Wednesday, September 17, 2014

South Loop Kidical Mass Bike Ride on September 20th

A fun event:

Mac Kelly's Greens N' Things Opens Their Doors

A reader writes:
Mac Kelly's appears to be up and running this morning.
As a reminder, HomeMade Pizza Co. closed in June at 1347 S. Michigan amid closing down their entire business.

Mac Kelly's quickly swept in and proceeded quickly with their buildout (the space isn't huge, so probably didn't require a ton of big changes).

We walked by recently and can confirm that the door is open (if the picture to the right wasn't evidence enough).

The menu looks pretty good, so we're excited to try it out.  Mac Kelly's has other locations throughout the loop so things should be running pretty smoothly out of the gate.

Best of luck to them and welcome to the Sloop!

(Hat tip:  ES & AK!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Former Michael Reese Hospital Campus Doesn't Make the Cut for Future Obama Library

Word came out yesterday that Obama Library finalists were notified.  It looks like the proposal that was just south of the Sloop at the formed Michael Reese Hospital grounds didn't make the cut (via Chicago Tribune):
The Barack Obama Foundation began notifying rejected bidders last week. Two South Side sites — the old Michael Reese Hospital grounds in Bronzeville and the former South Works steel mill on the Southeast Side — were among those rejected. Chicago State University, which had proposed two sites on its far South Side campus, also did not make the cut.
Is this paving the way for the controversial "Chicago Casino"?  We shall see...

As a reminder, this space was purchased by the city and proposed to be the Olympic Village in Chicago's failed 2016 bid.  Since then various other ideas have been floated for the large piece of land.

(Hat tip:  PB!)

Prominent Developer Plans to Move forward with Motor Row Hotel and Retail Development

James McHugh Construction released renderings to the Tribune ahead of a Monday night meeting with South Loop residents on a planned boutique hotel in the South Loop. (James McHugh Construction)
Some more development news for Motor Row (via Chicago Tribune):
A Chicago developer is moving forward to put a boutique hotel, data center and retail in the South Loop, the final piece of a massive redevelopment in the next few years.  
James McHugh Construction officials are hoping the new plan will resolve a year-old lawsuit seeking to force the firm to sell the land to the city. Work could begin in the next few months, officials said.  
Originally, the city and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, a state-city agency known as McPier, wanted to build a 1,200-room hotel on the property as part of a proposed $600 million redevelopment of the surrounding Motor Row district into an entertainment destination. But when the contested land became tangled in litigation, McPier opted to build a Marriott Marquis a few blocks east at Cermak and Prairie Avenue. Agency officials said they hoped to find a private developer for a boutique hotel on the contested land once the lawsuit was resolved. The caveat was that the boutique hotel would have to be privately developed for the McCormick Place redevelopment project to stay on budget. 
McHugh's new offer to add a 28-story, 500-room hotel on the disputed land at Cermak and Indiana, in addition to a long-planned data center, could satisfy the city's goals, while still securing the data center McHugh has been planning.

Some big plans for this area, should be interesting as the continue to develop.  With most things down in this area, when we see it we will believe it.

(Hat tip:  JR!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chicago PD Filming Road and Parking Closures for 9/16 and 9/17

A reader sends us this notification:

(Hat tip:  SS!)

Nike Pop-Up Store Robbed!

A reader sent this to us last week (sorry for the delay).  Ugh:
The Nike pop up store caught my eye this morning because of the new red make-over. It was 8:30 in the morning, so I was surprised to see that it appeared to be open. I walked in - and the place looked empty. A police officer told me the place had been robbed! 5 guys broke in overnight and cleared the place out - see attached pictures, including broken window. Between this, Bullchick's and the Chase bank - for some reason this stretch on Wabash is a robbery hot spot. Hopefully they catch these guys...

(Hat tip: RW!)

Nordstrom Rack and Banana Republic Open on Roosevelt Shopping Corridor

Nordstrom Rack Ad on Roosevelt CTA Platform
More and more retailers are officially opening up their doors on (or just off) the Roosevelt Road shopping corridor.  Two of the more high profile and well respected national retailers, Nordstrom Rack and Banana Republic are officially open.

Nordstrom Rack opened at the Maxwell on the corner of Canal and Taylor.  They join Pier 1 Imports, Dick's Sporting Goods, T.J. Maxx, Men's Warehouse, Potbelly's, and Noodles and Company as other retailers to join this development.

Banana Republic opened at Roosevelt Collection.  They join Loft, Haberdash, Z Gallerie, H&M, R.O.C. Fleet Feet, Bridgeport Coffee among others to open their doors at this development.  Lululemon, Victoria' Secret and various other retailers and restaurants are in the process of their build-out at Roosevelt Collection.

In our eyes, it appears that we've reached that critical mass of shopping retailers in the neighborhood.  If you can't find what you need on Roosevelt road chance are you aren't trying or you have expensive tastes (since very few of these retailers could be considered "high-end").

