Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Alternative Viewpoint: Marc Realty's Offer for River City

Last week we posted a note from a reader who had issue with a real estate company trying to buy River City condos.

River City - Image from YoChicago
Well apparently not everyone feels the way this reader does.  We received a decent amount of emails sharing an alternative views on the topic.  To be fair, we thought we would post one of them:
I'm an avid Sloopin reader and greatly appreciate all of your efforts on keeping us all informed on what is going on in our South Loop neighborhood. Having said that, I wanted to provide you additional information on one of your posts so that you can provide accurate information to your readers.
You recently posted about Marc Realty's offers to purchase the River City Condo Association. I'm pretty sure the information you posted is from the same individual that sent you the information for your original post on this subject. I'm hoping you will post something from someone on the other side of this issue so that it's more balanced and not just maligning the majority of the owners in River City or Marc Realty. Although we can comment on your posts, the comments do not get the same attention as the actual posts. Therefore, by posting only one side, you and your readers are missing part of the story and doing a disservice to the rest of the owners of River City.

The latest post is accurate in that Marc Realty has approached us with two previous offers that were voted down and that we are currently waiting for the finalization of a third offer. However, it is very slanted. What this individual failed to mention to you in both posts are several points:
  • The first offer was a generous offer significantly above market value and has increased with each subsequent offer. This doesn't sound like abuse to me!! 
  • There are other very favorable terms in all three offers that actually make this an even better deal for the owners. 
  • The last offer was voted down by a very, very slim margin, just 0.3%, so the majority of owners were happy to hear of a third offer. 
  • River City has been approached by other potential buyers, in addition to Marc Realty, so the voting process would have been inevitable anyway. 
  • Marc Realty is not forcing the owners to vote over and over. Illinois Condominium Law requires that the Board present the offer to the Association for a vote, and the majority of owners are eager to receive and vote on this third offer. 
  • The majority of owners that want this next offer to succeed feel that they are being held hostage by the very small percentage that do not want it to go through. 
  • The normal business of the building has not been disrupted.  The Board is required to continue with business as usual unless and until the Condo Association enters an agreement to sell, and they have been doing just that. For the other individual to state otherwise is a misrepresentation of our Board's actions. 
  • Prior to an agreement being reached, every owner still has the right to sell their unit outright or rent it out as allowed within our Bylaws. Again, business as usual 
While I understand and respect that some owners are not interested in selling their units, it is unfortunate that one individual chooses to present this as an overly negative offer and process when in fact it is neither.

(Hat tip:  HP & CT!)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Day is Here!

A rare Solar Eclipse is happening today and across our country millions of people will undoubtedly be looking up to catch a glimpse.  Beware - if not viewed proper it can cause some serious damage.

Curbed Chicago outlines some thoughts on the event and where to watch it:
On Monday, August 21, 2017, a rare solar eclipse will be visible across all of North America, and Chicagoans will be able to get a good glimpse (while wearing protective eyewear, of course) of the astronomical event. Weather permitting, the eclipse will start around 11:54 a.m. and by 1:19 p.m., the moon will block 87% of the sun. Fortunately, there will be numerous eclipse watching parties in Chicago on Monday the 21st for residents to check out.
Unsurprisingly,, #1 on Curbed's list is the Sloop's Adler Planetarium:
The Adler Planetarium is going all out for the big solar eclipse. Dubbed Chicago’s Eclipse Fest, the Adler is hosting a whole block party complete with outdoor activities and live experiences throughout the morning and early afternoon. Attendees will be provided with solar viewing glasses for the big eclipse once it happens. The event will be family-friendly and is certainly one to consider for children.
Northerly Island also gets some love coming in at #8:
If watching parties are not your thing, consider staking out a space somewhere on Northerly Island. Far from the big downtown crowds, the island features a tranquil environment which is perfect for experiencing the event in more private and relaxing surroundings. You’ll have to bring your own solar shades though.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017 Air & Water Show Weekend is Upon Us

One of our favorite weekends is upon us - the Chicago Air and Water Show.  While most of the activity centers around North Avenue beach, you can still get a great glimpse of the activities from various spots in the Sloop (one of our favorites is the lakefront between the Planetarium and Shedd).

