Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Rental Guide for the South Loop

Yesterday we read a very helpful and informative post by the men at YoChicago talking about the issues with trying to rent in the South Loop:
There are 1,000s of ads on Craigslist for South Loop apartments, most of them touting the fewer than a dozen major apartment complexes in the South Loop.

How does that happen? Well, it’s simple: a plague of apartment locators (I call them maggots) are on a holy crusade to make life difficult for apartment renters. They place 100s of repetitive ads every day, add “South Loop” as a keyword to many out-of-area apartments, indulge in sheer fantasy and flagrant fraud and on and on so that you, the renter, lose sight of just how easy it can be to see all of your options and narrow them down.

It's a good point. We've had friends that were interested in the South Loop but got turned off due to difficulties navigating the Craigslist listings. Within their post they identify many of the buildings, so if you or someone you know is looking to rent in the Sloop we highly suggest starting at their link to begin your research!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Deal for the National Association of Letter Carriers' Building Falls Through

Mayor Daley's nephew, Robert G. Vanecko, has been in the news a decent amount and last year we had a post about him and a partner investing city pensions to buy, build and develop the land where the current National Associate of Letter Carriers' has a building (1411 S. Michigan) which is just south of the Chicago Firehouse restaurant). Well according to the Chicago Sun-Times that has fallen through:
The restaurant, opened 10 years ago in a former city fire station, is next door to the longtime home of the National Association of Letter Carriers' Chicago Branch. Three years ago, union leader decided to sell their two-story building, hoping to turn a profit so they could build a new headquarters elsewhere in the city.

Several developers were interested. The best offer came from Vanecko and his business partner, mayoral ally Allison S. Davis. They wanted to put up a 32-story building-either condos or hotel rooms - on the property at 1411 S. Michigan Ave. and agreed to pay $8.5 million for the land once the union built its new headquarters at 3850 S. Wabash.

The gave the union a down payment - and advanced millions of dollars in city pension funds so the union could buy land and build its new home.

To date, Vanecko and Davis have given the union more than $4.5 million in city pension funds - including an $850,000 down payment, a "predevelopment commitment" advance of $400,000 and a $2.9 million line of credit, records show.

Last summer, Vanecko walked away from the company that he and Davis created, DV Urban Realty Partners, soon after a federal jury issued subpoenas to the company and the pension funds. Then, Davis and his son Jared Davis told the union they no longer wanted to buy the property - and they wanted the pension fund money back.

Obviously there is probably more to the story, but it appears not much is going on with this prime piece of South Loop property. The story is a good read and has quotes from Mayor Daley saying he advised his nephew that this was a bad idea. Interesante!

(Image from Chicago Architecture Foundation)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marshall's Coming to Southgate Market

Southgate Market at 1101 S Canal Street (home to Whole Foods, World Market, Panera, DSW, etc.) lost Linens N' Things and Office Depot simultaneously last year, but it appears that one of those vacant spaces will be getting a new tenant soon. A reader sent us a picture saying that Marshall's will be moving into the complex.

We recently drove by and noticed some construction on the ground floor where Linens N' Things used to be. For those who aren't familiar with Marshall's here is a quick history lesson via Wikipedia:
Marshalls traces its history to 1956, when Alfred Marshall gathered a band of innovative entrepreneurs on the East Coast who included Bernard Ribas, Norman Barren, and Frank Estey to collectively start up the "Brand Names For Less" concept. Contemplating the dual postwar phenomena of a boom in the economy and growth in the suburbs, Marshall and associates came upon a way to meet it profitably. Together, they opened a self-service department store in Boston, Massachusetts, offering apparel and homewares at alluringly low prices.

Obviously the store has evolved and actually is now owned by the TJ Maxx corporation.

Anyway, good luck to them and welcome to the Sloop!

(Hat Tip: AY!)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Against Cancer 5K at Soldier Field

A longtime reader is organizing a charity run/walk for Cancer in the South Loop:
The Caner is Colorblind campaign is a 6 month grassroots campaign that will be donating proceeds to oncology departments at Children's Memorial and Mt. Sinai. We're holding several events through Nov. 20th, but our next event will be a Race Against Cancer 5K near Soldier Field on August 7th. The details and registration for the event are at

We're letting people register in one of two ways: either pay $35 or sign up for a fundraising page and raise at least $250. During the day of the event, registration will take place at the Great Lawn/Sports Event staging area and the run/walk will proceed south on the lake trail.

It's a great cause, so if you're around check it out.

(Hat Tip: AV!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Bike Gang?

