Friday, May 17, 2019

Crain's Reports that Uber Eyeing Old Post Office for 450,000 Square Feet of Office Space

Sounds like the old Post Office could get it's biggest tenant (according to Crain's):
Uber is in talks to lease about 450,000 square feet at the redeveloped Old Main Post Office, where the rapidly growing company could soon locate thousands of employees.
The San Francisco-based company is closing in on a deal for a massive office at the 2.8 million-square-foot behemoth at 433 W. Van Buren St., a source familiar with the negotiations confirms.

The deal would be a big victory for New York-based developer 601W, which is overhauling the long-vacant property with an $800 million redevelopment to transform it into a modern office building.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Roots Pizza Coming to Printer's Row in February?

Buried in a post on Curbed early this week, we read a little sentence that caught our eye:

A larger Roots location in South Loop should open in February.

What was the context here?  Well the 50/50 restaurant group is getting ready to open a couple new places in the Second City Comedy Club and as part of that they went into some additional detail on the groups plans

Why did that catch our eye?  Well we haven't heard or seen much activity at the location where this rumored location is slated to be - the northwest corner of Polk and Dearborn.  Last we checked in was fencing going up around the space in October 2018:

Maybe the fencing was a little premature as winter was getting ready to roll in and maybe activity will pick up?  We will see.

This is one of the most interesting intersections in the neighborhood in our opinion and has had a lot of recent activity - see bike lane improvement post earlier this week and Totto's market/urban mansion being built across the street:

While the Roots pizza sentence isn't super enlightening, it is the most we've heard in almost a year.  Hope this is still happening.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Williams Inn Pizzeria Coming to Motor Row (2210 S. Michigan Avenue)

Something we missed, but certainly wanted to call-out is that the momentum in Motor Row continues with a new pizzeria opening up shop (via Curbed):
NEAR SOUTH SIDE — Williams Inn Pizzeria is slated to reopen at 2210 S. Michigan Avenue, according to a liquor license. Owners closed the original location at 1710 E. 87th Street in October 2018.
This appears to be in the same building where Jerk Villa (2216 S. Michigan) and Succezz (2214 S. Michigan) currently reside.  Based on the google maps photo, it looks like the building has three retail spots and presumably Williams Inn will take the last spot:

We've never been to Williams Inn Pizzeria, but judging by Grub Hub (4.5 stars) and Yelp (3 stars), the interwebs are mixed on whether or not it's good.  Has anyone been?  Good stuff?

Judging from their facebook page, they've got some legit Chicago style pie:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

South Loop Bike Connection Project Begins

As someone who uses the bike lane on Dearborn and is also frequently walking in Printers Row, the fact that this street improvement project is finally moving forward is music to our ears. 

The intersection of Dearborn and Polk is confusing for all people invovled - car drivers, cyclists and walkers.  Hope these new improvements help with the flow and character of the neighborhood (via Streets Blog Chicago):
On Tuesday, South Loop residents and bike advocates gathered for a community meeting hosted by Ald. Sophia King to discuss plans for long-overdue bike improvements in the neighborhood. During the Chicago Department of Transportation announced that it is starting construction on the bike infrastructure, which was delayed by a year due to initial opposition from King.
Back in August 2017, CDOT presented what were supposed to be final plans for a low-stress bike route from the south end of the Dearborn protected bike lane to Grant Park via Polk Street, Plymouth Court, and 9th Street. The department also planned to add concrete curb protection on the existing Harrison Street protected bike lanes between Desplaines Street and Wabash Avenue. The work was slated to be completed in spring 2018, but it never happened, reportedly due King’s concerns about maximizing car parking.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Calling All Digital Savvy South Loop Realtors

Hey you!

Are you a digital savvy South Loop realtor who understands the interwebs and social media?  Are you someone who is able to navigate the world of "new media" and utilize it to help your real estate business?

If you are, please email us at - we are interested in partnering on some new ideas we've been contemplating. 

Even if you're not one of the digital savvy types, that's ok.  We'd still like to talk to you.  You must be somewhat savvy otherwise you probably wouldn't have found this ol' website.

