Friday, October 31, 2014

School of Art Institute Buys Large Lot at 609 S. State Street

The one remaining large vacant lot on south State street that's north of Roosevelt has a new owner, which points to some form of new building eventually (via Crains):
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's newest purchase isn't a masterpiece of the artistic canon, but something that's a bit more of a blank canvas.
SAIC, as the school is called, recently paid close to $24 million for a 56,000-square-foot parking lot at 609-673 S. State St., according to a person familiar with the deal. That's almost double the approximately $12.3 million its seller, a venture of Chicago real estate firm JRG Capital Partners LLC, paid for it two years ago, the person said.
SAIC plans a “new, purpose-built school building” on the site, it said in a statement posted to its website.
“The school has not yet identified when or precisely what it will build on the land, but in the short term, SAIC will benefit from the funds received while it remains a parking lot,” according to the statement, which did not specify the address of the acquisition.
As you may recall, at one point this lot was going to be a new YMCA headquarters but that was scrapped back in 2009.

The other currently vacant lot on this stretch (at 9th and State) appears to be moving forward with a plan to build a 30+ story a condo building.

Anyway, it doesn't sound like anything concrete is in the works for the School of Art Institute at this lot, but we will keep our ears open.

The Crains article also talks about how the South Loop has solidified itself as a key hub for students and schools:
The deal is yet another sign of how the South Loop has solidified itself as the key hub downtown for colleges and universities and the development projects that play off of them. 
A gaggle of schools, including Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University and others, operate classrooms and have students living in the area. 
More student- and college-fueled projects are on their way. Last week, Chicago developer CA Ventures LLC debuted a new student housing complex called Infinite Chicago at Jackson Boulevard and Wabash Avenue, a few blocks north of SAIC's new property. CA Ventures also is part of a group remaking the historic Old Colony building at Dearborn and Van Buren streets into student housing.  
Dennis McClendon, vice president of development and planning issues for South Loop Neighbors, a community rganization in the area, said it made sense for SAIC to buy the parking lot on State Street for a development. 
“There's no office market for that parcel. The residential market probably doesn't want to be right there, with a site backing up to the el,” he said, referring to the tracks on the east side of the parcel. “Institutional is kind of the perfect use for it, I think, from a real estate standpoint.”

Put It On Clothing Closing at 1319 S. Michigan

Judging by the sign in the window, it looks like Put It On Clothing is closing at 1319 S. Michigan.

It was a nice store, but never really seemed to be busy.

If you recall they opened in April of 2012.  Business Counter is up-to-date.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Could Soil Boring/Sampling at SE Corner of Roosevelt and Michigan Mean Something is Coming?

Rendering of New Building at SE Corner of Roosevelt and Michigan 
A reader writes:
I'm writing to report that soil boring/sampling is being conducted at the Michigan/Roosevelt lot owned by Crescent Heights today. Perhaps the speculation about this site is almost over.

Another reader sent a similar note:
Activity at SE Corner of Roosevelt and Michigan. Today there is a small crew with a mobile drill truck. They appear to be taking soil samples and measuring.

We caution everyone to not get too excited yet.  While this could mean a development is coming, it could also mean little.

For background, there has been a lot of speculation about this lot given it's high profile nature.  Back in 2013 some crazy renderings emerged at  Nothing really came to be, but again those renderings surfaced with some additional ones back in June of 2014 - which made it seem more feasible.

We even heard a rumor that the British School of Chicago was eyeing the lot for another location (however that seemed unlikely).

If anyone has anything additional to share please let us know.

It seems like we continue to hear rumors and see "signs" but usually nothing comes to be.

(Hat tip:  BZ and AS!)

South Side Weekly: A Nice Overview of the Sloop's Past, Current and Future

18th Street Pedestrian Bridge (via South Side Weekly - Juliet Eldred)
A good read on the current state of the Sloop via South Side Weekly - although we're slightly biased since I was interviewed (South Side Weekly):
The scene is peaceful, bucolic—it’s hard to believe that it unfolds just blocks from the pulsing commercial center of Chicago. The South Loop, or “Sloop,” as it is commonly called, stretches from the Stevenson Expressway to Congress Parkway and from the lake to the Chicago River. The area has seen waves of affluence and decades of desolation, high culture and heavy crime over the last century. In the past two years, after suffering through the 2008 housing crash, a tight-knit community has begun to spread its roots in the Sloop, reflecting a desire among Chicagoans to live, once again, in a commercial center.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Elephant Room Celebrates 5 Years in the Sloop and Looks to Expand Via IndieGoGo Campaign

Elephant Room, which is a small art gallery at 704 S. Wabash, always seems to have some interesting stuff inside.

