Friday, May 27, 2016

Concerns About Concert Noise Level at Solider Field

A reader writes:
Not sure how to post this but I am concerned about the noise level of the upcoming Beyoncé concert this Friday and Saturday night.  The last time she was here, music did not stop until 1am! It was ridiculous. Not sure if there are others that are concerned. Wondering if calling the Alderman is the best course of action. 
Also, we have had our sleep interrupted by drag racers, that use the empty area off on 18th street (lot closet the train tracks) are there others that experience this disruption. 
My neighbors and myself are concerned. Any thoughts?


We're pretty sure there are pretty tight ordinances on how long concerts can last (if that's what you're referring to).  It would shock us if Beyonce actually played until 1pm.  What wouldn't shock us is if the crowd lingered and played music late.

We like the queen b, but if you're concerned, our guess would be to try the alderman.  You could try the cops, but from our experience the alderman tends to be more receptive to this type of concern and might be able to put more pressure on the cops.

(Hat tip:  CS!)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Board of Education Moves to Acquire Land at 16th and Dearborn for New South Loop Elementary School

A new South Loop Elementary School may be coming to this land
The big buzz this week in the Sloop was about a potential new elementary school coming to the neighborhood.  It still seemed in the preliminary stages, but apparently it's real thing and just took a big step forward (via DNAinfo):
South Loop Elementary School is getting a new building. 
The Chicago Board of Education moved Wednesday to buy and replace a vacant post office facility at 16th and Dearborn streets with a new building for South Loop Elementary School, one of the city's most overcrowded schools in one of its fastest-growing neighborhoods.

Seems like a great move and location.

First - this seems like it naturally will accelerate development further south in the neighborhood.

Second - it will likely be a new build out which in our mind means a new and nice (and dare we say state-of--the-art) school.

Obviously some questions exist.  How big will the school be?  What will be the boundaries?  What about a high school?  What will happen to the old South Loop elementary school?

We assume these questions have been discussed, so hopefully we will hear plans soon.

(Hat tip:  MK!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Question: What's Up With the Hoppin Rooftop Lounge at 700 Block of South LaSalle

A reader writes:
I am super curious about a rooftop lounge or party room that is atop one of the buildings on the 700 block S. La Salle Street. They built it at some point within the last year and put in a bluish light installment on the rooftop space. In the past few days I can also see that they have a fire pit out there too. I live across the way, and so I can see this from my window. I have to admit I am a little jealous, because it looks like an awesome space. I am just trying to determine if this is a private space, or is it for all the residents of the building. I really would love to know. Perhaps I can even hustle up an invitation. It looks like a glorious space to spend some summer nights. Any chance you can dig up any details?
Could this be a college dorm?  Anyone have any ideas?

(Hat tip:  KS!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rahm Promises New Elementary School for the Sloop?

In more major news, it sounds like we might be getting the much needed new school (via WBEZ.org):
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising that the South Loop area of Chicago will get a new elementary school. 
WBEZ has learned that Emanuel called a small group of South Loop residents into a meeting with city officials. In the meeting, he outlined plans to build a new elementary school for 1200 students.

He presented a timeline and said the city was working on purchasing property for the new school. The new school would not be open for at least two years, according to multiple sources. 
The current South Loop elementary school is the 10th most overcrowded in the district and the South Loop neighborhood is among the fastest growing in Chicago, according to CPS and the U.S. Census. 

DNAinfo.com added this nugget of information:
Neighbors had pegged a new school at the top of their wish list for a new neighborhood a developer plans for a 62-acre riverfront tract at Clark and Roosevelt streets, but Emanuel reportedly told neighbors the city will buy the land for the new school, indicating the new elementary school won't be built there. The new school's cost or funding source has also yet to be shared, according to the report.

So if not there, then where?

Maybe the parking lot south of Soldier Field.  Bad joke and probably too soon...

In all seriousness, where do you think this could be coming?  Doesn't seem like there is much vacant space north of Roosevelt, so we would assume it would be south of Roosevelt somewhere.

Anyway, definitely good piece of news to start the week.

Some will probably argue that a local high school is more needed at this point.  What do you think?

(Hat tip:  ND, TP, MK!)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Kamin: New Plan for Old Post Office Provides Optimism

Last week news came down on the sale of the massive and dilapidated post-office.  While this was welcomed information for people who want to see this building used, it was also met with skepticism given that this property has been one of the city's biggest real estate quagmires for decades.