(Hat tip:  DN and SH!) 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2nd Ward and Former Sloop Alderman Fioretti Throws Hat into Mayoral Race

We knew that Alderman Fioretti got drawn out of our neighborhood during the recent gerrymandering process for Chicago wards, so we knew he wouldn't be "representing" us much longer.  However, he made a big announcement this morning which if successful means he could be representing us and many others in Chicago (via Chicago Tribune):
As he sat recently on a stage under bright lights waiting to do a television interview, Ald. Bob Fioretti tugged on his necktie, the knot neatly propped up by a tie bar under his collar. He adjusted his earpiece, and a producer asked him if he was ready.  
"I'm not just ready," he responded, "I'm Fioretti."  
Now the 2nd Ward alderman, who has spent the past three years as Rahm Emanuel's harshest and most frequent City Council critic, is ready to announce Saturday that he will challenge the mayor in the Feb. 24 city election.  
"I've made the decision I'm going to run for mayor of this city," Fioretti told the Tribune. "We can no longer afford a mayor who has been divisive, who has turned his back on a lot of our communities. We need someone who can unite and realize the struggles of our people."

The quote about being "Fioretti" is slightly cheesy, but gave us a good chuckle.  Maybe he's testing out his campaign slogan - "Chicago is Fioretti for Change"

Anyway, Fioretti flirted with the idea of running for mayor in 2010, so the fact that he's throwing his hat into the ring isn't super surprising.

It seems like a long shot to us that Fioretti could win, but it's probably a good time to give it a shot.  Rahm Emmanuel has a higher profile locally, nationally and internationally but recent polls have suggested that hiss ratings are falling fast in Chicago - which is obviously critical since Chicagoans are the ones who are either going to reelect him or not.

Fioretti has been one of the few aldermen who have been continually critical of Rahm, so he seems like a natural opponent.  The slightly more high-profile local candidate that has been rumored to be considering a run as well is Karen Lewis, the Chicago Teachers Union President, who infamously was a thorn in the mayors side during the teachers strike in 2012.

Anyway, best of luck to Bob!

He's done well for us in the Sloop so we're excited to see his campaign and what his agenda will be.  We did read on WGN that he is supposed to be running on:
His agenda is expected to include a one-percent commuter tax, an elected school board and a $15-an-hour minimum wage. He’s also expected to campaign for reopening the mental health clinics that Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed and support the hiring of at least 500 additional police.
This may also explain why Rahm was supposedly shaking hands in the South Loop on Friday:
Did you see/hear anything about Mayor Rahm Emanuel thanking people at the Roosevelt station today? I actually got to walk up and shake his hand.
Oh're so silly sometimes....

(Hat tip: KP & NS!)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Nominate Your Favorite South Loop Business for Good Neighbor Award

A reader writes:
I’m a south looper and have a child at Old St. Mary’s. We are giving out a Good Neighbor Award to South Loop businesses at our Oktoberfest fundraiser coming up. Would you be open to posting the link to nominate your favorite South Loop business for our Good Neighbor Award? The info to nominate can be found here.
(Hat tip:  AB!)

Plan Calls for Townhouses Where Failed X/O Tower Was Proposed

Via Chicago Real Estate Daily:
Proposed renderings of X/O Towers
After one residential developer tried — and failed — to go big and tall on a South Loop site, another one is going short and small.  
A joint venture between Golub & Co. and Sandz Development Co. plans to build 62 town homes on the 1600 and 1700 blocks of South Prairie Avenue, a site where a venture led by developer Keith Giles wanted to build two glassy condominium towers during the boom.  
Neighbors rebelled against the proposed high-rises, arguing that they didn't fit in with smaller historic buildings nearby, and the property wound up in foreclosure after the condo market crashed.  
The townhomes proposed by Golub and Sandz, both based in Chicago, would reach a maximum height of 45 feet, according to an application filed with the city for a zoning change to the property. The towers proposed in 2006, called X/O, would have been 310 and 450 feet tall with 479 condos.

There was a lot of drama about the X/O towers (here is one old post that summarizes it well).  Since it's demise we've heard various rumors, but the last one we heard was a Charter school was looking at the real estate.  Seems like that didn't work.

Townhouses probably make the most sense and seem like they will fit in pretty well with the other buildings in the neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  JG!)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peets Opening at Wabash and 8th in Three to Four Weeks?

A reader writes:
Peets S. Wabash.  They told me that they hope to open in 3-4 weeks. They were giving out free coffee just now.

As a reminder, Caribou decided to close all locations in the Chicagoland area and some would become Peets.  We found out the Sloop location at Wabash and 8th would become one back in July.

(Hat tip:  BH!)

Elements Massage Opening in The Columbian at Roosevelt and Michigan?

A reader writes:
I stumbled across this by total accident.. looks like this place is going to (or trying to) open at Michigan and Roosevelt at the Columbian. See under "South Loop" location coming soon  
Who knows! May actually happen?
Probably not what most people were hoping for in this prominent space, but at least it's something.  It seems like there are three retail spaces in the building, but we're not sure.

The bigger question in our minds is whether or not the rumored Burger Bar is still coming to The Columbian.  This rumor came out about a year ago and as of about 4 months ago word on the street was that it was still happening (in the comment section of this post).

Does anyone have any updates on either of these businesses opening at The Columbian?

(Hat tip:  BK!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Second Presbyterian Church Being Check Out; Family Files Wrongful Death Suit

Some follow-up to the incredibly sad story last week -  a reader writes:
The church in the sloop where the horrible accident happened is now being checked out it looks like. 
I go past it everyday on my way to work. So sad!

The family has since filed a law suit:
Thirty-four-year-old Sara Bean was waiting to cross the street with her boyfriend Thursday in the 1900 block of South Michigan when a piece of stone gargoyle fell off Second Presbyterian Church.  
Her boyfriend filed the suit Monday, which seeks more than $100,000 in damages.
Our thoughts continue to go out to the family.  So sad.

(Hat tip:  AshMa!)