Friday, October 12, 2018

Pondering the Future of Mattress Firm at State/Roosevelt

Shopping for a mattress always seemed like a strange experience to us.  Additionally, it often seems that mattress stores rarely have an abundance of shoppers inside.  Couple those points with the ease and emerging popularity of online mattress shopping and it's easy why Mattress Firm has filed for Bankruptcy (via Chicago Tribune):
Even Mattress Firm now acknowledges that a particular street on Chicago’s North Side has more than enough spots to buy a mattress.

The Houston-based retailer, which filed for bankruptcy protection last week, plans to close 209 stores nationwide by the end of the month, including 29 of its 211 locations in Illinois. Two of the stores on the closure list are on neighboring blocks of North Clybourn Avenue near Cortland Street, according to bankruptcy court records. The company has two other stores still in operation on Clybourn between Cortland and Wrightwood Avenue.

Eventually, Mattress Firm plans to close as many as 700 of its roughly 3,400 stores, focusing on those in areas where it has too many locations that are too close together, CEO Steve Stanger said Friday in a statement on the company website.

So why are we writing about this?  We've always been fascinated as to the location of a Mattress Firm at the corner of State and Roosevelt (see picture above).  This was a dry cleaner then converted into a Bedding Experts which was later bought out by Mattress Firm.  This location rarely seems busy and in our opinion would be much better served as a restaurant/coffee type of business (although loitering seems to be a problem here and at the Starbucks).

While this location won't be closed initially, maybe it will be in future closings as part of this bankruptcy restructuring?  One can hope...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Bank of America ATM Retail Space Coming to 1250 South Michigan

Looks like a doomed retail space 1250 S. Michigan is getting a relatively straightforward tenant:

In case you can't read that it says:
Interior and Exterior Altercation to Existing Space For New Interior ATM Rooms Per Existing Plans.
As you may recall this retail space has had a hard time holding a consistent tenant.  La Haven coffee shop was the most recent tenant but they closed in 2016.  Before that it was Winestyles (closed in 2010), Karamela Cafe (closed in 2013), Crave Cafe and Lounge (closed in 2014).

An ATM room ain't sexy, but something tells us it will last longer than some of the others listed above.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Kome Japanese Eatery Apparently Closed

We recently were driving by the restaurant Kome Japanese Eatery (1303 S. Michigan) and noticed that all the lights were out during a prime weekend evening.  Obviously that was not a good sign.

It seems safe to say that the restaurant is closed.  A sign in the window says:
We are closed temporarily.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

We've never been to Kome, but according to Yelp people seemed to like it (4.5 stars).  As a reminder this restaurant opened about a year ago in November 2017.  

Does anyone have any knowledge if they're going to reopen?  or maybe reconcept?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Fate of Pizza Museum at Roosevelt Collection Unknown

Head on over to the Pizza Museum at Roosevelt Collection soon or you may miss it (via Eater Chicago):
The U.S. Pizza Museum was packed with guests in August in the South Loop as the Internet raged if Chicago was America’s true capital of pizza. The museum was meant to last through October with the option of extending its stay. The museum’s founder on Tuesday said the future of the museum is up in the air as they haven’t decided if the exhibition will last beyond the rest of the month.

Museum founder Kendall Bruns said the situation isn’t dire, but improved attendance would help as they’re discussing the museum’s future with the space’s management. The museum is a way to bring in people to the Roosevelt Collection, a residential development with a movie theater and retail stores. Admission to the museum, a space filled with nostalgic pizza-related items from limited-edition pizza boxes, to pizzeria menus, to toys, is free. The museum makes money from gift shop sales. However, guests need to reserve tickets prior to their visit.

August quickly sold out and that received lots of media attention. But when September rolled in, fewer people showed up. People just didn’t know that tickets were available. They think all tickets have been sold out since August.

As a reminder the Pizza Museum opened to some fanfare back in August

Thursday, October 4, 2018

River City Owners Sue to Block Potential Sale of Building

The saga continues at River City on the proposed sale of the building (via Cook County Record):
In the wake of a vote to approve a sale that would reportedly pave the way for the largest condos-to-apartments conversion in Chicago to date, a group of condominium owners in the River City complex have filed suit to block the more than $90 million sale, accusing the condo association board of working with the would-be buyers to essentially target and bribe certain unit owners to persuade them with secret “side deals” to vote to approve the sale.

The collection of condo owners, including owners on both sides of the vote to sell the South Loop condo complex to developer Marc Realty, filed their complaint in Cook County Circuit Court on Oct. 3 through attorneys with the firm of Chuhak & Tecson, of Chicago.

“By conspiring with Marc Realty to target only those owners who had already voted against the sale at the price Marc Realty wanted to offer, the (River City Condominium Association) Board helped Marc Realty pay far less than they had agreed to pay under the original (Purchase and Sale Agreement), instead electing to award the benefit to a minority of owners who could be bribed into switching their votes,” the plaintiffs said in their complaint.

If you're interested in the back and forth of this one we've posted about this story for almost the past three years dating back to January 2016...damn.

(Hat tip: PO!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Shooting Inside Car In Front of Congress Hotel Leaves Two Dead

Another scary scene late last night on Michigan Avenue in front of Congress Hotel (via ABC7):
Four people were shot, two fatally, after a shooting inside a car that crashed in front of the Congress Plaza Hotel in the South Loop.
Five people were inside the car as the driver was going south on Michigan Avenue at about midnight Monday morning when someone inside started shooting, police said.

The driver hit a light pole and a planter box in front of the Congress Plaza, in the 500 block of South Michigan Avenue and then flipped on its roof.

Seems like this wasn't a random incident, but still scary.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Dearborn Bike Lane Gets Upgrade with Protective Barriers

In case you haven't been to Dearborn in awhile, the popular bike lane is getting an upgrade (via Streetsblog):
One of Chicago’s first and most popular protected bike lanes is getting another upgrade.
The Chicago Department of Transportation announced yesterday that it has launched construction of concrete curb protection on the Dearborn two-way protected bike lane, along its entire length from Polk to Kinzie. The lane sees about 800 bike trips during the evening rush, according to the city.
I use this bikelane all the time and this improvement is warranted and great.  The lane is always busy during the workweek and often times motorists have abused the fact that it's relatively exposed.  Hopefully this will help.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Acadia Receives Two Michelin Stars for Fourth Straight Year

Maybe not super surprising, but certainly worth acknowledgement (via Chicago Tribune):
Alinea, as it has every year since 2011 (the first year Michelin published a Chicago Guide), again holds the ultimate honor of three Michelin stars. (Grace, which closed in December, had received three stars in four consecutive years.)
Acadia, in the South Loop, received a two-star designation for the fourth straight year. Joining Acadia at the two-star level are Oriole (for the third time) and Smyth (for the second).
Huge honor for Acadia.  Being one of four restaurants to earn two or more stars puts them in the upper echelon of fine dinning in Chicago.

Kudos to the team.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Amazon Reportedly Visited Proposed HQ2 Lot in the South Loop in Mid-August

Some interesting news on the Amazon front for our neighborhood (via Chicago Tribune):
Amazon was back in Chicago last month to take another look at a South Loop site along the river, as the e-commerce giant narrows its search for a planned second headquarters with up to 50,000 jobs.
In mid-August, members of Amazon’s HQ2 site selection team made the return visit to Related Midwest’s 62-acre planned development, called The 78, according to sources familiar with the visit. It’s the second known visit to the site by Amazon’s real estate team, which previously toured it and four other locations during a March visit to Chicago.

It’s unclear whether Amazon has made return visits to other sites in Chicago or other cities as the Seattle-based company considers 20 locations for the huge campus it is calling HQ2. Amazon has said it will pick a winner by the end of 2018.

We've long suspected that this site was at the top of the list if (and that's still a big if) Chicago is chosen for Amazon's HQ2.

Chicago is a bit of a sleeper pick when it comes to the national prognosticators.  The Washington DC metro area is considered by most the front-runner, while cities like Austin and Boston are also repeatedly considered towards the top. 

As stated in the above blurb, Amazon is intending to pick the winner by the end of the year.  Q4 is just around the corner so maybe Chicago's corporate community will get an early holiday present.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Scary and Grisly Scene at Roosevelt CTA Green Line Stop

A scary and grisly scene yesterday (via ChicagoTribune):
A man was found unresponsive and bleeding from the head at the Roosevelt Green Line station in the South Loop on Monday morning, Chicago police said.

The man, 58, was discovered on the platform at 22 E. Roosevelt Road around 6:15 a.m., police said. He was pronounced dead at 6:45 a.m.

Officials did not say how the man was injured.