Hit us up at

Saturday, May 11, 2019

BTS and their Army Invades the Sloop and Soldier Field Tonight (5/11) and Tomorrow (5/12)

It's BTS weekend in the Sloop (and Chicago).  If you're like us and don't really understand the phenomenon, the Tribune has a pretty good summary:
Jin explained contemporary K-pop’s global rise and the BTS phenomenon in responses sent via email. 
He argues three major factors contribute to the genre’s current popularity: hybridization of western and Korean culture, the K-pop industry’s strategic use of social media, and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” which, while seen as more of a novelty song in the U.S., laid out a template for “going viral” in a way that hadn’t been accomplished by the genre before. 
The “hybridization” of western and Korean popular culture is at the heart of the K-pop industry’s model. Language is no longer a barrier to entry for fans. While BTS predominantly sings in Korean, it also releases albums in Japanese, and regularly employs English expressions and slang. But the group has found its own way to bridge global and local sensibilities even beyond that. 
“The Korean music industry has been influenced by both Japanese music and American pop music,’ Jin writes. “After developing ballads, emphasizing sentimental love and sorrow embedded in Korean culture influenced by Japan starting in the 1910s, Korea has finally developed new music genres by adopting hip-hop, rap, and reggae starting in the mid-1990s. 
“With the arrival of American hip-hop culture and rap music, Korean popular music became youth-oriented hybrid music. In this regard, K-pop has developed the music themes of resistance and social critique as K-pop mixes with hip-hop, showing its universal appeal.” 

Vox also has a good overview in their "explained" structure if you don't want a local, Chicago spin on the phenomenon.  All this said, it's just the music pop machine doing it's thing...just interesting how the Korean market has been so effective at it around the globe.

So all that said, if you're interested in this craze, head outside in the Sloop and check out the scene.  If you're terrified, maybe curl up and watch some Netflix.  In the meantime, here is one of the BTS videos we (sorta) liked: 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Chicago Fire Seem Poised to Return to Soldier Field

MLS fans rejoice - it appears that the Chicago Fire are coming back to Soldier Field (via Chicago Tribune):
The first step in the Fire’s bid to return to Chicago has been taken.
Under a tentative deal, the Fire would pay the Village of Bridgeview about $65 million to break their lease at SeatGeek Stadium, according to village spokesman Ray Hanania.

The Fire reportedly have been seeking a return to Soldier Field as early as next season. Hanania said the Fire have not indicated where they will play in 2020. The Fire wouldn’t confirm their plans.
Seems like a lot of money for an MLS team, but hey what do we know.  For the Sloop, this likely would be seen as a mixed bag.  Generally speaking, events at Soldier Field have a tendency to create traffic headaches in the neighborhood.  That being said, the Chicago Fire aren't going to draw a crowd like the Bears or a sold-out BTS concert.

So while the added amount of events could cause traffic issues, our local restaurant and bar scene would likely love the shot in the arm.  As has been discussed a lot this week (see posts about Vice Brewing and Lobo Canteen), some of the local spots have struggled.  Most argue that their troubles aren't a result of the neighborhood, but regardless more events would undoubtedly help the whole scene.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Vice District Brewing Evicted from 1454 S. Michigan

We've received some emails from a variety of readers and Eater also has an blurb:
Meanwhile, for the second time in two weeks, the city has shut down a bar in the South Loop. On Tuesday a green sticker from the Office of the Sheriff of Cook County appeared on the window of Vice District Brewing’s taproom at 1454 S. Michigan Avenue announcing that “all persons have been evicted from the premises.” Ownership subsequently announced on its Facebook page that it “will be closed tonight,” prompting a user to respond with a photo of the eviction notice and ask “Closed forever? What’s going on? Please say it ain’t so.. I never got a chance to stop in!” Ownership, who opened a second location in September 2018 in suburban Homewood, has not responded to a request for comment.
We had some good times and good beers at Vice and are sorry to see them go.  We will see what's next for this spot.

(Hat tip: BT & A!)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Kickboxing Fitness Biz - 9 Round - Coming to South State

Looks like another workout place called "9 Round" is headed to State Street (next to Devil Dawgs 767 S. State):

We've never heard of 9 Round but according to their website:
9Round is a specialized fitness center for people who want a unique, fun, and proven workout that guarantees results. 9Round offers a kickboxing themed fitness program that incorporates a functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens. The programs consist of a proprietary system of nine challenging workout stations developed by a World Champion Kickboxer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Reader Wonders What's Going On At Columbia's Art Park

A reader writes:
I saw this morning that the Columbia College Art park on the corner of 11th and Wabash was being destroyed, including the art. (pictures attached)
This is terrible, I've always loved that little spot in the loop.