Anyway, here is some info from Chicago Tribune:
The Blue Angels are back for the 2017 Chicago Air and Water Show on the lakefront Aug. 19 and 20. The team, made up of six blue and gold U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets, alternates years with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. A familiar cast of military and civilian aircraft will take over the skies over North Avenue Beach. Here is a guide to the show and performers.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug 20.

Looks like the weather this weekend is going to be great - don't forget to look up this weekend!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center's "Hiplet" Calls Printers Row Home

This is pretty cool and it's in Printers Row (via Great Big Story):

Here is the blurb for the video:
The dancers of the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center plié, pirouette and jeté to their own rhythm in a new form called Hiplet. The dance draws on both the movements of hip-hop and classical ballet technique and is performed on pointe shoes. We caught up with the dance's creator, Homer Hans Bryant, to learn some of the moves, get the story behind its inception and find out what it takes to make it as a Hiplet dancer.
We weren't familiar with the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, but apparently they're our neighbors!!!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Glance at "The Post Office" Opening in 2018

A reader snapped some pictures showcasing some of the work happening at the post office:

The first picture looks pretty cool inside and it appears that they're shooting to deliver this space next year.  Interesante...

For more info here is a link we did on the project back in July of 2017.

(Hat tip:  CPM!)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Review of the Playground/Park at 21st and Prairie

A South Loop resident and fellow blogger sent us a link to her in-depth review of the new playground at 21st and Prairie.  Here is a snippet from her write-up (via AlphaKidsShine):
If you have not visited yet, the playground is rich with sensory stimuli for a child. Visual and tactile experiences abound however the space also incorporates extensive vestibular opportunities which will challenge a child's balance and awareness. The floor is a smooth rubber material, likely recycled, however the Chicago Park District website does not list the material of the playground flooring. Regardless, it is a good protective cushion for "falls" and is great for ADA wheelchair accessibility.

There are 3 sides of the playground: 
  • A smaller area for ages 6 month to 2-3 years old with more open space, miniature hills, and a small climbing/slide structure easy for parents to navigate 
  • A more dynamic side for ages 4 and up with rope climbs, tight ropes, monkey bars, an extremely tall slide, a rubber ladder, and climbing/sliding poles 
  • Water area with spouts and towers partitioned off by low rock barriers, which also happen to be fun for kids to climb

A good read and from the sounds of it a good (albeit expensive) addition to the neighborhood!

(Hat tip:  AKS!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Is Third Time a Charm for Developer Seeking to Buy River City?

A reader just sent a note about a hot topic from last year:
Dear Sloopin, 
I just wanted to update you on your story of the deconversion of River City from 2016. In the last 2 years, Marc Realty has made 2 offers to buy all the condo units in River City in a bulk sale. They failed to gain the necessary percentage (75%) of owners’ votes both times. 
They have now made a third offer to buy the building. Apparently they plan to force us to vote over, and over, and over again until they find the minimum price that will get the requisite number of votes. The whole process has been unfair to owners who don’t wish to sell their homes, and has failed to protect their right to enjoyment of their property. As result of Marc’s repeated attempts, The normal business of the building has been disrupted for two years, and the lives of 450 owners has been put on hold because of the uncertainty of ownership. 
This process is an abuse of a law that was never intended to facilitate hostile takeovers of property by greedy developers who see a chance to cash in on hot neighborhoods. In Florida, this kind of abuse led to a change in their law to require 90% of owners to agree to a bulk sale. Illinois should follow Florida’s lead. 
RC resident owner
There were a lot of comments about a post we did back in January of 2016.  If this readers email is true it sounds devious.

Let us know what you think.

(Hat tip: PO!)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Chicago Born Roller Derby Celebrates 82nd Birthday at Coliseum Park

Seems like we missed a fun and slightly quirky event at Coliseum Park (14th and Wabash) yesterday (via Sun Times):
Roller derby turned 82 on Sunday, and Thomas Schultz got the first slice of cake.

