Friday, October 24, 2014

Windy City RE LLC Going on Motor Row Buying Spree

2210-2212 S. Michigan
Via Crains:
Windy City RE LLC is going as long as anyone is on Motor Row, teeing up a spate of acquisitions in the area next to McCormick Place. 
The Chicago-based firm is acquiring around 70,000 square feet of mostly vacant commercial properties and an empty lot near the massive convention center, betting the city's investments in a stadium for DePaul University, new hotels and a new stop on the Green Line at Cermak Road and State Street will allow it to find tenants to fill up the buildings. 
“We're trying to do what the Friedmans did in River North,” said Windy City Partner Milan Rubenstein, refering to Friedman Properties Ltd., which gobbled up properties in the neighborhood over many years, before it became hot.
If you've got the money, it seems like a good investment to us.  Yes, things are slow in and around Motor Row, but it's going to has to, right?  We've been saying this since we moved down to the Sloop in 2008...sigh.

Anyway, here is a list of the properties Windy City RE LLC has bought or are in the process of buying (via Crains):

  • 2210-2212 S. Michigan Ave 
  • 2216 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • 2244 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • 2112 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • 2241-2245 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • 1449 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • 2012-2036 S. Michigan Ave. 
  • 2001 S. State St. 
  • 2000 S. Wabash Ave.

Seems like a nice little "monopoly" stretch they're acquiring.

(Hat tip:  TOC!)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Golub & Company Get Permits for 40 Story Tower at 1001 South State

Image from Curbed Chicago
Back in September we posted about a residential building finally moving forward at the southeast corner of 9th and State.  Well if you had doubts, more "official" things are happening to progress this project (via Curbed Chicago):
Back in November 2011, the company announced that it would build a 35 story tower on a site that was at the time a city owned property, however there was no movement on the project until this past September when the property was surrounded by fences and signs indicating that the parking lot had been closed. This led us and others to wonder if the project was finally moving forward. However, the mystery was finally solved yesterday when the city issued a construction permit to the developer to build a 397 unit, 40 story tower at 1001 S. State Street.
There still seems to be some uncertainty on what the final building will look like.

Anyway, another one of the vacant lots in the neighborhood is being developed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

String of Burglaries Hit South Loop on Wabash

We've had some issues in our building on South Michigan, so figured it's worth posting about this we just saw (via Sun-times):
Police are investigating five recent burglaries on South Wabash in the South Loop neighborhood.  
The suspect or suspects breaks into residences while tenants are not home and takes various items, Area Central detectives said.  
Two robberies happened Oct. 7 in the 1900 block of South Wabash Avenue, one in the daytime hours between 8:15 a.m. and 6 p.m. and another between 7:45 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., police said.  
Three more burglaries happened in the 1300 block of South Wabash Avenue, police said. Two happened during the daytime on Oct. 8, while a third happened sometime in the week between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14.

Owners should keep their properties well lit and report any suspicious activity to police.  
Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to call Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8384.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Curbed Chicago: Prepare Yourself For a Sponge-Like Lucas Museum

top left: Absolute Towers photo by Iwan Baan,
bottom left: Ordos Museum photo by Iwan Baan 
Image from Curbed Chicago
The Lucas Museum continues to get a lot of attention around the city and the interwebs. Real estate/architecture blog, Curbed Chicago is preparing us for an unusual structure for the Lucas Museum:
While we wait for designs from Beijing's MAD Architects, we're left to interpret vague hints about the design from Lucas himself and to infer from MAD's portfolio of work. We've tried to be subtle about it, but we think it's important to get used to the idea of an... unusual look for the building now, because we have a feeling that when the general public actually sees this thing there's going to be a minor whirlwind of shock and indignance from people who are already skeptical about a George Lucas museum. At Chicago Ideas Week, George Lucas spoke with Charlie Rose a bit about the forthcoming design, and Lucas said it's "going to be organic architecture" and that it's going to look like a living thing, "like a sponge." If you ask us, that sounds a lot more like MAD's Ordos Museum design, than the neoclassical rectangles the average Chicagoan might think of as standard-issue museum design.
Whatever it ends up being, it seems like it will be unique.  We're pretty excited, but also strangely nervous about this new museum.  Yes, we have problems.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gymboree Play & Music Center Closes at 600 W. Roosevelt

