Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Is Pete Buttigieg's Chicago Presidential Campaign Office in the Sloop?

We were reading a story about presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holding a grass-roots event in Bronzeville this morning and while the article talks about the event, one immaterial point stood out to us in the Sloop (via Chicago Tribune):
In an interview earlier Tuesday at the South Loop loft that houses his Chicago campaign office, the mayor said he’s found his Douglass Plan has been “extremely well-received,” but that getting it in front of more people is the challenge.
The location of the interview doesn't have anything to do with the story, but naturally caught our eye given what this here blog is about.  Apparently Buttigieg's Chicago campaign office is in the Sloop!

Initially we assumed this was one of those references of an office building on the south side of the Loop that a reporter calls the South Loop.  But another hint gives us a sense of where the office may be:
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is seen in his Chicago presidential
campaign office on Aug. 20, 2019.
(Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)
So....here is the question - does this picture give anything away about the location?  If we were guessing, we would say this is the Co-Gen working space at 1132 S. Wabash.

Why do we say that?  Well the exposed brick signals an older building, the el tracks signals the back of the building and the wall out the window with foliage and what appears to be a residential building in the back seems to make us think that's the condo building on state.  So we're feeling pretty good about this guess.

Do you agree?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Uber Confirms 463,000 Sq Feet, 10-Year Lease at Old Post Office

Well look at that - the Old Post Office has it's largest tenant secured (via Chicago Tribune):
Uber Technologies has signed a 10-year lease for a massive amount of office space at The Old Post Office, giving it room for thousands of employees.
Uber on Monday confirmed it will occupy 463,000 square feet, becoming the building’s largest tenant. The Tribune reported in May that the California-based technology company was negotiating a move to the post office site.
The deal is the largest office lease signed in downtown Chicago this year, and one of the largest in Chicago in recent years. Not including renewals or extensions of existing office spaces, Uber’s deal is the fourth-largest in the past five years, according to CBRE.
Uber is set to start construction on its new space in The Old Post Office next spring. 
While much ado was made about Amazon's HQ2 search, Uber is a pretty sexy tech business (even though it's stock hasn't lived up to it's high IPO price).  It will be interesting to see what types of jobs come to this location.  As the article mentions, Chicago was already Uber's second largest office in the country.

The building has a pretty impressive roster of companies which hopefully will be a boon for the northwest corner of the neighborhood:
Uber’s lease is more than double the next largest space. Deerfield-based Walgreens in June 2018 announced plans to lease 200,000 square feet, saying it planned to move 1,800 suburban and downtown workers into the space.
Other signed tenants include Ferrara Candy, Home Chef, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and ad firm AbelsonTaylor. The first tenants will start moving in this fall.
More than 1 million square feet of leases have been completed. New York-based 601W also is close to completing deals with CBOE Global Markets and Cisco Systems for about 300,000 square feet combined.
Should be interesting to see how this impacts our neighborhood.  Any thoughts?

Monday, August 19, 2019

All-Star Seafood & Sports Coming to Former Villain's Space (730 S. Clark)

A reader sends us the following:
Walking by the vacant spot of Villains and saw this. I can’t find any info about them at all. Got any background on this new addition to Printers Row?

Seafood and Sports seems like a strange combo, but we like both...but maybe not together?

Maybe they're on to something?

As a reminder, Villain's 2.0 closed their doors last fall.  It was a disappointment because they had by far the most interesting beer menu in the neighborhood.

Anyway - anyone have info on this spot?

(Hat tip:  MB!)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Columbia Park at 11th and Wabash to Open By End of August?

A reader writes about the "Columbia park" at the NE corner of 11th and Wabash:
Spoke to an employee on the parks grounds today and its due to open in aprox'  two weeks whilst the grass [its real!] settles AND IS POOCH FRIENDLY!!!
Go Columbia!!
As a reminder we checked in on the park back in late July.  A reader sent us a picture of the park at that time:

(Hat tip:  AM!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chipotle Build-out Starts at 1136 S. Wabash?

It's been awhile since we've seen or heard anything about the rumored Chipotle coming to 1136 S. Wabash.  As you may recall back in December of 2018 a reader tipped us to "coming soon" location on Chipotle's website.

