Thursday, July 27, 2017

Appears that Consignment Store Lofty Aspirations Closes at 1934 S. Wabash

A reader writes:
Walked by yesterday and there are for lease signs in the Lofty Aspirations window at 1934 S Wabash Ave. Looks like all the merchandise is gone too. Minus one on the counter... :-(
We've updated the business counter.

(Hat tip:  KS!)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

WNBA's Chicago Sky Moving to the Wintrust Arena in the Sloop

Seems like a good move for the city and the Sky (via Crains):
Chicago's WNBA team is coming back to the city.
After an eight-year run playing its home games at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, the Chicago Sky will move to newly built Wintrust Arena next to McCormick Place, beginning with the 2018 season.

The Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, which owns and operates the new 10,387-seat home of DePaul University basketball, today approved a new five-year contract with the WNBA franchise to play its 17 home games each season at the Near South Side stadium.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Art of Pizza Coming to 727 S. State (Old Toppers Pizza Space)

Looks like we're getting another Pizza Spot:
New South Loop Pizza Place: Art of Pizza: In summary, in the South Loop location (Polk and State) where about one year old Topper's Pizza recently closed, another pizza place named "Art of Pizza" appears to be moving in (see pics).
My initial feeling is that it's ridiculous for another Pizza place to move in given that it is between 2 other pizza restaurants within about a block including popular Lou Malnati's. This is especially true since Topper's Pizza was at the location for about a year and opening that store may have been the "last straw" resulting in Topper's closing. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who initially agreed with me. He asked me the name of the new Pizza place and I said "Art of Pizza". His tune changed dramatically and informed me that "Art of Pizza" has phenomenal inexpensive pizza, had great reviews of their pizza, and the "Art of Pizza" other location on Ashland is a cash cow. Please note my friend is in the "glass" business (fixes broken storefront windows and the like) and knows and has done work for the owner of "Art of Pizza" but is honest and does not have an agenda!!
We echo the readers sentiment.  Seems excessive, but we'll see.  It does look like they have pretty high yelp score.

As a reminder Toppers Pizza closed at this location in February amid the franchise closing up shop.

Any thoughts on this one?

(Hat tip:  NR!)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pokemon Go Fans Invade Grant Park and Sloop

Sounds like this past Saturday's Pokemon Go event in Grant Park didn't go so well (via Sun Times):
Grant Park was overrun Saturday with thousands of people who came out for Chicago’s Pokemon Go Fest, but technical glitches marred the proceedings, held to celebrate the popular game’s one-year anniversary.
“I know that some of you guys have had trouble getting logged on this morning, and I wanted to let you know that we’re working with the cell companies — AT&T, Sprint, Verizon — trying to get that worked out,” John Hanke, the chief executive officer of Niantic, Inc., which released Pokemon Go in July 2016, told the crowd at the lakefront park.
As a result it sounds like the neighborhood got influx of players:
Because of the problems, organizers allowed players to leave the park and still be able to find the rare Pokemon creatures that were supposed to be available only there. The boundaries were expanded to a two-mile radius that’s now supposed to be in effect through Monday morning. 
After that announcement, some left the park and could be seen wandering around the South Loop, gazing at their phones as they played the game.

Anyone notice this?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bulldog Ale House Opening Today?

A reader tips us on a potential opening:
I don't know if this will happen but I had emailed Bulldog Ale House to ask when they were opening and this was their reply. Having been by there Tuesday I don't know if they can make it by Friday but that was the goal.
Hi there thanks for reaching out. We are tentatively expecting to open Friday. See you there!
I guess we will see.  Regardless, good to see they're getting close.

If anyone goes to check it out, let us know.

(Hat tip:  PS!)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Render Reveals for Single Family Home (w/ Retail Space) at Dearborn/Polk

Rendering reveal for the single family home structure coming to the northeast corner of Dearborn/Polk in Priners Row (via Curbed):
An empty lot at the northeast corner of Dearborn and Polk in Chicago’s Printer’s Row is the site of a new mixed-use project from owner/architect Chris Talsma. Co-founder of Filoramo Talsma Architects, the designer recently landed a construction permit for a new four-story building containing ground floor commercial space topped by his personal single family residence.

As a reminder we first heard about this on May 30th when a reader sent us an email with this tip.  It appears it's definitely happening.  If you've been to this intersection you can already see the site prepping for the construction.

(Hat tip:  SC!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon Closed?

Lots of readers sending us some notes:
Called today to try and place a carry out order, no answer. 
Stopped by and they had paper in the windows??
We stopped by and saw the same thing:

As a reminder Belly Up opened in January of 2017 and we were pretty excited!

Anyone have any details on what's going on?  Having to endure major construction next door probably isn't easy on a restaurant.

