Friday, September 4, 2015

New Roosevelt Road Streetscape Identification Markers Installed

The major work on the Roosevelt Road Streetscape improvement project has been done for some time now.  Lanes have been reconfigured, a huge bus terminal has been built, bike lanes have been created, and after some missteps benches have been installed.

One mystery that we've been wondering about was what were they going to do with the gigantically tall metal structures that frame the Green/Orange El tracks at Roosevelt?  Well the mystery has revealed itself:
Looking east at the metal identification structures on Roosevelt
Looking west at the metal identification structures on Roosevelt
While we were preparing ourselves for something horrible (has anyone seen the stupid, meaninglessly broad words that are on the benches/lightposts/concrete?), honestly they're not bad in our view.  

We were expecting these to have some stupid font announcing that you were entering the South Loop (ala Oldtown and/or Fulton Market District):

At times we thought a sign announcing the South Loop would be good as it would help define our neighborhood.  Now we're a little less certain (especially after we got a glimpse at the Fulton signage).  It just seems risky, potentially corny and sort of Disneyfied.

With that said, if someone could come up with something distinct or interesting maybe we would change our tune.  Given the other design elements in this project it's better that they went with a simple "CTA Roosevelt" sign.

The project still has some details that need to be completed such a painting and whatnot.

We know there have been some big objections and head-scratching, but how are you feeling about this in it's current state?  

We're going to reserve judgement until all is done, but would still be curious to hear some thoughts.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

New "Northerly Island Parkway" Opens to the Public Tomorrow

The New Northerly Island Parkway from the Sky (via Chicago Tribune)

We've spent a lot of time on this blog pondering the future of Northerly Island and the speculation is about to end as the new redesign of the southern end officially opens on Friday (via Chicago Tribune):
A dozen years after Mayor Richard M. Daley carried out the infamous “midnight raid” that shut down the small lakefront airport called Meigs Field, the question lingers: Did the end justify the means?
A beguiling landscape that opens to the public Friday at the southern end of the former airport provides a persuasive answer.
As Mayor Rahm Emanuel led a tour Tuesday, great blue herons alighted on a newly created pond, man-made hills screened out the rush of traffic on Lake Shore Drive, and Chicago’s skyline unfurled in the distance in all its majesty.
See ya later, airport for politicians and the privileged class. This land is now your land, Chicagoans.
In our opinion the end definitely justified the means.  But then again to think of an elected official pulling a move like Mayor Daley did is mind-boggling.  We weren't around Chicago when that happened, but still is crazy to contemplate.

Anyway, we're in the present now and what we have here is a nice big present with a bow on it for Chicagoans and Sloopers in general.  An amazingly unique public park that is both serene and amazingly close to the heart of a major metropolis.

While scrolling through the pictures on the Tribune's website, it's clear that a lot has changed and that this new park is going to need some time to mature, but be patient because it will be worth it (via Chicago Tribune):
For now, the edges of the trail are fenced, which will give grasses, plants and trees a chance to fill in the somewhat barren, nascent landscape. That will keep much of the park off-limits to people for some time, though exceptions will be made for camping and other programs. 
A contractor hired by the Army Corps plans to install nearly 12,000 shrubs and more than 400 trees before work is completed in 2017. Walking paths will traverse the open spaces once that work is completed.
While there were (still are?) plans expand Northerly Island, that seems like it won't be happening any time soon since it would cost quite a bit to build reefs and new areas that didn't exist.

And if that has you disappointed, just look west across Burnham Harbor to the next frontier of potential public space - the proposed Lucas Museum.  While the initial designs were met with a ton of opposition, it sounds like a new round of renderings are going to be revealed soon to try to appease the public (however probably still won't get support by many open space advocates).

While we're going to reserve judgement about the Lucas Museum, one component we did like was that the plan had a bridge that would allow you to access Northerly Island at 18th street (not just via Solidarity Drive between the Field and Adler).

Anyway, head on over to the new Northerly Island, take a stroll and let us know what you think about this thing!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chamber of Commerce Called South Loop Alliance Launching September 24th

It looks like another group is launching in the Sloop to help steer the neighborhood: 

According to their press release:
South Loop business leaders are coming together to form a chamber of commerce called South Loop Alliance. The Alliance will officially launch on September 24, 2015 at 6pm at 1550 S. State Street. All South Loop business leaders are invited to this FREE event to include networking, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and community building. 
The South Loop Alliance’s mission is to expand and strengthen a healthy business climate, contributing to a vigorous South Loop community. So far, a small working group of business leaders have formed the bones of the organization. 
The Launch Party is an opportunity for all South Loop business leaders to hear more about the Alliance’s plans and be invited to become founding members, volunteers, and beneficiaries of the Alliance’s work. 
More details are available at Business leaders are encouraged to RSVP at the website.