It's a nice unique business to have in the neighborhood and they're trying to expand:
Dear Friends, 
We are excited to announce our plans for growth and expansion over the next year, but we need your help to make it happen! We have been operating out of a small gallery storefront in the South Loop for the past 5 years and we are excited about our new opportunities to exhibit in other spaces with dear friends and colleagues. The idea that we can exhibit artists and network all over the city is very exciting and will allow us to continue our mission to bring under-represented artists into the forefront in a more exciting, unique and mobile fashion. 
We have partnered with Fractured Atlas in order to raise the funds necessary to reach these goals and those of our artists through our current IndieGoGo Campaign. Please take a moment to view our video and detailed information here. Check out the perks we're offering as well! 
Thank you for taking the time to check out the campaign and for your support over the last 5 years. Let's keep this going for 5 more! 
Kimberly L. Atwood
co-owner/director of Elephant Room, Inc.

But don't worry...Kimberly confirmed the current space on South Wabash will continue to be the home base.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Yoga Six to Officially Open for Stretching at Roosevelt Collection Thursday, 10/30

Looks like Yoga Six is opening this week at Roosevelt Collection:
Wanted to let you know that Yoga six opens on October 27th for our soft opening and we are offering complimentary classes from Monday the 27th through Thursday October 30th!  
Our grand opening party is Thursday evening (30th) from 6:30-9:30pm.
This was announced back in April.

Business Counter is updated.

(Hat tip: JV!)

Monday, October 27, 2014

GSLA Hosts Event at Vice District Brewing to Discuss Museum Campus Transportation Study Task Force

If you're looking for something to do tonight, this would probably worth a good brew and a nice conversation on how to improve the Sloop:

What is "The Chicago Cultural Mile"?

Upon walking down Michigan Avenue recently just north of Roosevelt, we noticed a sign we haven't seen or just simply overlooked - it says "Welcome to the Chicago Cultural Mile".

While we've heard of this and even posted about the moniker once (back in February 2013), for some reason the signs surprised us.  Upon doing some digging on the interwebs we found the following from May 2014 (via NBCchicago):
A Chicago not-for-profit organization has transformed part of Michigan Avenue into what they’re calling the “Chicago Cultural Mile” to recognize cultural institutions and historic buildings along the stretch.  
The Cultural Mile starts at the Chicago River and extends south to Roosevelt Road and east to the Museum Campus. On a map, it appears to be an extension of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, which begins at Oak Street and ends at the river.  
Bronze signs announcing the boundaries of the Cultural Mile will be placed in medians on Michigan Avenue at Wacker Drive and Roosevelt Road this month. Owners of buildings along that stretch will also be provided with flags bearing the name “Chicago Cultural Mile” to hang from their buildings.
Seems like a nice idea to us and there surely is reason to tout all of the things on this stretch.  Frankly, all of the parks and museums along this stretch are some of the best things about Chicago.

It also seems to us that more and more interesting things are happening on Michigan Ave south of the River.  We give a ton of credit to Millennium Park and all of the tourists and people it has brought to this stretch.  Seems like the "Cultural Mile" is trending upwards.

There is even a website with background and news as well as the map above.

Anyway, it's nice to see the Sloop's stretch of Michigan Avenue get some much warranted love.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Meet Missy, a 2-Year-Old Lab Mix

Sloopin is proud to work with The Anti-Cruelty Society and the PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center (EAC) in the South Loop (1101 S. Canal) to help bring awareness to their adoption program.  Every month we will be posting about a local animal who could use a home.

This week please meet Missy:
Say hello to Missy! Missy is a very sweet 2-year-old lab mix.  When she first arrived at the Everyday Adoption Center, she was slightly worried and reserved. Her new family should expect to give her the time and patience she needs to become comfortable in her new home. When Missy feels at home, she opens up and shows her true and playful personality! She absolutely loves romping around with her doggy friends, and receiving belly rubs and affection from her human friends. If you have the time to give this pretty petite lady, than stop on in and meet Missy! She's patiently waiting for you!

The EAC has room for 42 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. The 2,075 square foot facility includes kennels for dogs of all sizes, a cat adoption center, play areas for dogs waiting to find a home and an area for adopters and pets to hold meet-and-greets. More info on the EAC and the animals available can be found here.

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.