Just recently another reader sent us this email and picture:
Today the workers at 1140 S Wabash told me that the space is being built out for a Chipotle restaurant.

So it seems that this is moving forward.  We also recently saw a light on inside the space, so maybe the construction will pick up.

Between Chipotle and Molly's Cupcakes the 1100 block of Wabash is getting picking up steam.  We'll be curious what type of business moves in at the corner of Wabash and Roosevelt where Bongo Room used to be.  We imagine it will be a restaurant of some variety.  Seems like another coffee spot could be primed to take it over (although the area seems pretty well served on the coffee front...).

(Hat tip: BH!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Old Town School of Folk Music Takes Over Sherwood Community Music School at 1312 S. Michigan

Interesting article about some changes to the music community in the Sloop (via WBEZ):
Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, based on the city’s North Side, is taking over Sherwood Community Music School in the South Loop.
In the arrangement, scheduled to be effective Sept. 1, Old Town will take over business operations of Sherwood, which is currently managed by Columbia College.
“With Sherwood, particularly, you have a more than 120-year history of music instruction, a bunch of really talented teachers and committed students,” said Old Town CEO Jim Newcomb.
The acquisition is part of Old Town’s effort to expand into neighborhoods, especially on Chicago’s South Side, Newcomb said. Old Town’s Lincoln Square headquarters makes it inconvenient for students from across the city to attend, he said.

We didn't know the history of Sherwood Music School being around for 120 years!  That's crazy.

Anyway, Old Town School of Music seems to be doing well so maybe some fresh blood will invigorate the school?  We took our kid to Sherwood and had mixed feelings about it.  It seemed busy...but sometimes the instruction was just ok.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Il Culaccino Opens in Motor Row Entertainment District Area

In case you missed it last week, the Motor Row entertainment district had another restaurant open (via Eater):
McCormick Place’s dining scene received a boost over the weekend when a new Italian restaurant, Il Culaccino, debuted. The restaurant is from the owners of South Side stalwart Franco’s, which has been around since 1986 in Bridgeport. The new restaurant includes a wine bar, a tree-covered patio, and Chicago Italian-American classics like chicken Vesuvio. Ownership hopes to install a retractable roof on the patio by fall.
The restaurant is about a minute walk from Wintrust Arena, as the South Loop area continues to see development. Il Culaccino management markets it to students at nearby Illinois Institute of Technology and White Sox fans at Guaranteed Rate Field in Bridgeport. The Italian spot sits at the corner Cermak Road and Indiana Avenue at the Lex Tower at 2134 S. Indiana Avenue.
It's Monday morning, but we're drooling.  Hope to try this one out soon!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Developing the South Brand of the Chicago River to Spur Economic Development on the South Side Makes Sense to Us


My work crew has rented one of those small boats on the Chicago River today and ironically we stumbled upon this thought-provoking Chicago Tribune Editorial.  It makes an interesting case - use the South Branch of the Chicago River to benefit the South side:
It’s a sun-splashed afternoon in the city. You’re trying to think of something to do. For many Chicagoans and tourists alike, one of the first notions that comes to mind is the downtown riverwalk. People-watching on a long stroll, renting a kayak, sipping a pinot at City Winery — the options abound along an esplanade that has become an urban jewel.
Credit former Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the downtown riverwalk’s success. Before leaving office, he also oversaw the makeover of a Chicago River segment between Michigan Avenue east to the Lakefront Trail. And the former mayor was a driving force behind the planned Lincoln Yards mega-development on the North Side, which when finished will include its own riverwalk along the Chicago River’s North Branch.
The Chicago River has a second branch, however, the South Branch. Maybe you knew that, maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t, perhaps it’s because the South Branch hasn’t gotten the same spotlight as the North Branch or downtown stretch of the river.
That needs to change.
Obviously we know that the Sloop is at the forefront of this South Branch transformation and the editorial piece acknowledges that:
Parts of the South Branch have been already transformed. There’s Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown and Bridgeport’s Park 571, which features a boathouse designed by famed Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. Ping Tom also has its own boathouse. South of the confluence of the South and North branches, a quarter-mile stretch of riverwalk is taking shape between Harrison Street and the River City Apartments. And penciled into plans for the planned “78” mega-development is a proposed riverwalk stretching between the South Loop and Chinatown.
It makes the final case nicely:
There’s a cachet now to living, working and playing along the river. Riverfront beautification can spur economic growth — something that has eluded neighborhoods on the South and West sides for far too long. The Chicago River as an asset? Yes, we remember when the river was justly maligned as the city’s waste bin for industrial muck, when Chicago was the only major American city to dump partially treated sewage into a major waterway.
The river’s much cleaner now. We wouldn’t swim in it, but we like that we can enjoy a riverside margarita without getting knocked over by wafts of putrefaction. The Chicago River is indeed on its way toward becoming the city’s second marquee waterfront.
Now it’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s turn. She campaigned on a pledge of equity. She promised that the South and West sides would be just as much of a priority as the downtown and North Side. That can apply to everything from education to development to transit. It should also apply to riverside recreation — and the South Branch.
Interesting perspective - would be nice to see!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Lips Chicago Getting Ready for Grand Opening on August 23rd in Motor Row