A reader writes:
I haven't seen this yet on Sloopin (sorry if I missed it completely), but I have been having a hard time getting in touch with Gymboree. Finally this weekend I tried to call the one in North & Clybourn and in Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park's Gymboree confirmed that the two Gymboree's (our Roosevelt location and the North & Clybourn location) have shut down. I'm sorry to hear it, although I admit, it was a little difficult sometimes to get to via public transportation!
Seems kinda strange, but it does seem like the retail on and around Roosevelt west of the river is changing.  It was a strange mix of mom and pop stores that seemed dated.  Now it seems like big box retailers are moving in quickly.

However, it seems like Gymboree would fit into this newer mix (granted we have no clue who the target market is for Gymboree).

Anyway, business counter is updated with this closing.

(Hat tip:  VH!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

18th Street Metra Stop Gets Some Much Needed Love

A reader writes:
The 18th Street Metra Stop is in rough shape. Old, weak wood and rusty nails. Well... Metra is sprucing it up! It should - the Electric Line and the 18th Street Stop gets a lot of use on game days. And more South Loop residents are catching on that it is a great way to zoom to work in Hyde Park or the Loop. 10 minutes to Millennium Station. Zone A rides are under $2.75, so comparable to CTA (which is $2.25). 
By the way... The morning trains North to the Loop from 18th are at 7:42am, 8:23am and 9:42am. Access the stop via the foot bridge off of Calumet Metra told me they'd add more Flag stops if Sloopers show demand is there and email them at 
Pictures attached (bird's eye view from the Tic Tac Toe towers): full platform on game day + empty while they replace boards - snapped this morning Oct 11. I also threw in a shot of the new bus drop off space the City added two weeks ago. It is accessible from the service drive, which hopefully means less party busses clogging Prairie District surface streets during Soldier Field events.

This seems like smart, collaborative transit and pedestrian planning. 
Kudos to the City, to Metra, and to Sloopers for teaming up! The South Loop just keeps getting better...
(Hat tip: SLV!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More Evidence that Aurelio's is Actually Coming to the Sloop

OK.  This might not surprise anyone, but a reader recently sent us this picture officially promoting that Aurelio's is opening at the southwest corner of Michigan and Roosevelt:

Last we heard they were shooting for an opening date of January 2015.  Hopefully that's still the case.

Since we're focused on the corner of Michigan and Roosevelt, it also looks like something with a bar buildout is also happening at the northwest corner in the Columbian building.  We officially saw it with our own eyes.  I SEEN IT!!!!  Again all signs point to the Burger Bar.

(Hat tip:  HS!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peregrine Falcon Having a Snack at 5 E. 14th Place

Could it be Sloopy?
You'd posted a shot I'd gotten of a peregrine from a distance a while ago (a year or two?); couldn't believe my luck with the picture I got today...from my couch...maybe 30 minutes after reading about the Chicago Peregrine Program in the Field Museum 'in the Field' member magazine. This is from the 5 E. 14th Place building. Feel free to use one if you'd like :)
So here is the post the reader was referencing from 2012.

Anyway it's probably not Sloopy the falcon unfortunately.

If you recall we've had various posts on the topic of Peregrine Falcons here at Sloopin.  Back in 2009, Field Museum employee Stephanie Ware asked our readers to help spot some mysterious Peregrine's that were flying around the neighborhood.

Then in 2010 some of the flacons came back and were nesting on the top of 1130 S. Michigan.  Later we found out that since we helped the Field Museum locate some of the falcons they actually named a baby SLOOPY!  Yes, a Peregrine Falcon named Sloopy!