Do you know what is going on?

We're not sure what's going on here.  Maybe a new park?  Anyone have the scoop?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Blair Kamin Weighs In On Massive One Central Development

The massive $20 billion development - One Central - that is trying to be built over the train tracks west of Lake Shore Drive and Soldier Field has been in the news a lot lately.  Last week, it was reported that the developer was seeking a huge sum to get the project kick-started:
The developer wants the General Assembly to fund a chunk of the plan’s $3.8 billion first phase by the end of May — only four weeks after he announced that he would seek state taxpayers’ support rather than the controversial tax increment financing that’s backing Lincoln Yards.
Beyond this, our favorite architecture critic, Blair Kamin, is weighing in on the concept.  While he understands the potential, he calls out a variety of potential issues to consider such as questions whether or not the new development will actually improve the connection from the Sloop to the lake.

He ends the column with a warning:
These urban design shortcomings should not be brushed off as mere aesthetic issues. In these plans, the physical and the fiscal are intricately intertwined. If One Central fails to connect with the city around it and doesn’t become a lively place, it won’t produce the promised bonanza of tax revenue.
It still seems unlikely in our mind that this will happen, but after last week there is a little more momentum behind One Central.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Bank of America Expanding Space on South Michigan in the Sloop?

Looks like Bank of America is expanding on Michigan Avenue according to this article in Crains:
Most big banks are pruning their local branch networks, but Bank of America plans 11 new locations in the Chicago area over the coming year or so.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based giant, the nation’s second-largest bank by assets and third-largest in Chicago by deposits, is going against the industry’s grain as it pushes for more market share locally. Bank of America also plans to renovate nearly 60 of the 155 existing branches it has in the area, changing the format by placing bankers up front where customers enter.
Of the 11 new branches BofA plans, five are in Chicago and six are in the suburbs. In the city, Bank of America will open branches at 300 S. Wacker Drive and in its new local headquarters, under construction, at 110 N. Wacker Drive. Also in the works are branches in the South Loop at 1250 S. Michigan Ave. and near the Loyola bookstore by the Water Tower. And a new branch is coming on the city’s western border with southwest suburban Evergreen Park.

Bank of America already has a presence in 1250 S. Michigan as we wrote about in October of last year.  That being said, this article makes it seem like they're expanding.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ominous Signs Show Up on Door of The Lobo Canteen (1307 S. Wabash) and Readers Are Pondering Why

We've received a lot of emails asking what's up with The Lobo Canteen at 1307 S. Wabash.  We don't know what is going on, but wanted to include a reader's note:
Is this another south loop casualty? It never really found its footing and was never that good to be honest.

It baffles me with the amount of foot traffic that has occurred in this neighborhood over the past couple of years, that we can’t seem to land any quality restaurants.

What does the West Loop have that we don’t??
In our opinion, at this stage the West Loop and South Loop are very different neighborhoods.  Yes, we share proximity to the Loop (hence each neighborhoods name), but outside of that the two neighborhoods have taken divergent paths.  We actually wrote about this on the back of a Crain's article in January.  While the West Loop has a bustling food and nightlife scene it doesn't have the same access to some of Chicago's most revered cultural and natural resources (Grant Park, Museums, Lake Michigan, etc). 

Anyway, the reader is specifically talking about quality restaurants.  This has been a heavily debated question since we've been in the Sloop (since 2008!).  One could argue that there are quality restaurants - Acadia, South Coast, Cafe Bionda, Kurah, Sociale, Umai, Half Sour, Mercat - to name a few that come to mind.

One hypothesis we have is that the South Loop's restaurant and nightlife scene isn't clustered and as a result doesn't feel like it exists.  If you look to the West Loop - "restaurant row" on Randolph helped brand that neighborhood as a dinning destination.  Over time, the neighborhood organically grew from there and now is what it is.  A similar phenomenon could be explained in some other neighborhoods (division street and North/Milwaukee in Wicker Park or even Rush street awhile back in the Gold Coast for example).

The closest we have to that in the Sloop is the 1300 block of Wabash (which as we see above has had a spotty run with "quality" restaurants) and Printer's Row.  In our opinion, Printer's Row has the most promise given it's unique feel and it's orientation within the city grid - how Dearborn Station beautifully looms over the intersection of Polk and Dearborn.  If one or two - quality/unique restaurants setup shop in that area - ideally on Dearborn we could see that strip continue to takeoff.

Any other theories?