Just as an FYI, this isn't a bike gang (if it was it would be the biggest one ever)'s one of the many Biking events that passes through the Sloop!

(Hat Tip: KE!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Donna's Cafe Coming to 1255 S. State?

A reader sent us a picture from 1255 S. State that reads:

A true cafe would be great for this building and area. There are a lot of families that live in Dearborn park II and a cute, folksy cafe would probably do great business catering to them. Obviously we're no privy to what the atmosphere will be like at Donna's, but it could be a great fit! Best of luck to them.

(Hat Tip: ED!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taste of Chicago Begins This Friday

For Sloopers the Taste of Chicago is a mixed bag. Some love to wander over to Grant Park, enjoy some great food and soak up the summer weather. For others, the massive amounts of people that invade the area proves to be a big inconvenience and headache for two straight weeks.

For us, we love the musical acts that play for free. Starting this Friday, the fun begins. Some of the highlights that we're looking forward to seeing are Robert Randolph and the Family Band (Sunday, July 4th), the Steve Miller Band (Saturday, July 3rd) and a blast from the past Bell Biv Devoe, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Rob Base and the one and only Salt-N-Peppa (Friday, June 25th):

So if you're around with nothing to do, brave the crowds and enjoy a unique and occasionally fun Chicago Summer tradition.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The New Buddy Guy's Legends: A Great Venue for a Show

We've been consistently covering the developments at the new Buddy Guy's Legends (700 S. Wabash) for awhile, so we were obviously pumped to attend the official grand opening party last Tuesday.

It was our first time stepping foot into the new place and although it was a Tuesday, the place was still packed. Although the musicians were solid, we're not going to focus on that in this post. Everyone knows that Legends gets solid Blues musicians, so there is no need to extrapolate on that.

What we are going to talk about is the new venue, which is definitely an upgrade from the old building down the street. As a friend of ours used to say, the old building had "character" and by character we mean walls that could cave in any second and bathrooms that looked like they could use some cleaning. Gone are those days.

The new club is brand spanking new. Yes, it used to be a different club, but you can tell Buddy invested a lot of money to clean up the place and make it look great. There are many similarities to the old club. If you look at the floor you will notice the signature blue and white checkerboard pattern is still in tact. On the walls you will find enough legendary rock and blues memorabilia from some of the greatest names in music.

The one thing you won't find is a bad seat. The old club was notorious for having blocked views due to badly positioned pillars (which is understandable given that the old space probably wasn't originally designed for a club or concerts). The new place is wide open. When we arrived all the seats were gone, but we were able to hang out in the back and still see everything happening on stage.

The biggest improvement in our mind was the quality of the sound system. An old Tribune article mentioned that the new club was going to have a state-of-the-art sound system, which seemed to be true based on our first experience.

So there you have it and quick rundown of our first experience at the new Buddy Guy's Legends. Like we've always said, it's great to have a legend in your backyard and we're glad our legend (in this case Buddy Guy) finally has his own home in the Sloop.

Who Wants to Sell Candy?

It appears that the popular Canady Le Chocolatier (824 S. Wabash) is up for sale. A reader sent us a link to their craigslist posting which was a little surprising to us. Obviously we're not sure about the rationale as to why they're selling, but regardless it is a nice little store in the Sloop and something we hope won't go away.

So will someone please buy the place so we can still satisfy our sweet tooth cravings?

(Hat Tip: GS!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Bye to A Legend

Bye to Buddy Guy's Legend's Blues club (754 S. Wabash):

Luckily they're not going far as they recently opened their new and improved club at 700 S. Wabash. Check back tomorrow for our thoughts on the new club...

(Hat Tip: MG!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Phantom to Help Vacant Retail in the Sloop?

For the loyal Sloopin readers out there you probably remember a post we did about a novel idea that gives vacant retail space to artists temporarily. It proved very popular in New York and has even been relatively successful in the Loop (see this Pop-Up Art Loop link).

With that said, we were happy to read that it appears that some South Loop property owners could be offering retail space to artists. The Phantom Gallery Chicago Network writes on their blog:
Curators interested in Storefront gallery space for July - October? Here are some locations that have been offered to the Phantom Gallery Chicago Network. I will be touring these locations and posting each site on the blog. If you are interested post a comment for the locations.