Luckily, Blair Kamin, our authority for any opinions regarding development/architecture, thinks this new sale and plan has the best shot of actually happening (via Chicago Tribune):
After years of cockamamie plans for reviving the moribund hulk of the old Chicago post office, a sound proposal finally has emerged to revive the building. Yet nothing is ever easy at this star-crossed site, which forms a western gateway to downtown.  
As the Tribune's Kim Janssen has reported, the former owner of the old post office, the eccentric British multimillionaire Bill Davies, died five days before the riverfront building was sold to New York-based 601W Cos. Hmm.  
Could Davies' heirs slow or block 601W's planned $500 million redevelopment by contesting the sale in court? Probably not. Davies bought the parcel for $24 million and it sold for $130 million. There appears to be no financial incentive for the heirs to get in the way.  
Absent such a spat, the new post office plan, which calls for transforming the building into office space, could deliver something other than eyesores and pipe dreams. Davies specialized in the latter.
He goes on to provide some additional thoughts on why this new plan is a promising one:
There's good reason to think that 601W is up to the task of converting the old post office to a home for start-ups as well as suburban firms in search of urban digs.  
The firm is already a serious player in Chicago. It owns the Aon Center, the city's third-tallest building. But its chief calling card for the post office is its rehab and reinvention of Manhattan's Starrett-Lehigh Building, a streamlined 1931 industrial structure that is a landmark of modern architecture. The massive, once-derelict building is now home to such A-list tenants as Martha Stewart's media company.  
Further inspiring confidence is 601W's hiring of the Chicago office of Gensler architects, the firm that designed 1871 and the Ward catalog building conversion.  
Grant Uhlir, Gensler's Chicago managing director, lists mileposts on the road to renewal: repairing the post office's limestone and brick exterior; removing asbestos from the interior; and clearing out internal infrastructure, including chutes and ladders, that once moved the mail. He also envisions a restoration of the building's Van Buren lobby, a grandly scaled space whose walls are covered in marble. The bells and whistles include a 3-acre rooftop park.
While the plan might not seem that interesting to the lay observer (consider us in this camp), it does seem practical - which frankly seems necesarry to make this a success.

Better yet, couple this with the other massive development proposals being considered for this stretch of the Sloop (see CMK's Riverline and Related's plans for the 62 acres south of Roosevelt) and it's easy to get excited about what this area might look like in the next 10 to 20 years.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Huff & Puff

A reader writes:
I'll Huff and I'll Puff

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dental Office Apparently Being Built at 1620 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Appears a new medical/dental office will be coming to 1620 S Michigan Ave where the storage units use to reside.
Maybe not the most exciting type of retail but sure beats storage units.

(Hat tip:  SM!)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Uses Related Development to Tout Potential Initiative for Struggling Neighborhoods

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is optimistic about the big real estate announcement last week that Related Midwest was going to develop the 62 acres of land south of Roosevelt east of the Chicago River:
So the Related Midwest project is welcome news — a green shoot emerging from a crumbling rail yard. A new beginning near a city center. How often do cities get to plan brand-new neighborhoods? We hope imaginations run wild, with functions and forms that Chicago — that the urban world — hasn't seen elsewhere.

But they used the big news to tout an interesting proposal being floated by Rahm:
Yet the massive project won't perk up Austin on the West Side or Auburn Gresham on the South Side. To focus Chicago's attention on those realms, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Andrea Zopp — former U.S. Senate candidate, Chicago Urban League president and federal prosecutor — as his deputy mayor overseeing neighborhood revitalization. 
Emanuel's City Hall also is working on an initiative aldermen could vote on as early as Wednesday. The program would create a special pot of money funded by downtown developers that would be directed toward these struggling neighborhoods. In exchange for paying into the fund, developers would get relaxed rules on the density and size of their projects. Want more square footage in your River North project than current zoning laws allow? Chip in for new sidewalks or lighting along a dilapidated stretch of 79th Street. Contribute toward a job-training program. Help clean up a brownfield.
Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Popular Chinatown Restauranteur Please Guilty to Felony Fraud and Money Laudnering

Tony Hu, the owner of popular Lao Sze Chuan in Chinatown, plead guilty on Monday in Federal Court (via Chicago Tribune):
Four years ago, renowned Chicago restaurateur and chef Tony Hu boasted to the Tribune that his empire of Chinese restaurants would someday be big enough to earn a spot on the New York Stock Exchange.  
But in federal court Monday, the man nicknamed "Mayor of Chinatown" for his business and political prowess saw his stock sink to an all-time low.  
In a raspy voice, Hu, 48, whose given name is Hu Xiaojun, pleaded guilty to felony fraud and money laundering charges alleging he hid more than $10 million in cash receipts at nine of his restaurants to skirt paying $1.1 million in sales taxes to Illinois.  
Hu faces from probation up to 51 months in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 22 by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. He also agreed to pay restitution of $1,087,000 to Illinois.