The 8-year-old Joliet native then handed — well, skated — it over to Chicago roller derby legend Mary Lou Palermo.

Both skaters share a love of the Chicago-born sport, known for its bawdy nicknames and rough-and-tumble thrills. Thomas started competing in 2017. Palermo did in 1944.
We don't know much about the sport, but this youtube video seems pretty sweet!

Friday, August 11, 2017

University Center Sold for $201 Million to Blue Vista Capital Management

In case you missed this last week (via Crains):
Three downtown colleges have switched from landlord to tenant after completing the biggest student housing deal ever in Chicago.

A nonprofit formed by the three schools—Columbia College, DePaul University and Roosevelt University—just completed the $201 million sale of University Center, a 1,729-bed building in the South Loop where their students live, according to Cook County property records. The nonprofit sold the 18-story building at 525 S. State St. to a joint venture led by Blue Vista Capital Management, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm that specializes in student housing.

The deal will free up money for the schools to spend on other purposes, though they now will pay rent to Blue Vista. Under the deal, the colleges signed agreements to lease a "vast majority" of the beds in the property for 10 years, said Blue Vista co-founder and CEO Peter Stelian, declining to elaborate. Another local school, Robert Morris University Illinois, has signed a shorter-term master lease for a batch of beds in the building, too.
That's a lot of money - but we guess it's a pretty big building in a pretty prime location.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Phenomenal Fitness Relocating from 1450 S. Michigan to 2001 S. State (Blue Star Apartment Retail Space at Cullerton and State)

A reader writes:
I noticed that there appears to be a gym getting ready to open on the corner of State and Cullerton and was wondering if you have any news on what type of gym this might be and their open date?
We actually just drove by the new apartments and did see a bunch of treadmills in the retail space at at the corner.

We received a separate email from the owners of Phenomenal Fitness and it appears they're moving to this space:
We were at 1450 S. Michigan and we moved to 2001 S. State.
Additionally, it sounds like they're going to be running a trial month promotion in honor of this move.  Reach out to them for more details.

As a reminder, we posted about this apartment conversion back in 2014.

(Hat tip:  VS!)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Poke Burrito Coming Soon to 453 S. Dearborn (Just North of Congress)

It looks like Printers Row (well...just north of Congress...but sure we'll call it that) is getting another Poke restaurant:

A reader also provides this perspective:
If I were opening a new business I'd look what was around and try and open something the neighborhood needed...not exactly what just opened 2 blocks down on the same street! Entrepreneurs take note...Printers Row needs a bakery...not another Poke place, hair salon or burger place.
(Hat tip: TR & MK!)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gordo's Provides Unique Dessert Option for the Sloop

We've been pretty intrigued about Gordo's (and Hax for that matter) opening on Dearborn in Printer's Row.  On paper both spots provide new options for a neighborhood craving new options.

While the style of service at Hax is the new news for that restaurant (more to come on that in subsequent weeks), the food at Gordo's is the story.

As a reminder, the process at Gordo's is "Pick. Dip. Sprinkle."  If that doesn't make sense, you pick an ice cream bar.  Dip it in some chocolate (dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate).  And sprinkle with a topping (various options exist.

We've been twice now and both experience have been good - but different.  We'll chalk this up to growing pains, but the first time we went they were out of various flavors of ice cream bars.  In their defense it was late in the evening so presumably things were picked over.

The second time was more normal.  We opted to follow "classic bars" that we're outline on the board instead of creating our own.


For our second, we went out on a limb and diverged from the typical ice cream bar format and got the Gordo's Super Sandwich: VANILLA ICE CREAM CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE SANDWICH DIPPED IN MILK CHOCOLATE WITH HEATH BAR CRUNCH

The pictures don't really do justice to these things.  They were very delicious and super decadent (but that might have just been due to our choices).  However, they were beyond messy and frankly had to be eaten with a spoon (especially the cookie).

We're looking forward to trying some of the other options.  One word of advice, sharing might be a good option if you're only looking for a snack.  We had trouble finishing both...

Regardless, good luck to Gordo's.  They're definitely bringing a unique option to the hood.