Saturday, November 14, 2009

Demolition is the Word of the Moment in the Sloop

It feels like we continue to hear and read about buildings being demolished in the Sloop. A couple of months ago the Harold Ickes homes felt the wrath of the wrecking ball. Last week we read about the historic YMCA building on Michigan Avenue that might be coming down.

This week the Chicago Journal had an article about two buildings on Wabash that are owned by East-West University coming down and today two people let us know that the old Firestone garage (at the corner of Wabash and 16th) was also being demolished.

Seems like a lot of stuff is coming down in the Sloop.

Does anyone know if there are plans to build something else at the property at 16th and Wabash?

(Hat Tip: Nick D and BT!)

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Firestone garage is updating - not demolishing. They will reopen soon.

Rob Latham said...

well, firestone most definitely *is* demolishing, but if the sign in the window back in September is to be believed, they will build a new firestone and re-open in 2011. I hope so, as they are sitting on a gold mine: the only shop within walking distance for us.

Anonymous said...

My point was that Firestone isn't going away - only *updating*. Unfortunate for all who feel that some lifestyle commercial, e.g. shops, dining, or nightlife of ANY kind, would have been nice at that site.

Again, all that is being "demolished" is the facade/overhang.

Anonymous said...

Why 2011? That seems a bit long to rebuild a garage building.

Rob Latham said...

Eh, shops or dining can go into the new commercial space at 1555 S Wabash, or across the street at the 1555 S Wabash sales office. There are several vacant storefronts along 16th street between wabash and michigan, and tons of vacant storefronts on michigan between 14th and 20th.

The folks who would like yet more shops or dining have plenty of places to pin their hopes. An auto shop adds some much needed diversity to our neighborhood economy.

Carl said...

Agreed.

Firestone provides a much needed set of services . . . and there's enough demand to make room for a couple additional shops like that.

Anonymous said...

Shops and dining need to come South! It seems like every day a new restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or store opens in Lakeview or Bucktown. Why the lack of all things "city" in this neighborhood? I would think that any opening would be a huge success given the lack of any viable competition. Plus, new spots would force some of our less than stellar current options to step up their game.

Anonymous said...

"any opening would be a huge success."?

I can name at least half a dozen places (both chain and private) that have folded within three years or less of setting up shop in the South Loop.

Please clarify.

Anonymous said...

Actually could you please clarify?

Anonymous said...

Please identify the half dozen, well-run, businesses that have folded in the last three years based on the lack of South Loop patrons (meaning, don't cite a business such as Sam's which closed due to company-wide bankruptcy or Howie's which closed due to retirement).

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with the last comment, I would really like clarification on the half dozen businesses. Sam's was actually bought by Binny's and closed because of the close proximity to the store on Jefferson.

Carl said...

Our Sam's closed before the Binny's deal was close to being struck. While I didn't make the original statement, I can name quite a few places that have closed in the past couple three years . . . there were at least three eateries on S.Wabash that went under (Howie's and that japanese place next to Zapatstas), a video store, that "iguana" shop, at least one bookstore, a tanning place and Hi Tea.

FGFM said...

That Sam's was closed before Binny's bought them. A few other businesses that closed are Powell's, Charter One, Verizon, White Hen, various others. I don't think that this is a situation unique to the South Loop.

Carl said...

I'd agree that this is, sadly, not a problem unique to the South Loop. I for one don't subscribe to the rose-colored view that any/all shops and dining development in this area are instantly a boon. Personally, I wish there was a "soul food" place here but I'm sure the mere suggestion will send certain people around here into a frothing rage.

Anonymous said...

This is certainly not a problem endemic to the South Loop, but one that happens and will continue to happen in any major city. And, yes the Sam's South Loop closed before the deal was finalized with Binny's but it was part of aquisition. The deal closed (without public announcement) shortly after the store closed.

FGFM said...

That stretch of State between 14th Place and 16th has been a business graveyard along with the retail on the Archer side of that newer building on State. One problem might be that the property owners are charging too much for rent (as high as $30/ft) given a lack of walk-up trade. I predict that a lot of the yuppie-type businesses on South Wabash will eventually go under. Soul food sounds like a winner to me; there used to be a bunch of places around Cermak.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the South Loop stands out amoung most neighborhoods - in a bad way.

Yes, stores and restaurants and cafes are also closing in Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, etc. However, they are quickly replaced by a bevy of options. Plus, for every shop that doesn't make it - at least there are several others in those areas that do. Shopkeepers and chefs aren't even taking a chance in this area!

Charter One Bank? Verizon? White Hen? Are you serious? These are the "failed" commercial options that you proffer to support your point? C'mon.

Moreover, Carl, you need to grow up and STOP with the race baiting! You, Lance, and FGFM have to be three of the biggest martyrs I've ever seen!

Carl said...

Whoa! Where do you get off calling me or anyone else out one their opinions/comments? Accusing me of "race baiting" ought to be enough to get you bounced out of here! Where the hell do you get off with that attitude?

