Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Retail Buildout at 1345 S. Wabash Halted By City, but What Was Coming?

A reader writes:
Any word on what's going in the retail space at 1345 S Wabash? I noticed brown paper went up on the windows a while back but it looks like outfitting the space has been stopped for a permit violation. Have you heard anything about what might be going into that space?

Anyone have the scoop on what was intended to come to this building?

As background 1345 S. Wabash (and 1333 S. Wabash) are the new rental high-rises being built by CMK properties.

(Hat tip:  BM!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wabash Arts Corridor Gets Influx of New Murals

Looks like the Wabash Arts Corridor is getting some new artwork.  A reader writes:
I heard this was the (continuous, neighborhood) work of Columbia art students. My back windows face the back of this building on Michigan Ave (approximately at 1100 S. Wabash):

A little further south on Wabash, this gem is taking shape.  Another reader provides this beaut:

A couple of weeks ago we posted about the corridor's "Big Walls" program and recently provided some more background and images of the new additions to the area:
Local and international artists will have their work displayed for the next six months in the South Loop as part of an initiative led by a local college that aims to add some zest to the area of Wabash Avenue between Van Buren Street and Roosevelt Road.  
Columbia College Chicago, a private liberal arts college in the South Loop, has been placing art installations throughout the area since 2013 as part of an initiative titled the Wabash Arts Corridor to connect with local businesses in the neighborhood, said Mark Kelly, Wabash Arts Corridor chair and Columbia's vice president for student success. 
Renderings for a mural by Amuse 126, left, and one by Czr Prz.
Rendering of a mural by Sarah Stewart and Lady Lucx.
Rendering of a mural by Columbia College Chicago alumnus Justus Roe.
Great stuff - simply amazing!

(Hat tip: CN, JH, DP!)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Portillo's at Taylor and Clinton Sets Opening Date for May 31st

Looks like the Portillo's construction is progressing fast as an open date is near (via DNAinfo):
Get ready, the new Portillo's coming to the South Loop is just a month away from opening. 
The restaurant will open May 31 at 520 W. Taylor St., Portillo's spokesman Nick Scarpino said. Once open, the eatery known for chocolate cake shakes and Chicago-style fare will be the second in the city following a longtime River North spot.

As a reminder this was confirmed back in September of last year.  This definitely seems like a big boon for the neighborhood and the shopping area west of the Chicago river specifically.

(Hat tip:  MW!)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Demolition of South Loop Storage (1601 S. Federal) Begins

Looks like the demolition of South Loop Storage is underway judging by the picture a reader sent:

As a reminder back in February, we had a post on the subject.  At the time, there was a rumor that CVS was going to be the tenant (which seemed to be accurate according to some of the comments in the post).

Anyone have any new info?

(Hat tip:  EQ!)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Chicago Kernel Closes at 511 S. State

A reader writes:
Saw this in window.

We actually never stepped foot into this place when it opened in 2013 and frankly were uncertain if there was a market in the Sloop for popcorn (outside of Garrett's potentially).  Anyway, it seems like this building is ripe for restaurants given the amount of students in the neighborhood and area.

Hopefully something better pops up!

(Hat tip: CD!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

PDNA Planning Beer and Cider Festival for August

Looks like a new (and fun) event is being planned for August (DNAinfo):
The South Loop, a neighborhood teeming with new breweries, has a new beer festival on tap.  
The South Loop Beer and Cider Festival will debut Aug. 6 at Chicago Women's Park & Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave. Many details are still being worked out, but about 40 breweries are expected to pour samples, said Tina Feldstein of the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance.  
The festival is the latest addition to the South Loop, where brewers including Vice District, Motor Row, and Baderbrau have popped up in recent years.

This one sounds like it could be a good time!