Ironically, SLOOPY doesn't live in the Sloop.  She actually lives in Indiana now (from the Field Museum website):
“Sloopy” (b/r, 06/E) a female produced in 2009 at the Broadway site in Chicago, Illinois. Sloopy paired with an unbanded male at the Inland Steel lime plant (Mittal Steel, Indiana Harbor East) in East Chicago, Indiana. This was Sloopy’s second year at the site. Raul Dominguez checked the nest box on 3/26 and found a banded adult present in box but no eggs observed. There were four eggs on 4/20 and 4/26. The adult was still incubating on 5/2. Two chicks and one egg were reported on 5/6. At least three chicks (probably 4) were seen on 5/9. Four chicks (3f,1m) were banded on 5/22. They fledged by mid-June.
Since then we've had various other posts.  Here is one from 2011 looking west.  Most recently we received an amazing pic from a Related Real Estate agent of one of the falcons perched on a high-rise on Roosevelt Road with an amazing view in the background:

If this has wet your appetite for more info, here is a Peregrine Falcon facebook page as well as a website about the Field Museum's program.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October is Customer Appreciation Month at Chicago Oyster House (1933 S. Indiana); Get Complimentary $10 Gift Card

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1st Public Meeting Being Held Today to Discuss Transportation Ideas to Improve Museum Campus

DNAinfo has an article about the desire to create a new Museum Campus Transit Plan to improve access to/from many of the destinations:
The Chicago Park District and the Metropolitan Planning Council are seeking ideas from the public on how to "rebrand Museum Campus as its own destination" at a public meeting Tuesday, Grant Park Conservancy President Bob O'Neill said. 
The goal is to "to come up with a framework plan for the whole Museum Campus" that coincides with construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts and a Jeanne Gang-designed bridge connecting Northerly Island to the museum mainland, O'Neill said.  
Tuesday's meeting is the start of a six-month planning process featuring multiple calls for ideas from the public. The open house from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday at 140 S. Dearborn St., Suite 1400, will focus specifically on transportation ideas for Museum Campus's overhaul.

As you may recall back in August, Mayor Emanuel announced his desire to improve what he called a "bottleneck" to and from the Museum Campus.

The city has launched a website to seek out ideas (website here).  While many of the suggestions would be improvements, nothing seems like a game changer.  Obviously this is just the first step in the process, but we're hoping for some vast improvements.

Wasn't it Rahm Emanuel who said "don't waste a good crisis".  Not sure if we would classify this as a crisis, but it does appear that our mayor is using the Lucas Museum as a way to fix the Museum Campus access "crisis".

Monday, October 13, 2014

Old Post Office Project Will Not Be Delivered - Going Back to the Drawing Board

Image from Curbed Chicago
The old, massive post office redevelopment project has hit another major snag (via Tribune):
Bill Davies' plans for the old post office, the behemoth concrete building that straddles the Eisenhower Expressway, were once compared to believing in unicorns and fairy tales. 
True to expectations, this story will not have a happy ending. Not after Crain's reported Wednesday that a plan to redevelop the building in a joint venture between the fast-growing Chicago developer Sterling Bay and Davies had fallen apart, and that Sterling Bay had offered Davies nearly $150 million for it. 
That would be at least $125 million more than he paid for it in 2009.
Davies' London-based representative Richard Sykes told me Wednesday that "a new, grand plan for the whole site" is in the works. He describes it as a "much clearer idea" of what would be the "best possible scenario."  
When might the world see an outline of this wonder?  
"Three to four weeks," Sykes said.

Don't hold your breath.

This building and the grand plans for it remain elusive.  Earlier this year it was rumored that Walgreens Co. (based in Deerfield) was kicking the tires on the building to see if it could serve as their headquarters.

Beyond that it's been rumored to be a prime site for the similarly elusive Chicago casino.

Stay tuned, this story isn't getting resolved anytime soon.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Recently on the Sloopin Message Board...

It's been a grip since we've posted about our message board!

If you're not familiar, it's intended to be a resource for community topics and pretty much anything else you can think of.  Anyway, here are some of the most recent topics that have been posted and discussed: