Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Timothy's Hutch Opens in Lobby of Blackstone Hotel (636 S. Michigan)

This is funny.  We actually just had a great meal at Mercat a la Planxa (more to come at a later date) and walked through the lobby of the Blackstone and was taken aback by the scene.  Makes sense now (via Eater Chicago):
The 107-year-old Blackstone Hotel is banking on attracting more guests to the South Loop by opening a lobby lounge that specializes in craft cocktails. Timothy’s Hutch opens today, part of a multi-million dollar renovation for the hotel which Marriott recently brought into its Autograph Collection imprint. The lounge, in the hotel’s lobby, serves 1960s-style cocktails and small bites.
It was pretty cool.  However, it didn't seem like there was a "waiter/bartender".  Maybe we just didn't see them.

I actually thought to myself "If you're a guess at the hotel, do you just have access to this bar to make your own drink?"

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Former D'Jons Barbershop Retail Space Sold - Is Something Moving In?

A reader writes:
While walking my dog this morning, I noticed the "for sale" sign in the window of the former D'Jons Barbershop location (1514 S. Wabash Ave.) had been removed. I googled it later, and sure enough - the space was sold on May 23rd:  

No details on who purchased it or what might be going into the space.

As a reminder back in April we posted about D'Jons barbershop moving down South.  Does anyone have any knowledge of what may be moving in?  Or is this just a real estate transaction and a new tenant hasn't been identified?

(Hat tip:  JD!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Futuristic Cycling Studio Cycmode Opening at 1333 S. Wabash in July?

If you recall we posted about a new cycling studio opening at the new retail space at 1333 S. Wabash.

Well a reader sent us the following email that provides a more detailed look at what this appears to be:
I remember a while back you had posted about a permit for a cycling studio at 1333 (or 1335?) S Wabash. Looks like there's some more information about it. (Opening July 22nd) 
This looks like the official studio page: 
And this is a little bit more about the type of workout:

Looks pretty interesting.

(Hat tip:  AS!)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Sloopin Open House: Who Wants a Townhouse with a Grass

We've toured units within this townhouse complex at 1315 S. Plymouth Ct and legitimately liked it.  This specific unit is listed at $465K and is a 2bd/1.5bth.  It's a unique space and for whatever reason the half moon windows speak to us:

Outside of that the unit is pretty basic, but it has a front-yard and some grass - YES GRASS:

If this looks interesting go check it out on Sunday from 1-3pm.  The address is 1315 S. Plymouth Ct unit B.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Former Taco Bell Space at 41 W. Congress Becoming Medical Services Office?

A reader writes:
I love your blog and thought you might be interested in this story. I noticed work started recently at the long-vacant building on the corner of Plymouth & Congress (41 W Congress - formerly a Taco Bell / Subway) and found this building permit online: 
While it doesn't sound like the sexiest thing in the world, the building has been sitting vacant and I guess something is better than nothing (I know some people will disagree with this mentality, I understand)?

Anyone know anything about this?

(Hat tip:  CW!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Police "Beefing Up" Patrols After Rash of Robberies Targeting Bike Riders

Again...WTF (abc7):
Chicago police are beefing up patrols in the South Loop neighborhood after seven robberies in the last 10 days, the latest of which was Tuesday morning of woman riding a bike.

Just before 10 a.m. Tuesday, a man in a red jeep pulled alongside a 38-year-old woman on a bike near Cullerton and Indiana. He reached out from the moving car, grabbed her shoulder bag and sped off.

Most of the robberies have targeted people on bikes, and most of the victims have been women. Chicago police issued a community alert warning residents. And many are taking notice.

On Sunday, two men robbed a 14-year-old girl on a bike around 8:40 p.m. near East 16th Street and South Indiana Avenue. One man got out of the passenger seat of a car to rob her, then got back in and rode away, police said. The girl suffered a few minor injuries.

Investigators only have vague descriptions of the suspects and vehicles involved and there appears to be several. But generally the offenders stop a cyclist with their car, sometimes knocking them over. In at least one case, they dragged her a short distance. Then, they grab a purse or bag and take off.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Looks Like One Grant Park is Going Vertical!

After starting underground foundation work back in January, Chicago’s upcoming One Grant Park tower is starting to rise above street level at the corner of Indiana and Roosevelt. Keeping pace with construction, the City of Chicago just granted the high-rise project another partial building permit estimated at $64 million. Crews are now authorized to continue structural work up through the building’s eighth level.
Ultimately expected to rise 76 stories and in excess of 800 feet, the Rafael Viñoly-designed skyscraper is a modern day homage to the Chicago School of structural expressionism with “bundled tube” layout similar to that of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. When completed, One Grant Park will be the South Loop’s tallest structure—or at least until developer Crescent Heights tops-off an even taller twin tower planned for the site to the immediate west.

Looking forward to seeing this one climb!