(Hat tip:  JB!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Jahn High-Rise at 1000 S. Michigan Gets Green Light from Planning Commission

In case you missed this last week, looks like this high-profile high-rise is pretty close to moving forward (via Curbed Chicago):
The Helmut Jahn designed 73-story tower proposed for 1000 South Michigan is one step closer to construction after approval from the Chicago Plan Commission yesterday. The proposal by New York-based JK Equities and Time Equities is essentially the same concept that was presented to neighbors in a community meeting at the end of February, featuring 506 units split between rental apartments in the lower floors and for-sale condominiums in the upper floors of the tower. The building design begins with a rectilinear footprint at ground level, but flairs outward as it rises, eventually taking on a more trapezoidal form towards the top, which features a private outdoor amenity deck for the future condo dwellers. 
The planned development boundary covers not only the present surface parking lot at 1000 South Michigan Avenue, but also the neighboring eight-story building at 1006 South Michigan. It is over this neighboring building that the tower extends outward, similar to an earlier Jahn-designed project at 600 North Fairbanks in Streeterville. In doing so, the development team is making more space available to sell on the higher-priced upper floors while crafting a unique shape for the building. The tower will anchor the southern end of the Historic Michigan Avenue Boulevard District, a landmark district protecting the historic streetwall of facades extending northward from this block towards Randolph Street. While the site is empty and does not presently contribute to the streetwall, the location required negotiations with the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and ultimately resulted in the shortening of the tower's height from an initial 1030 feet to a current proposal topping out at 832 feet.
It's a pretty detailed post by Curbed and frankly gets into very granular development reporting.  But it does provide with some good info at the bottom regarding retail and construction start date:
The building will feature 2,700 square feet of ground floor commercial space and will have 13,000 square feet of green roof. A sales center is expected to open by this summer in the neighboring building at 1006 South Michigan while construction is planned to begin in 2017.

Monday, April 25, 2016

"The Future of the Fourth Ward" Event Happening Tonight

4th Ward Alderman Burns recently resigned.  While the 4th Ward encompasses more than the Sloop, figured it might be interesting for Sloopsters to hear about the event below.

A reader writes:
Hi! I am attaching a flyer to this email about an event that will be of interest to your readers in the Fourth Ward - which now extends as far north as Jackson. The alderman of the ward resigned, and although there is an interim alderman who was appointed by the mayor, a bunch of residents are getting together to talk about what the priorities for the ward should be. We are having a series of ongoing planning meetings, and the next one is this Monday, April 25, at Room 43, 1043 E. 43rd St., 7-9 p.m.
(Hat tip:  GP!)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wabash Arts Corridor Launching New Series Called "Big Walls"

If you read this here blog, you know we love the Wabash Arts Corridor.  Well they're upping their game again and are hosting a new two week long event dubbed "Big Walls":
Columbia College Chicago and WAC proudly announce a new initiative that will transform Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood into a bustling hub for public art. 
Starting May 1-13th, WAC Big Walls has partnered with local galleries and sponsors to bring twenty local and internationally renowned street artists to the corridor to create large-scale mural installations. 
During the two weeks, Big Walls will hold a celebration of street art, showcasing the diversity of artistic styles emerging in this vibrant art form. There will be guided tours and audiences will experience the creative process live as street artists revamp and reimagine the walls of Chicago’s Wabash Arts Corridor neighborhood.

Should be fun.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

NFL Draft Street Closures Underway

The NFL Draft festivities are about a week away, but that isn't stopping some of the inconveniences associated with it from happening.  Street closures are already underway as they prep for the big event (via ChicagoTribune):

  • Michigan Avenue from Jackson to Balbo will close Thursday, April 28 and Friday, April 29 from 3 to 8 p.m. 
  • Columbus from Jackson to Balbo will close Thursday, April 21 from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Friday, April 22, and again from 8 p.m. on Friday, April 22 through Monday, May 2. 
  • Congress from Michigan to Columbus will be closed to traffic and pedestrians Friday, April 22 through Monday, May 2. 
  • Congress from Wabash to Michigan will close from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 28, as well as at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 29, and should reopen later than evening.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Old St. Mary's New Parish Center to Open May 6th