If there's a moderator around, I call FLAGGED on this BS.

Anonymous said...

Bleh... Wicker Park, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park are white people land. I ain't white, so I don't care. If you haven't noticed South Loop is the gateway to Pilsen, Far South, and South West which are non-white lands. I don't mind it, but I find it stupid that some people actually live in the South Loop expecting it to be like Lincoln Park. Sorry my fellow anonymous dudes, but we takin over ya hood with our hip-hop clothing’s stores on Michigan Avenue. The only black guy in LP is that beggar standing outside Starbucks on the corner of Shefield/Armitage. Don't be afraid of us Anonymous 8:02! We ain’t bad, join us on the number #3 bus and see for yourself! Stop the bickering because Jesus loves you too!

FGFM said...

Charter One Bank? Verizon? White Hen? Are you serious?

Yes.

Anonymous said...

"I ain't white, so I don't care.". Pure class.

FYI: I take the #3 bus every morning. The profanity is always a great treat. Especially from the 15 year-olds sitting next to their 4 and 5 year-old kids. Excellent role models.

Anonymous said...

"The only black guy in LP is the beggar outside of starbucks."

How is that any different from any other starbucks in every neighborhood in this entire city? I believe every starbucks has a black guy standing outside begging for handouts. It's part of their "subsidized culture."

Michael said...

There are a lot of success stories here in the SL. The Shrine is the best new club in the city... and what about that Reggies Rock joynt?
I moved here from Lincoln Park for many reasons, including the "vanilla" factor there. I'm a born white-boy southsider and I love it here. I love going to Pilsen, B-port, Lil'Italy, Greektown, Brnzville and riding a taxi home.

Give the economy some time to turn around, the college students to fill up the vacancies, and watch the SL come back strong!

Lance Uppercut said...

Why anyone would want or expect this area to be more like Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park is beyond me.

Rob Latham said...

shops that have closed:
- knitworks
- solo restaurant
- whatever was in solo before
- laughing iguana
- downtown pets
- pet particulars
- curves
- heelz
- carolina caramel
- sam's (but that doesn't count for some reason?)
- howies (that doesn't count either?)
- white hen (that also doesn't count?)

Anonymous said...

Those neighborhoods were cited as an "example" of what a desireable commercial setting should be, i.e. options.

It was in rebuttal to the comment from CARL wherein he alleges that the vacancy problem isn't unique to the South Loop. My previous comment was highlighting that the gravity of the scantness of retail and dining options in this neighborhood far exceeds that in similar neighborhoods. When something closes in those neighborhoods, something else opens. While there are vacancies in those neighborhoods, there are also many, many other occupied commercial storefronts.

I, too, am a born-and-bred "white boy" from the city. And I do NOT want to see this neighborhood turn into LP or Lakeview (it's why I moved here 2 years ago after living in LP for 8 years). Unfortunately, I think people are too concerned about NOT becoming LP, that becoming the next Englewood, Chatam, Auburn, etc. is lost on them.

Anonymous said...

Solo and Carolina Caramel were two of the poorest run businesses in the entire city! That's why they closed.

Also, knitting stores and pet shops? Are you kidding me?

Lance Uppercut said...

That last Anon commenter gets my vote for "poster child" in relation to a registration only Sloopin blog.

Pray tell, what business ventures would you consider more legitimate over a pet or craft/DIY store?

Carl said...

By my, count Rob Latham cites several more than my original six (surmised) closed area businesses . . . and he left out Movie Time and Powell's to name a few.

Make no mistake, I find excessive amounts of vacant property (both commercial and residential) in this area cause for serious concern.

FGFM said...

FYI: I take the #3 bus every morning. The profanity is always a great treat. Especially from the 15 year-olds sitting next to their 4 and 5 year-old kids. Excellent role models.

You sound like a bitter loser and would-be pedophile who can't afford a car.

FGFM said...

Mutual Truck & Auto Parts also went under, but they probably thought they could sell the building for $$$ before the real estate bust. Blue Star is still open, but for sale.

FGFM said...

As far as the hand-wringing about the restaurant situation goes, does anyone else remember when dining options between Roosevelt and Cermak were limited to Mexican Joe's Chili Parlor at 18th and State? We may have to take a step back in the current climate, but I'm sure that the South Loop will do well in the long run.

Rob Latham said...

Oh man, I don't know anything about Mexican Joe's Chili Parlor but from the name alone we could use two of them!

Carl, speaking of soul food have you tried the joint at 2000 S michigan in the basement of the high rise?

Zapatisata's is nice but it's no Arturo's (western ave). Every neighborhood should have a taquería or two.

Anyway, yeah, there's plenty of vacant space for all of those plus the firestone.

Anonymous said...

How does commenting, in disgust, over the bevy of young teen mothers of multiple infants dropping the f-bomb and n-word with their meal ticket - err, I mean kid - on their lap on the #3 bus make one a pedophile?

Didn't you mean to use the word "pedophile" on the thread regarding your bro R. Kelly?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how last post is remotely relevant to this topic/thread?

