Friday, October 22, 2021

Uber Freight Office Opens Doors at the Old Post Office

Looks like Uber's new office in the Sloop is officially open (via Tribune):
Delayed and downsized by the pandemic, Uber opened its sprawling new office space at the redeveloped Old Post Office, which will serve as the headquarters for its Uber Freight business and Chicago operations.

The San Francisco-based ride-share company cut the ribbon on its ninth-floor office Tuesday, with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and other top executives touting a new home and expansive future in Chicago.

The Old Post Office will be the global headquarters for Uber Freight, its fast-growing logistics division launched in 2017 to connect truck drivers with shippers. The space will also house sales, legal, marketing and other staff for the Uber Eats and ride-sharing operations in Chicago.

Chicago’s redeveloped Old Post Office, which has attracted a growing list of technology companies, is now the second largest office location for Uber, both in terms of space and staffing, behind its corporate headquarters, the company said.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Taco Restaurant and Liquor Store Coming to The Cooper on South Wells

We received a press release about two new businesses coming to South Wells:
Lendlease , a leading global real estate group, today announced two new retail leases at The Cooper, its 29-story luxury apartment high-rise located at 720 S. Wells St. in Chicago’s Printers Row. Tatas Tacos will open its fourth Chicago restaurant, while Hops & Scotch, a new bottle shop concept from the owners behind South Loop Market, will open its first location.
“From the beginning, Southbank has been rooted in community, so we were proud to partner with local businesses like Tatas Tacos and Hops & Scotch that, like us, were drawn to this prime riverfront location,” said Ted Weldon, executive general manager of development for Lendlease’s Chicago office. “The experiential nature of these retail and restaurant concepts, together with existing public offerings like Southbank Park and its adjacent riverwalk, will further establish Southbank as a destination for those who do not already call our community home."
Tatas Tacos, which is slated to open in spring 2022, will fill a 5,643-square-foot space on the northern end of the tower. With seating for up to 150 patrons, it will be the largest of the chain’s four locations and serve everything from its popular Mexican Classic and Craft Tacos to more formal plated meals. A brunch menu will also be available on weekends.

We're not familiar with Tatas Tacos but seems to have pretty good reviews online.  There are a lot of taco options in the neighborhood, but restaurants are a little light on Wells.

We are very familiar with the South Loop Markets and nice to see them expanding in the neighborhood with a new concept.

Best of luck to both of these spots!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

New Renderings & Info for One Central Development Revealed

The developer for the massive One Central concept keeps on trying to push forward with his plans (via Tribune):

The developer behind the proposed $20 billion One Central development revealed details for the project’s first phase: a transit center surrounded by roughly 1.4 million square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space on a 35-acre site above the train tracks near Soldier Field.

The full plans for One Central, unveiled in 2019, include up to 22.3 million square feet of buildings with as many as 9,050 residential units and 9.45 million square feet of offices. The project still needs city and state approval to proceed, and Landmark president Bob Dunn has said he expects to submit a zoning application by late October or early November.

The $3.8 billion first phase, which Landmark calls the “Civic Build,” includes a transit center linking Metra, Amtrak and CTA trains and a new bus or tram route stopping at destinations like Soldier Field, Navy Pier, the Museum Campus, Grant and Millennium parks and McCormick Place.

The operative phrase is "still needs city and state approval to proceed" and everything we've seen seems to point to the fact that our government leaders have little interest in this project.

A big elephant in the room is the status of the Chicago Bears and the place they currently call home - Soldier Field.  The article states that the potential of the Bears moving would have minimal impact on this development, but we call BS on that one.  On the flip side, could this development help keep the Bears downtown if they can get a piece of this massive development?  No clue if that type of arangement could be struck, but we're trying to think creatively.

Anyway - the article has some fun new renderings if you're interested.  Here are a couple:

Monday, October 18, 2021

Chicago Sky Bring Championship to Chicago and the Sloop!