(Hat tip:  NH, JH, TR, BD!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Kids Reading Room Opens at Harold Washington Library

As someone with a child who has been to the new library we can attest this is good (via Time Out Chicago):
Chicago just made an excellent investment in the future of the city. The Hughes Children’s Library at Harold Washington Library Center just got a massive makeover, making it a 24,000 square foot, 21st-century learner experience center. The South Loop flagship CPL location now boasts a whole host of activities aimed to encourage STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning for children under 13.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hax & Gordo's Officially Open Today!
Help Us Update our 2017 Business Counter

We have official word from one of the Hax/Gordo's owner that today is the official opening date for both spots (733 S. Dearborn and 729 S. Dearborn respectively):
Gordo's Ice Cream Bar
Hax will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “We want to create a hang-out space where locals, students, Bears fans, and tourists alike can come together around good food & drink and enjoy each other’s company.” Says Hebson. Hax will also serve coffee, hand-spun shakes, and homemade pies. The Grand Opening party will feature a jazz band, the Willy Blair Trio, $3 Mai Tais, and free homemade pickles. “The pickles are actually free every day.” Says Hebson. “We just leave them out and let people help themselves.”  
Hax sister restaurant, Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream Bars, located next door with a pass-thru to Hax, will also be open. In addition to customizable ice cream bars, Gordo’s serves homemade churros, expresso, lattes, and homemade desserts.
Now that we have official word of this opening, we've taken the opportunity to go back to our 2017 Business Counter and scrubbed it to ensure it's accurate (to the best of our knowledge).

A variety of doctor offices have opened on Michigan - Weissbluth Pediatrics (1471 S. Michigan),  EZ Dental (1466 S. Michigan) and Brighter Dental of South Loop (1620 S. Michigan).

Readers!  Can you help us out and let us know if we missed something?  Additionally, below is our list of potential businesses - can you help vet to ensure it's accurate?  Are any of these dead (like Blu Dog Stay Play spa)?
• Blu Dog Stay Play Spa (2000 S. Wabash)
• Jamaica Jerk Villa (2216 S. Michigan)
•  Reflexology Foot Parlor (1319 S. Michigan)
• TBD Salon (705 S. Dearborn)
• Pin me up (2411 S. Michigan)
 Natural Girl (1547 S. State)
• Big Shoulders Chicago (1449 S. Michigan)
• Rosebud's Artist's Cafe (1150 S. Wabash)
• The Vault (1325 S. Michigan)
• Bulldog AleHouse (910 S. State)
• World of Beer (250 W. Roosevelt)
• M Vie (TBD)
• Title Boxing (250 W. Roosevelt)
 TBD tattoo Parlor  (2008 S. Prairie)
• TBD Asian Restaurant (1234 S. Michigan)
• Lobo Rey (1307 S. Wabash)
• TBD Ramen Spot (1303 S. Michigan)
• TBD Deli Spot (755 S. Clark)
• Cycmode (1333 S. Wabash)
• TBD Medical Services Business (41 W. Congress)
• Athletico (State & Harrison)
• Himalayan Express (606 S. State)
• Royal Puppies (Cullerton and Wabash)

(Hat tip: AM!)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Curbed Chicago: Renovation of Old Post Office Gets Key New Permit

Every time we've been by the old post office, it seems like there is a lot of stuff going on.  We've probably seen helicopters lifting stuff around the building over a dozen times in the last couple of months.  So good progress is happening!

Apparently the project got some key permits recently as well (via Curbed):
Construction on the ambitious renovation and restoration of Chicago’s long vacant Main Post Office continues in earnest as another big permit signals work on important mechanical and structural systems. According to the permit issued by the city yesterday, workers are cleared to go ahead and build new stairway enclosures while restoring other existing stairways. In addition, important safety systems like fire pumps, standpipe risers, and the electrical systems that support them are cleared for work. The estimated cost of the work approved in this latest permit is $11 million.

I guess we'll take Curbed's word that this is a good sign?

Does anyone have any other news about this project?  Still not sure what is moving in...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

La La Land: Movies in the Park @ Women's Park This Saturday (7/15)

This is a great movie and this will likely be a great event (assuming the weather cooperates) - via PDNA Facebook Page:

Even if you don't like musicals, it's a good move:


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Is Grant Park the Proper Place for the Taste?

The Taste of Chicago recently wrapped up and we recently stumbled upon a strongly worded opinion piece from a South Loop resident about moving the Taste somewhere else (via Chicago Tribune):
I have lived in the South Loop for almost 10 years. During this period, I have seen this community grow and expand at a healthy pace, thus becoming only one of three community areas experiencing significant residential growth in Chicago. This trend continues with several high-rise buildings currently under construction, and others in the planning stages.
Regrettably, infrastructure improvements have not kept pace with the ensuing needs, particularly those having to do with the amelioration and prevention of traffic congestion. On several occasions throughout the year, traffic in the Loop and South Loop has become impassable and impossible.

There is more to the article and we suggest you read it to get the full point of view.  The resident finishes it with:
While I understand the need for the city to hold such events, I find the city’s complete and utter disregard for the impact these have on its residents and commuters quite inexcusable.
For years the city has promoted residential growth in the Loop and the South Loop. This expansion and these recreational events are no longer capable of coexisting as they did when the area was mostly business based. Now, and in the future, there is no longer sufficient space to accommodate both without major disruptions. The city should reassess what it’s doing in this area.
We definitely have felt the pain of increased traffic and congesting due to summer events, so understand the sentiment.  Is 15 days of street closures a little excessive for a 5 day festival?  Probably!

That being said, we also realize that living in the heart of a large, major American city comes with trade-offs (such as increased traffic and congestion due to these types of events).  

This is certainly not a black and white issue, but curious to hear what everyone thinks.  Do you agree with this Sloopin resident?

(Hat tip:  GM!)