Anonymous said...

Read the entire thread and you will understand why that last post is relevant.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could explain it to everyone . . . seems pretty OT to me.

FGFM said...

How does commenting, in disgust, over the bevy of young teen mothers of multiple infants dropping the f-bomb and n-word with their meal ticket - err, I mean kid - on their lap on the #3 bus make one a pedophile?

Would you like to be upgraded to racist?

Didn't you mean to use the word "pedophile" on the thread regarding your bro R. Kelly?

Is this your clever way of calling me "n*gger" again? I'm not related to the guy or even black, nor am a supporter of his. Are you related to Roman Polanski?

Carl said...

I know, I know . . . this situation is totally out of line.

Seems like my being white just doesn't fit into certain commenters narrow view of things.

Michael said...

Everybody take it easy! Stop hatin'! We started this thread talking about the Firestone Garage and we are getting "greasy".

The South Loop is a melting pot and I love it! If only we had a good late night burrito joint and good Italian Beef stand...

Lance Uppercut said...

I'm with you 100% Michael.

The things you mentioned sure would go a long way towards making this area more livable to the working man.

I'd love a late-night/walkup hot dog place or taqueria. I'm guessing that many people that post here see these types of businesses as strictly "low rent" and bad for property values when in fact it's precisely the types of ventures that wind up being the lifeblood of real communities.

On this point, I'm of the opinion that the City (with it's numerous taxes and fees) basically makes it impossible for such small local-owned eateries to go the distance.

And, for the record, I'm not black either.

JP said...

I very particularly agree with the "melting pot" comment above. Its why I moved into the neighborhood 11 years ago.

Being white and from the south side, I'm more than familiar with the history of one group running away from another, and this group animosity being at the core of the numerous tremendous demographic changes in Chicago over the last 100+ years.

The South loop is at the core of a change, where a neighborhood is rebuilt from scratch, and everybody can move in knowing that the neighborhood will be a mix from the start.

So far, that's held true on racial/ethnic lines, and it would be a VERY good thing if the neighborhood could stay racially and ethnically balanced and integrated forever. If it holds in the South Loop, it may very well spread south up to Hyde Park and hopefully through the rest of the city over time.

Its weird how these tensions always seem to be right at the surface on the south side. People from the suburbs look at me like I'm a martian if I raise topics of racial demographics or the topic of groups running from another.

Some of the tribesmen I know from the northern suburbs have no idea that the old tribal lands were along Douglas Boulevard or in South Shore.

Heck, almost nobody in Chicago would guess that Larry Ellison (of Oracle, one of the wealthiest men in America) was raised in South Shore, more or less in the same area as where Mrs. Obama raised Michelle.

Hopefully people can get over their emotions and discuss neighborhood demographics civilly here!

Lance Uppercut said...

Nicely said . . . very well-worded and thoughtful.

I've been living in the South Loop for over 10 years now and, having come from a smaller rural town downstate, I very much desire diversity of all stripes in this area.

Tim said...

It's nice to see some positive discussion starting to take hold. When I recently chose to move to the South Loop, the idea of basically a new or changing neighborhood, growing to more closely reflect the diversity of all the people who temporarily share the Loop (proper) for work, school, and leisure every day, really appealed to me.

As someone who grew up outside of the city (northwest suburbs to be exact), I find it difficult to relate to the tensions behind the segregation between Chicago's firmly established neighborhoods. When I travel to other cities, such as San Francisco, which has the benefit of ethnic neighborhoods surrounding its downtown (as opposed to being scattered), I wonder why Chicago cannot replicate their integration. As JP mentioned, hopefully the South Loop can be a beginning.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Data Center at Cermack/Indiana is going up based on Chicago Journal update:

http://www.chicagojournal.com/Blogs/11-19-2009/Data_center_a_go,_Jefferson_project_deferred

Anonymous said...

Awesome. So other hoods get new dining and retail and we get a revamped firestone and a data center. *sweet*!

Anonymous said...

I agree; not very exciting at all; in fact, the data center going in that location basically ensures that Cermak will never be the commercial strip that we need. That is essentially one step up from an industrial park!

Therefore, the "gateway to the Prairie District" is bound by the Ickes and Hilliard Homes on the West and an empty convention center and data center on the East. Not good.

Rob Latham said...

hey, if you want to be upset about cermak ave, all you need to look at is the bus-way, ensuring convention crowds need not even so much as glance at our neighborhood on their way to and from north of the river. Cermak ave turned out exactly as planned.

We desperately need to revisit that decision.

Anonymous said...

If there was anything for convention goers to do in this neighborhood, they would stay rather than get bused back North. In fact, on warm summer days I commonly encounter convention goers walking north through the neighborhood from McCormick Place looking for something to eat or places to shop. They would stop-in if there were ANY options in the area.

As for Cermack becoming a stretch of dining and shopping, as much as some people don't want to hear this, that street will NEVER become a commercial destination as long as Ickes/Hilliard/Currency Exchange/liquor store remain.