Good luck!

(Hat tip: AN!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Buffalo Wild Wings Eyeing October 5th Opening at The Maxwell

Well looks like wings fans are finally getting a new spot to chow down (via DNAinfo):
Sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings will make its Downtown debut this fall in the South Loop. 
Constance Williamson, a regional marketing manager for Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings, said the chain eyes an Oct. 5 opening for the new restaurant at 513 W. Taylor St. in The Maxwell.
As you may remember we first posted about this restaurant coming to The Maxwell back in October 2014.  We continue to get inquiries about this spot and when they're opening.  Looks like we finally have an answer.

Monday, August 31, 2015

AMLI Pays City to Install Divvy Station Outside their Buildings on Clark

As we know, more and more housing options seem to spring up daily in the Sloop.  Competition is fierce and the peeps at AMLI added a interesting (and smart) amenity to their properties (via Chicago Tribune):
A Chicago real estate developer paid the city $56,000 to install a Divvy bicycle-sharing station outside two of its apartment buildings in the South Loop, officials are expected to announce Friday.

The agreement with AMLI Residential marks the first private purchase of a Divvy station since the bike-sharing program was launched in mid-2013, officials said. City officials called the deal a "private donation."  
AMLI covered the cost of installing the 15-dock station at Clark and Ninth streets and provided 10 bikes, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.  
The station, which is already open, is part of the 476-station Divvy system and is operated for public use like all other stations, officials said. The only difference is that the station will have an AMLI logo added soon, officials said.

We're big fans of the Divvy program and if we were searching for a new place this would probably sway us.

What do you think?  Smart move to lure tenants?  Or unnecessary desperate move?

(Hat tip:  RW!)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
Spacious 3 Bed Loft Living in Printers Row

In honor of our Mayor's admiration of Printer's Row architecture, we felt it would be fitting to highlight an open house this week that is the epitome of this sentiment.  That is the historic Donohue Annex building at 727 S. Dearborn:
 The specific unit that's having an open house this Sunday (8/30) from 1-3pm is #911 and it's got plenty of character to cause us to be intrigued.  Whether it's built-in shelves, raised floors or a general spacious layout, this unit looks lovely:
Even more interesting to us is that this unit has a huge private terrace with Northern facing views, something we rarely see in some of these old conversion buildings.
The unit seems reasonable priced at $550K, but that doesn't include parking (another $40K) and assessments are on the high side ($1,174).  However, it is a unique unit so head on over and check it out.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Commercial for Hyatt Regency Filming at Burnham Station (Clark and 15th)

A reader writes:
Just wanted to tip you guys off that there's a commercial filming at Burnham Station (Clark and 15th). See the attached images for reference and more details.

If professional filming is of interest to you, head on over.  It's usually an interesting process.

(Hat tip:  CM!)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

So What Are the Sloop's Boundaries?

The existential question that really doesn't matter - what are the South Loop's boundaries?

With some nifty interactive technology DNAinfo put the question out to their readers to define different neighborhoods in the city.  Not surprisingly, there isn't much of a consensus for our neighborhood.

We've gotten a fair amount of emails on the topic and given our love for the hood figured we would weigh in (take if for what it's worth).  Since this question has been asked to us before, we even have a page on our website dedicated to clarifying this topic - something we call the Sloopin map.
Just in case anyone wonders what constitutes sloopin, here is a general map of what we consider the "sloopin" area:

It mainly focuses on the blue area (South Loop and Printer's Row) but for good measure we also consider the red area (Near South Side) and green area (?) part of sloopin. With these parameters set, we essentially try to keep readers up to date on anything that's going on in the area. 
Occasionally we'll have posts on things outside of our jurisdiction, but in some way all postings should have some relation to the sloopin areas.

So in case you can't tell by the map we define "the South Loop" as Congress on the north, Michigan/Lake Shore on the east, 18th on south and the river on the west.

But let's be honest, none of this really matter.  It's fun to debate, but at the end of the day neighborhoods are typically defined/created thanks to real estate marketing and businesses trying to associate with neighborhoods that will help their bottom line.