As the Arlington Heights Bears got owned in typical fashion by the Green Bay Packers today, it was nice to see another professional Chicago sports team bring home a championship.  Congrats to the Chicago Sky who just won their first WNBA championship at Wintrust Arena at their home court in the Sloop.  Hometown hero Candace Parker came back to Chicago and accomplished her goal (via ESPN):

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

GeeFit Opening Up Gym at Aspire Residences (2111 S. Wabash)

Looks like a training club called GeeFit is opening up shop at the Aspire Residences retail space (2111 S. Wabash):

We're not familiar with GeeFit, but did find this video on their website if you're looking for some info:

GeeFit 30 Day Challenge from Highpower Studios on Vimeo.

Welcome to the neighborhood and we wish you well!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Impact of Lingering Pandemic Sinks Harbor Restaurant (1312 S. Wabash)

We've lost a solid restaurant choice (via insta):

Here is what the caption said:
It's with much sadness that we are announcing Harbor is now closed for the foreseeable future.

With the external pressures and financial impact of the pandemic, it was a storm we just couldn't weather as a young restaurant that opened its doors January 2020.

We can't thank everyone enough for the support from our first day to the last. We will miss serving you and enjoyed every minute of the last 20 months. Harbor was very lucky to be welcomed warmly by the South Loop and have many amazing patrons and dedicated employees. We hope to see you again in the future.
Sad to see Harbor go.  It was an ambitious concept and a restaurant type the neighborhood didn't have.  We were excited about the potential and the initial response from the neighborhood was very positive

The silver lining is that the restaurant space has been retooled so whomever comes next will hopefully be able to step in with minimal buildout work.  

(Hat tip:  CW!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Chicago Marathon Running Through the Sloop this Sunday (10/10)

 The Chicago Marathon is back and coming through the Sloop this Sunday (10/10).  It's a fun event and brings a different energy (and exhaustion) to the neighborhood.  If you're needing some inspiration, head on out and find a space to cheer on the runners - it really lifts the soul.

You can find more info at the Chicago Marathon website, but if you're looking to check out the race (or avoid it if you need to) here is a snapshot of the course in our vicinity:

Monday, October 4, 2021

Developer: Chicago Bears Moving Wouldn't Affect One Central Development Plans

The Bears won yesterday and looked like a mediocre football team (vs. a horrible one the previous week), but much of the discussion around the team still swirls around their future home.

It almost seem inevitable that they're going to be leaving the lakefront at this point, but we'll see.  That said, we've been curious to see if the proposed One Central development that is slated to be just west of Soldier Field across LSD could have any impact on the plans.  

Could the Bears find new revenue streams by being included in that deal?  Maybe, but it's probably not that simple.  If the Bears move, it seems like another hurdle calling into question if One Central is truly needed.  For what it's worth we just read an article and the stance from the developer is (via Chicago Tribune):

The Chicago Bears’ potential departure from Soldier Field will not be a hurdle, Dunn said.

“I don’t think it affects our plans in a material way. We see a lot of benefit from One Central to all of the civic and cultural assets on the lakefront,” he said.

Of course he had to say that, but some of the cache would be loss if a major NFL franchise isn't in close proximity.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Chicago Bears Signed Agreement to Purchase Arlington Park and Further Bringing Doubt About Remaining at Soldier Field

Looks like the plot continues to thicken for the Bears and the city of Chicago.  From where I sit, the Bears continue to gain leverage (via ABC7):

The Chicago Bears signed an agreement to purchase Arlington Park, the team confirmed Wednesday morning.

The Bears and Churchill Downs Incorporated signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement this week for the entire Arlington Park land parcel in the village of Arlington Heights, a news release from the Bears said.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said Tuesday night that the mayor was not surprised by the move, and that they remain committed to keeping the Bears in Chicago. The spokesperson said they have informed the team they are open to discussions.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out.  One way or the other, it seems like Bears are going to get what they want and then some.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

City Council Votes to Approve Easing of Restrictions for Pot Selling ; Michigan Avenue in Sloop Has Restrictions Though

Looks like city council is easing restrictions on pot dispensaries and making it easier to setup shop (via WTTW):

The Chicago City Council voted 33-13 Monday to allow cannabis to be sold legally downtown — while keeping rules in place to prevent Michigan Avenue from becoming a “pot paradise.”

Backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the loosened rules are designed to help Black and Latino residents of Illinois — as well as those who’d been punished or sent to prison for using and selling marijuana when it was a crime — to get a piece of the lucrative legal pot business.

“No one believes that Springfield has delivered a perfect statute. Far from it,” Lightfoot said, pushing back on calls from several alderpeople to wait to change the rules until new restrictions are in place to ensure that Black and Latino entrepreneurs get their fair share.

Interestingly, Michigan Avenue in the Sloop is still included in the restrictions (via WTTW):

The new rules narrow those restrictions to include a strip between Michigan Avenue and State Street from Division Street on the north to Van Buren Street on the south, as well as from Michigan Avenue between Ohio and Illinois streets east to Navy Pier. In addition, dispensaries are banned from opening on south Michigan Avenue between Van Buren and 16th Street.

As of now we're unclear if and where the Sloop might get a dispensary.  There was movement at 1420 S. Michigan but that was eventually pulled back due to protests by neighbors and parents of nearby Old St. Mary's school.  We also posted about some businesses supposedly scouting locations on South Wabash (900 s. Wabash and 418 s. Wabash).  We're unsure if those are still being considered.


Monday, September 20, 2021

Chef Luciano Announces Reconcept as Mustard Seed

Mr. South Loop with the update:

Chef Luciano has been a staple on Cermak for a long time and we're sad to see it change.  We had our first experience there in 2010 and was amazed at the range of options they had.  We also got to know Mr. Gupta the owner and founder - he was a character in the best sense of the word and someone who we always enjoyed seeing wandering the streets of the Sloop.  He had some great stories about Eric Clapton and other celebrities eating at the restaurant.    

Since then he stepped away from the restaurant, but his soul certainly loomed large over Chef Luciano's.

We will be curious to see what comes of Mustard Seed.  The area has changed a lot and likely will continue to.  It sounds like the Gupta family is still involved but are bringing in some friends to help.  Best of luck!  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Checking-in at The Reed Development

YIMBY checks-in at The Reed development:

Since Chicago YIMBY’s last update on Lendlease’s “The Reed,” a planned 41-story residential tower at 234 W Polk Street in South Loop, various new developments have taken place. Fencing and additional equipment, including a crane, are now on site, while staging areas and an access road have been built out.

While foundation permits have been issued, full construction permits have been filed but not issued. Lendlease is also serving as general contractor, with an opening anticipated for 2023.

There are a lot of pictures in the post, but these two gave us the best sense of the vision for the area:

Drone Footage of Union Station Powerhouse on Taylor

Who doesn't love some South Loop drone footage:

For those of you interested we posted about Union Station Powerhouse being one of Chicago's most endangered buildings last year.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

City Council Approves Two Big Development Projects on South Wabash

More development is approved and looks to be coming to the Sloop (via Block Club):

Three more high-rises are coming to Wabash Avenue.

The City Council signed off a $350 million project to build two towers connected by a two-story retail space at 525 S. Wabash Ave. One would have 777 apartments while another would be a 407-room hotel.

Alderpeople also gave the green light Tuesday for a $100 million project to build a 31-story tower with 299 residential units at a vacant lot at 1400 S. Wabash Ave.

The plan for 523 S. Wabash, just off Ida B. Wells Drive, will transform a parking structure into the hotel and apartments towers.

A grocer would move into the ground-level storefront and a restaurant would take the space above it. Designs also call for the expansion of an alleyway east of the structure to accommodate loading.

As a reminder, here is a rendering for the project at 525 S. Wabash:

 And here is the rendering for the building at 1400 S. Wabash:

The building at 525 S. Wabash is scheduled to be completed by 2024 and the 1400 S. Wabash is supposed to be completed by 2023.  Generally we're in favor of more density, but still questioning the demand post-Covid.