Old St. Mary's New Parish Ground Breaking Ceremony
A reader writes:
Just wanted to alert you that Old St. Mary’s new parish center is open to the community starting May 6 with a dedication.
The press release we received had some additional info we found interesting:
The Church was founded in 1833 and in 2002 the parish community proudly dedicated their new church on South Michigan Avenue. But the parish wasn’t done yet. It became clear that there would be a need for an educational ministry as the demand for a quality Catholic education in the South Loop and Loop as a whole was strong. Today, there is a growing group of young families in the parish and within the community that are committed to living in the city who have personally experienced or know the value of Catholic education and want to give this experience to their children.  
The Church’s journey timeline includes the following milestones: 
  • May 6, 2016 marks the completion of the vision for the Church: the dedication and formal opening of the Parish Center. The 17,000 square foot Parish Center addresses the needs of the growing parish including a space for workshops, pastoral meetings and parish committee meetings as well as a gymnasium to serve the school for athletic programs and performing arts. 
  • In 2004 Old St. Mary’s School opened its doors to its first preschool class of 18 children – the “new” school was housed in a 100-year-old revamped furniture warehouse adjacent to the parish offices. 
  • In 2011, a brand-new Old St. Mary’s School opened with more than 200 students -- now more than double that are enrolled in preschool through 8 th grade. 

The dedication is open to the public and begins at 2:00 p.m. Central on Friday, May 6, 2016 at 1500 South Michigan Avenue.

Also for some additional background we posted on this topic back in May of 2015.

(Hat tip: AB!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tribune and DNAinfo Look at Homelessness in Large Vacant Lots in the South Loop

Two local news sites had separate pieces taking a look at the homeless encampments in Chicago.

Some of the large swaths of lands in the South Loop provide ideal areas (via ChicagoTribune):
A diverse community lives in the South Loop — with riverfront property just blocks from glitzy shopping districts. The residents know their neighbors, and they look out for one another.
This might sound like an idyllic place to live. But I am describing a homeless encampment, one of several where scores of people survive in tents, under bridges, in makeshift shacks and in concrete pipes, even in the dead of winter. Where violence, theft, drug abuse and disease are also a part of daily life.
For six months photojournalist Lloyd DeGrane and I have visited with the residents of these encampments in a swath of open land south of Roosevelt Road and on the banks of the Chicago River farther north, as well as below highway underpasses in the Pilsen neighborhood and under viaducts on the North Side lakefront.
Our work is part of the Social Justice News Nexus ( at the Medill journalism school at Northwestern University, a fellowship program for in-depth reporting on a suite of topics — drug policy and treatment, mental health and housing — that intersect in the homeless encampments of Chicago.

The Tribune piece includes 10 photos with interesting stories about some of the people who reside in the huge vacant piece of land south of Roosevelt and east of the Chicago River:

Kent of Chinatown
Kent, seen here on Nov. 21, 2015, says he has lived in the fields north of Chinatown for 18 years. He cooks over a fire, sings Chinese ballads with homeless Mexican men and heads into Chinatown to go to church or the library. He knows everyone in these encampments north of 18th Street and east of the Chicago River. Many consider him a father figure.

DNAinfo is the other site who had an article about the area.  Although it isn't as altruistic as the Tribune article, it does provide a quick look at this shifting dynamic as more developments come to the Sloop (via DNAinfo):
A big development has displaced Downtown's "tent city," but some of the homeless living there have moved just south to a tract of land once owned by disgraced developer Tony Rezko.  
A handful of tents have sprouted this month at the riverfront site just south of Roosevelt Road after a developer cleared out an old encampment near the Old Main Post Office. The new, smaller tent city is farther away from the Loop than the old one, but also quieter, residents say.
(Hat tip:  ND & KD!)