Sponsored Post


The Ladies of Lips are excited to announce the opening of their opulent and glamorous show palace at 2229 South Michigan Ave in the heart of Motor Row in the South Loop!

Lips has been serving up dinner, drinks and fabulous drag shows across America for over 25 years, with show palaces in New York City, NY; Atlanta, GA.; Fort Lauderdale, FL; San Diego, CA and now the largest and most grand show palace in Chicago.

Lips will feature shows 5 Nights A Week and for Brunch on Sunday! Twisted Broadway, Dinner with the Divas, Glitz & Glamour, Taboo-The Dirty Show, Showstoppers, and Dragalicious Gospel Brunch are just a few of the shows planned shows. Lips is also the ULTIMATE party palace and the best place to celebrate anything and everything, including bachelorette parties, birthdays, graduations, divorces and more.

Lips offers Chicago's only true and compete LaCage Drag Show experience. The show place features giant crystal chandeliers, plush velvet curtains, glitter covered walls, pink leopard walls, high heel chandeliers and legs that float from the walls completed with one of a kind heels designed by world renowned designer Brenda Starr. In addition to the Glitz and Glam decor, the show palace also features a state of the art club sound system and theater stage lighting.

​The experience is completed with a fabulous menu, amazing food and cocktails prepared under the direction of Executive Chef Tom J Schmitt. Lips menu selections range from pan seared filet mignon and homemade lobster ravioli to flat iron grilled chicken and citrus butter grilled salmon. Cocktails include Lips world famous Frozen Cosmo and Hormone Shots plus a full bar.

​Lips is the best place to celebrate everything! Bachelorette Parties, Birthdays & Divorces are just a few of the many celebrations that occur on a nightly basis at Lips.

​So gather a group of friends or just plan a dinner for two! The Ladies of Lips are waiting for you.

​Reservations Required 312-815-2662

Is Not Just Cookies Still Open?

A reader writes:
Do you know if this is permanently closed? I went by around noon today and no activity and limited signage?

I know they probably suffered due to scaffolding in front that covered the entrance, but enjoyed their baked goods.


This location is sort of hidden and when they do work on the building (which they are now) the scaffolding makes it that much more hard to see.

Does anyone have more details?

As a reminder, NJC opened their doors in late 2017 - see post here.

(Hat tip:  SW!)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Harold's #88 Chicken Shack Moving Into Space at 1450 S. Michigan

A reader sends us the following picture:

It's slightly surprising that another Harold's is coming to 1450 S. Michigan given that there is one at Michigan and Cermak.  That said, we believe they all have different owners.  It's also interesting that they're selling craft beer and cocktails.  We've never seen that at Harold's.

As a reminder, Phenomenal Fitness moved to 2001 S. State from this space back in 2017.  The property has sit vacant since then.

(Hat tip:  JD!)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Friday at Lollapalooza - Hard to Top a Perfect Day...but Then Sunday Morning Hit

Photo credit Charles Reagen Studios
Not gonna lie - Friday at Lolla was one for the books.  Why was it so great?  Hopefully some of these observations and random thoughts can answer that: 

The Weather!
Wow - the one thing organizers can't control - the weather - was amazing for all four days!  That's unprecedented for Lolla.  Usually the heat is unbearable or storms cause havoc (evacuations!).  Four straight days of sunshine and relatively comfortable summer weather simply made the festival experience that much better.  Better yet, hopefully it means Grant Park will be in better shape than it usually is.

