 2, 2019

More Positive Signs that 1000M is Actually Going to Happen

A reader writes:
There's a lot of action at the 1000M site right now. Or at least, a lot more action than we've seen there in the last four years.  
Looks like real construction equipment is now on site after their ceremonial groundbreaking last month. This building might actually happen.

As a reminder, this project at 1006 S. Michigan Avenue has been relatively slow to move.  That said, the developers did hold a ground breaking in October.  Many voices on the internet seemed to question whether or not this was actually going to happen, but judging from the pictures above this is the best sign it actually will.

We've been by the site a couple times recently and it does look like all signs are pointing in a positive direction.  They have the site cleared and fencing up all around the perimeter.

If this is true, it will be another big statement building on the Sloop and Chicago's skyline:

(Hat tip: AS!)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Chicago Fire Soccer Team Unveils New Look ; Adds Mural to Back of Roosevelt Collection

We've written a bit about the Chicago Fire football club moving their home from Bridgeport back to Soldier Field for the upcoming season.

As part of this move the club also announced a new look for the team.  You can find that on this MLS website.  One other thing we noticed in the article was that they're adding some art to the neighborhood:
The Fire also announced plans for a new mural by Chicago-based artist Max Sansing to be completed next week on the north side of the Roosevelt Collection Shops in the South Loop, overlooking the British International School’s soccer fields off South Wells Street.
This makes sense as we saw on the Facebook group Hello South Loop! that the mural is underway:

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tis the Season for the Annual CTA Holiday Train

It's holiday train time on the CTA and we highly encourage you to check it out.  The CTA is usually the scapegoat for many of our woes, but on this subject they truly hit it out of the park.

If you're curious about the schedule here you go (all here is the weblink):

We also want to note that Curbed Chicago has a quick little post about the origin of the CTA Holiday Train.  Worth a read if you got a couple minutes.