Not sure what this means for his restaurants, but hopefully they're staying open - regardless of the tax things they are pretty damn good.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lucas Museum in Talks with San Francisco About Treasure Island Location

We've heard that George Lucas was considering other cities for his museum as the plan for the Chicago lakefront has hit some snags.  Yesterday those rumors became more serious (via Chicago Tribune):
San Francisco is making another case for "Star Wars" creator George Lucas to build his museum on the West Coast, floating an alternative site with potentially far fewer hurdles.  
Aaron Peskin, a San Francisco supervisor, confirmed Sunday afternoon that preliminary discussions between the city and representatives of Lucas' museum have taken place over a site at Treasure Island, a landfill turned naval base that is now under redevelopment after being decommissioned.

So yeah, looks more and more likely that the museum won't be coming to the Sloop/Museum Campus.

We imagine it's not over yet, but everyday seems less likely for Chicago.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Old-Post Office Sold To Investment Group; Plans Call for Offices and Various Other Amenities

In case you missed this on Friday, another huge real estate story (via Chicago Tribune):
Plans to buy and redevelop the empty and crumbling post office on the western entrance to downtown Chicago were finalized Thursday, the city said in a statement. 
The building that straddles Congress Parkway was bought by investment group 601W Cos., which will undertake a $500 million redevelopment plan, according to the release. 
Plans for the building, vacant since the mid-1990s, are for offices with a three-acre rooftop park complex, outdoor cafes, events space and a sports and fitness center. The building's riverfront space will include a riverwalk and a grand plaza that has outdoor dining, according to the release.
While maybe not as spectacular as some of the other plans that were historically floated (see 120 story high-rise from 2011) for this building, it does seem like progress.

This story also has a really strange twist as the former owner, Bill Davies, apparently passed away the next day (via Chicago Tribune):
Just a day after City Hall announced that Bill Davies' company relinquished control of Chicago's massive old main post office building, a representative for the 82-year-old Brit said the eccentric entrepreneur has died.  
Davies — who touted several proposals to redevelop the crumbling building on the western entrance to downtown Chicago after buying the property at auction for $24 million in 2009 — died after "a short illness," according to Sue Sadler, who acts as a spokeswoman for Davies' company, International Property Developers. City Hall announced the post office deal to the media about 7 p.m. Thursday.  
Sadler's email announcing Davies' death was sent shortly after 10 a.m. Friday. But no one involved in the sale of the post office building to New York-based 601W Cos. could say — or would say — on Friday evening whether Davies, known for controlling every aspect of his business, was alive when the deal was concluded.
Anyway, the new plans for the building will require various stages of renovation and construction with leasing slated to begin in 2018.  So we got some time on this one...

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
Penthouse Living in a 3bd/2bth

We think it's safe to say that open house season is upon us.  There are a lot of interesting spots to check out, but this week a 3bd/2bth penthouse unit at 1322 S. Wabash grabbed our attention.

It ain't cheap ($650K), but then again it ain't your cookie cutter condo unit.   Besides being a penthouse, the unit is highly upgraded and looks to be in phenomenal condition.  It's spacious and has solid unobstructed views.

Below is a picture of the great living space. We'd highly suggest peeping the other pictures here.  

The unit comes with one parking spot and the home owners association fees register in at $716/month.

Head on over to check-out the spot on either this Saturday (11-12:30pm) or Sunday (1-2:30pm).

Friday, May 13, 2016

Time To Think About 2016 Outdoor Concerts

Ah, summer in Chicago - a lovely time (a boy can dream, right)!  What's even better?  A lovely Chicago summer night plus some amazing music.

The good peeps at Thrillist recently listed out all of the outdoor concerts (currently) slated for our summer.  It doesn't include Lola or Taste of Chicago Music Lineup, but it does include venues like Wrigley Field, Ravina and such.

For us Sloopsters, we've simplified down to venues in the Sloop (or very very close).