Anywho...let us know what you think and/or join the conversation at DNAinfo.

(Hat tip: DB, AT, ND, CC!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rendering of High-Rise at Michigan and Roosevelt Shows Up and is Removed from Crescent Heights Website

Some more juicy real estate rumors for some of the most high-profile space in the Sloop.

According to Curbed Chicago and SkyscrapperPage Forums:
On a subsection of developer Crescent Heights' website (page is now not available), an image has appeared on a page labeled Michigan & Roosevelt, promoting an upcoming development for what is currently a vacant lot. Although the rendering, which only shows the lower floors of a new tower, could just merely be a placeholder design for the purposes of the webpage, the image could also very well be a sneak peek of the proposal said to be designed by well known architect Rafael Vinoly. If the rumors turn out to be true, this would be the first major high-rise project for Vinoly's firm to be located in Chicago.
The post also gives some intriguing details:
Crescent Heights currently lists the proposed tower as 1255 South Indiana Avenue, and is rumored to rise 70 floors. According to the high-rise watchers on the SkyscraperPage forums, the tower could rise up to 835 feet to the top of the parapet and 862 feet to the top of a decorative roof structure. If the building does indeed climb to that final height figure, it would be the tallest all-residential building in Chicago, provided nothing more than simple ground floor retail space is also included in the building.

The Crescent Heights webpage also lists 30,000 square feet of retail and 1,900 units, although it would be highly unlikely for these figures to be for only one tower. A second building is expected to be constructed at the southeast corner of Michigan and Roosevelt and as such, the figures could be inclusive of both towers as well as any nearby land holdings which could be considered as part of a phased project.
This specific lot has been the subject of much speculation around the interwebs and here at Sloopin.  Reoccurring renderings for "The Chicago" has been at the center of this, but frankly a lot of that has been suspect.

With that said, this seems the most realistic especially since it's on the website of the owner of the land.

It's just a matter of time until something goes up.  Hopefully it will be interesting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Police Issue Warning After Two Violent South Loop Robberies

Be safe (via Chicago Sun-times):
Two violent robberies in the South Loop in the last week have prompted police to issue a community alert. 
The robberies were reported about 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 21 in the 0-100 block of West Harrison and about 9 p.m. on Aug. 22 in the 900 block of South Michigan, police said. 
In both cases, two males walked up to people on the sidewalk and punched or knocked them to the ground, police said. As the victim was on the ground, suspects either continued to kick them, or one suspect held them down while the other went through their pockets. 
In one case, the suspects stole a victim’s computer equipment. The suspects were described as black males, between 5-foot-9 and each weighing between 160 and 200 pounds, police said. 
Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to call Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8384.

(Hat tip: AC!)

Well What Do you Know - Rahm Likes Printer's Row Architecture

Dearborn Street in the Heart of Printer's Row
We always enjoy reading Blair Kamin's architecture writing in the Chicago Tribune and that sentiment was definitely true yesterday.  Kamin laid out a informative piece about Mayor Emanuel's push to incorporate design into future projects and whatnot.

While the piece was good and pretty informative, one sub-story stuck out.  When asked what his favorite architecture in the city was, Rahm listed some buildings in the Loop, but also added this note about our neighborhood (via Chicago Tribune):
Printing House District, or Printers' Row, by many Chicago architects. Built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and revitalized starting in the late 1970s, this high-rise district south of the Loop was once a center for the printing trades. It's now home to stylish loft apartments, hotels and shops. "I love how they've been integrated, revised, rethought," the mayor said of the buildings. "It's just redefined that whole area."

Nice plug Rahm - nice plug!  We tend to agree with this view...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Liquor License Application at 1329 S. Michigan:
For Succezz Shoe Store or New Massage/Spa Business?

We received a couple emails about an application for a liquor license at 1329 S. Michigan.

One reader writes:
Received this in the mail. The address is where the Succezz, the shoe store is. How does this make any sense? A shoe store that needs a "massage with liquor" license?

Yes, this is the address for Succezz the shoe store, but maybe this is for a new business on the second floor?  Judging by the applicant name in the image above, it seems like a generic business INC.

Could South Michigan be getting another spa type of business?  We've heard of spa concepts that included alcohol.  That would make more sense than Succezz.

Anyway, anyone have any scoop or insight into this liquor license?

(Hat tip:  MK & JG!)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: The Sloop Tavern

A reader writes and sends this shot:
Taken in Seattle...
(Hat tip:  MM!)