The Music Actually Beat Expectations
Obviously this is highly subjective, but across the board we were pleasantly surprised that everywhere we went the performers were better than expected.  The under card shows are always hard to predict.  They can be historic (ex - Lady Gaga in 2007 before she was Lady Gaga!) or it can be a buzzkill if the artist isn't ready for their shot at fame or if the sound mixing is bad.  For us, all the shows we took in were better than expected - Tessa Violet, Teirra Whack, Party Favor, Matoma and 21 Savage.  It set the mood for an evening to remember! 

With a Little Help From Their Friends
Unexpected music collaborations and guest appearances are always a nice touch for live shows and Friday proved just that.  Childish Gambino (one of the headliners on Friday) dropped in on 21 Savage's song Monster.  That was pretty rad, but another guest appearance really stood out.

We had a slight hunch last week that Death Cab for Cutie might call out Chicago's very own Chance the Rapper to perform their new single off his album (The Big Day) which was released on July 26th.  As suspected, this unusual collaboration materialized into a "historic" moment at Lolla:
      

We actually thought we might have two Chance the Rapper guest appearances as he has a well documented friendship with Childish Gambino.  He actually appeared at his Gambino's Coachella show earlier this year.  Seemed like a natural fit in Chance's hometown and with him in the "building".  Maybe Chance took in the show, but there was no sightings or anything.


A New Lolla Surrogate?
While we were hoping for two Chance sightings - a different and better thought crossed our mind.  Wouldn't it be perfect if Chance the Rapper took the reigns from Perry Farrell as the face of the festival.  

No offense to Perry Farrell - who is a legend and the visionary for Lolla - but most of the crowd probably doesn't even know who Jane's Addiction is (if you don't that's ok you can click here).  

Similar to Farrell, Chance is known as a lover of all music genres (just look at his aforementioned collaboration with Death Cab for Cutie above).  He is a talented, powerful musician in his prime and has a history at Lolla.   

Oh and he's a CHICAGOAN!  

There are likely some business complications that would prevent this, but just saying - give Chance a chance.

This is America
While Friday was a glorious day at Lolla, one of the biggest takeaways didn't happen until Sunday morning and wasn't as rosy.  Gambino's headlining performance was truly unique and special.  If it had to be described, stir up some James Brown showmanship, add some Parliament-Funk groove, a little Outkast genre-bending flow and a sprinkle of raw Prince sensuality for good measure.  It was a performance, not a music show - a theatrical performance!

He told us he was taking us to "church" and in the moment you nod your head, scream "preach" or do whatever you do.  The entire set was an experience - new songs, old songs, songs that everyone knew and songs that only some did. It didn't matter - they all worked.  

But...he had to play This is America - his popular, controversial song and violent video that many credit as an artistic masterpiece that encourages dialogue around what's happening in our country.  The bi-polar song touches on many subjects, but one key one is gun violence.  In the context of Lollapalooza it's strange - a sea of (generally) privileged people bouncing to the beat and likely oblivious to the song's message (if you want a primer on the message click here or here).  

But the show went on...another unfortunate metaphor to how our country deals with mass shootings.

Waking up to the Sunday morning headlines of two mass shootings in less than 24 hours - first 20 dead in El Paso followed by 9 in Dayton.  While these get the headlines because they're heinous acts with many casualties, let's not forget 5 miles west of Lollapalooza and the Sloop 7 people were shot in Douglas Park on Saturday night.

It's crazy, but this is America.  What's it going to take for something to be done?  

As Childish Gambino's song suggests "...ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody, you go tell somebody..."

It's easy to tell somebody, but we need to #DoSomething...  

This has to change.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Looked like Jesus

Image from Rolling Stone

From Forbes(!!!!!):
With a black-robed choir of around five or seven singers to support him, and a variety of dancers of different sizes, he told a narrative of summertime and kicked the night off with "Altavista," as he stood in a tower in the middle of the crowd with a single, white spotlight drowning him in light. Someone in the crowd remarked that, with his thick, curly hair, bushy beard and shirtless, linen pants, while walking out of the lights toward the stage, he "looked like Jesus."
YouTube video (shaky at start, better towards the end):