MAY
  • MAY 27 Fri Beyoncé The Formation World Tour - Soldier Field 
  • MAY 28 Sat Beyoncé The Formation World Tour - Soldier Field 

JUNE
  • JUNE 2 Thurs Chris Stapleton Kentucky comes to Chicago - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion 
  • JUNE 3 Fri Taste of Chaos Tour w/ Dashboard Confessional, Taking - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JUNE 6 Mon Blonde Redhead w/ Ryley Walker - Millennium Park 
  • BEST FREE SHOW:  JUNE 9 Thurs Lee Fields & the Expressions - Millennium Park  
  • JUNE 11 Sat Steely Dan w/ Steve Winwood - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion 
  • JUNE 13 Mon Rodrigo Amarante - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 15 Wed Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 16 Thurs Nneka Nigerian - Millennium Park 
  • JUNE 17 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 18 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • BEST CHANCE FOR A CHUCKLE:  JUNE 19 Sun Flight of the Conchords - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 20 Mon DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 22 Wed Storm Large w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 23 Thurs Maceo Parker Funky! - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 23 Thurs Bad Company & Joe Walsh - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JUNE 24 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JUNE 25 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 27 Mon Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JUNE 29 Wed Juho Pohjonen w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park

JULY
  • MOST INTERESTING STADIUM SHOW:  JULY 1 Fri Guns N’ Roses - Soldier Field
  • JULY 1 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JULY 2 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JULY 2 Sat Modest Mouse w/ Brand New - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JULY 4 Mon National Youth Choir of Scotland w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JULY 6 Wed Grant Park Orchestra (live soundtrack to silent film City Lights) - Millennium Park
  • JULY 8 Fri 311 w/ Matisyahu - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JULY 8 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JULY 9 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JULY 11 Mon Femi Kuti + the Positive Force w/ ProbCause - Millennium Park
  • JULY 13 Wed Rachel Barton Pine w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JULY 14 Thurs Azymuth w/ Sidewalk Chalk - Millennium Park
  • JULY 15 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JULY 16 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JULY 16 Sat Gregg Allman w/ Peter Frampton, Blackberry Smoke, and Eddy Clearwater - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JULY 17 Sun Sublime w/ Rome, Dirty Heads, and Tribal Seeds - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JULY 18 Mon King Sunny Adé - Millennium Park
  • JULY 19 Tues Heart w/ Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • BEST CHANCE TO ROCK:  JULY 20 Wed AWOLNATION w/ Death From Above 1979 - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JULY 20 Wed Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JULY 21 Thurs Bryan Adams - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion 
  • JULY 21 Thurs Heritage Blues Orchestra Millennium Park
  • JULY 22 Fri Marin Alsop w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JULY 23 Sat Marin Alsop w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • JULY 23 Sat Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams Tour - Soldier Field 
  • JULY 24 Sun Coldplay A Head Full of Dreams Tour - Soldier Field 
  • JULY 24 Sun Grant Park Orchestra - Columbus Park Refectory
  • JULY 25 Mon The Jones Family Singers - Millennium Park
  • JULY 26 Tues Goo Goo Dolls w/ Collective Soul - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • JULY 27 Wed Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • JULY 31 Sun Dirk Quinn Band - Navy Pier 

AUGUST
  • AUG 1 Mon José González w/ Tall Heights - Millennium Park
  • AUG 3 Wed Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • AUG 4 Thurs Sinkane - Millennium Park
  • AUG 5 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • AUG 6 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • AUG 6 Sat Ray LaMontagne - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • AUG 9 Tues Josh Groban w/ Sarah McLachlan - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • AUG 10 Wed Christian Poltéra w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • AUG 11 Thurs Mbongwana Star - Millennium Park
  • AUG 12 Fri Kirill Gerstein w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • AUG 13 Sat Kirill Gerstein w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • AUG 16 Tues Carnival of Madness w/ Shinedown, Halestorm, and Black Stone Cherry - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
  • AUG 17 Wed Christian Tetzlaff w/ Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • AUG 18 Thurs Elephant Revival The quintet - Millennium Park  
  • AUG 19 Fri Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park
  • AUG 20 Sat Grant Park Orchestra - Millennium Park 
  • MOST ANTICIPATED:  AUG 21 Sun Wilco - Millennium Park 
  • AUG 24 Wed Counting Crows & Rob Thomas  - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion 
  • AUG 25 Thurs Homme - Millennium Park

SEPTEMBER
  • SEPT 7 Wed Andrew Bird - Millennium Park