Monday, June 12, 2017

In Case You Missed it...A Lit Fest Recap

In case you missed this past weekends Lit Fest (via Chicago Tribune):
Consuming literature is a lonely endeavor. Unless you're reading out loud, sitting down with a novel is an intimate experience between you and your pages. But it doesn't have to be.

A lover of books also loves to talk about favorite authors and works, which is where Printers Row Lit Fest steps into its role. The outdoor festival held Saturday and Sunday provides a space for bibliophiles to come together to create a community accepting of any and all kinds of literature.

John Glover, owner of Glover's Bookery, says there's a value in sharing what you enjoy. "People that talk books are either really interesting or really weird, but I enjoy learning what everyone else likes," the bookdealer said. Glover has trekked to Chicago from Lexington, Ky., for Lit Fest every year since 1986 to sell rare, used and out-of-print literature.

In the tents that line the middle of Printers Row in the Loop, you can often catch parts of conversations on why Thoreau is a great writer, or how unbelievably cheap an antique Twain hardcover was.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Sloopin Open House:
2bd/2bth Printers Row Loft Overlooking Lit Fest Festivities

In honor of Printers Row Lit Fest, we're highlighting a loft on Dearborn (727 S. Dearborn Unit 212) that would allow you to overlook the fest.  The open house is today (6/10) from 1-3pm - so go to the fest and check out this unit.

You know we're a fan of these old buildings and the character they offer and this specific unit meets that test.  It's a 2bd/2bth and is listed at $465K.  Not cheap, but it's a unique, open space:

The listing provides some insight into the unit:
At last. A REAL loft in the Donohue Building where the first loft living began in Chicago in the 1970's. 14 ft concrete ceilings, concrete columns & floors, brick walls, huge west windows flooded with sunshine overlooking the fabled Dearborn Station/Printer's Row neighborhood

Friday, June 9, 2017

Looks Like Official Opening of Hax Isn't Until 7/17

Lots of excitement about Hax (and Gordo's) impending opening.  Looks like some of the early speculation of them opening this week was a little premature.  That being said, we imagine they may be "open" this weekend during Lit Fest - seems like a good way to get some attention to their new concept.

Anyway, a reader stopped by on a recent day and sent us the following:
Today was a soft/test launch for Hax...Offering free food and drinks off a limited menu for honest feedback.  
Signs say Grand Opening set for 7-17-17

(Hat tip:  JC!)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

CPS Floats Idea to Turn National Teacher's Academy (55 W. Cermak) into High School to Serve Sloop

Lots of coverage and news coming out of Tuesday night's CPS community meeting regarding schooling in the Sloop and surrounding neighborhoods.  Race and affluence is a key issue being raised (via WBEZ):
Chicago Public Schools proposes converting National Teachers Academy, an elementary school at the southern end of the South Loop, into a high school. This move satisfies the desires of new, wealthier residents in the area who want a high school. But parents of students at NTA, who are mostly black and low-income, don’t want to lose their school and say they are being ignored.

CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson defends this plan, saying it was devised to create more integrated schools and not to exclude the area’s longtime, mostly black, low-income residents. The plan includes moving NTA students to South Loop elementary, which is getting a new building.

“You see a community that welcomes diversity, that has welcomed the idea of merging the two schools [NTA and South Loop], despite some of the socioeconomic and racial differences that exist,” Jackson told WBEZ. “So I think that they are actually a model community for that kind of diversity.”

While that may be spin from the CPS CEO, it's a nice sentiment and something that we agree is a unique quality about the Sloop - it's diversity.  Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

That being said, a high school that adequately serve the neighborhood is sorely needed, so it seems like this is a good development.  We've heard from many people and many families that feel schooling options are limited and thus feel the need to leave the area and the city.  We applaud the city and CPS for at least trying to offer an adequate solution.

Anyway, here are some of the links if you'd like to read further.  For our money the Tribune's is the best and easiest to follow:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It's Here! The 2017 Printers Row Lit Fest - This Sat (6/10) and Sun (6/11)

It's one of our favorite festivals in Chicago and that's not just because it's in our backyard.  Printers Row Lit Fest is unique and this year looks to have a great lineup (via Tribune):
About 200 authors and presenters will gather June 10 and 11 in the historic Printers Row neighborhood in Chicago's South Loop. The lineup promises to enlighten and entertain with headliners such as U.S. Sen. Al Franken, author of "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate," and NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author of "Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court."

The festival will kick off with Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove. She will receive the 2017 Harold Washington Literary Award. More Pulitzer winners — two from 2017 — will appear elsewhere during the fest. Heather Ann Thompson, who was recognized for her narrative history book "Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy," will speak on mass incarceration. The Chicago Tribune's own E. Jason Wambsgans, who received the Pulitzer for feature photography, will discuss his photographs portraying a family's struggle after a 10-year-old Chicago boy survived a shooting.

It's a great event - see you there!