1503 S. State Street (Power for full gallery)
1900 S. Michigan (Window Space)
1400 S. Michigan (Raw Space)
1727 S. Indiana (Lower level attrium)
219 E. 21st
Also opportunities for public art installations at Roosevelt and Wabash
We're not sure what the Phantom Gallery Chicago Network is, but hopefully they can find somebody to occupy this would be great for the Sloop!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Segways Around the Sloop

Yes, we rag on Segways every once in awhile since they look and seem silly to us, but the reality is that they're probably pretty fun. We will let you form your own opinion and it seems like a reader really liked his Segway experience:
Here is a fun pic I took during a Segway Tour that I can't say enough good things about. Although the Tour started at Millennium Park, it went all the way down to Northerly Island and Miggs Field.

As you can see, we went through the outside of Soldier Field.
(Hat Tip: DS!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Factory to be Converted into a Hotel?

A reader sent us a link to a recent article in the Sun-times about a factory that's close to Chinatown (and arguably on the outskirts of the South Loop) potentially being zoned and developed into a hotel:
Developers have proposed turning a vacant industrial giant on the South Side into a hotel serving Chinatown, Pilsen and McCormick Place.

An investment group has requested a zoning change for 465 W. Cermak, a 101-year-old factory that has been vacant for years. It sits in a small landmark district that honors the city's industrial past.

The zoning application calls for converting the five-story building into a 200-room hotel, with about 120,000 square feet for stores and restaurants.

(Hat Tip: JJ!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mayor Daley's Global City

Crain's Chicago has a great article that looks into the Daley years and how they've changed Chicago. It's a great read on numerous topics including a couple mentions about the Sloop and how it exemplifies one of Daley's biggest legacy, trying to turn Chicago into a "Global City":
To see how Chicago has changed under Mayor Richard M. Daley, walk through the Near South Side.

What two decades ago was an urban desert, best known for it Skid Row, now is a place of glittering condo towers, bustling stores and restaurants. The population - including Rich and Maggie Daley - has tripled since 1990 while income has more than quadrupled.

Just four miles south, in Washington Park, where Mr. Daley hoped to host the 2016 Olympics, population is down, jobs and stores are scarce, and incomes are a tiny fraction of those in the South Loop.
It seems like that's the moral of the story...the neighborhoods surrounding the loop have flourished in the recent years, while the other further outlying neighborhoods have struggled. Although it's an unfortunate and tricky dilemma, in our biased opinion it seems to be forward thinking giving some of the struggles of other "rust belt" and Midwestern cities.

While most Midwestern cities have struggled to evolve from industrial powerhouses to professional cities, it seems like Chicago has made an attempt to move in the direction of a city that attracts well educated talent that services international companies. Will it continue to thrive or struggle as other cities also move in this direction? Who knows...but we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sloopin Retail Round-up

The new Buddy Guy's Legends (700 S. Wabash) is open and is having their official grand opening this Tuesday. Again, we haven't been inside but have peaked in and it looks to be much more open then the old club. We're hoping to head to the party on Tuesday and will let you know how our experience is. If you're eager to get more information on the new spot, the Chicago Sun-Times has a good read here.

It appears Jimmy Green's is officially open (825 S. State) and although we haven't been inside, every time we've passed by it looks to be relatively busy (and we've been going during the day, not during night or the dinner hours). We're excited to try it out, it looks nice inside.

It appears two new restaurants will be opening in the Sloop. Next door to Jimmy Green's (where the UFood and The Grill use to be) there is a sign for a "fast food" Asian restaurant called Wok Out. We've seen some movement and construction inside, so we will keep an eye on this.

Also next door to Winestyles on Michigan Avenue it appears that some construction is also happening in the last vacant retail spot within the Michigan Tower (1250 S. Michigan) condo building. Although we didn't find much about this online, we've been told it is a Pita place. If this is true, a pita place would be a solid addition on this stretch of Michigan Avenue in our opinion.

(Image from Chicago Sun-Times)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Obama Leaves Sloop Via Helicopter

President Obama's Memorial day trip to Chicago is long gone, but a reader sent us this cool video he took from an apartment in the Sloop. As many of you know Obama usually takes a helicopter from O'Hare to Soldier Field and then drives to his home (or wherever he's going):

(Hat Tip: TC!)

Pirates and a Bachelor Party

We got word that a Pirate themed bachelor party will be patrolling the streets of the Sloop this morning. If you see them, please take pictures...should be interesting.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Big Weekend Activities Kick off Today In & Around the Sloop

As any true Chicagoan knows, the Summer is the time the city explodes with things to do. Whether it's a street fair, a festival or simply just exploring new neighborhoods, people are everywhere enjoying all the Chicago has to offer.

This weekend is no different. Unless you've been under a rock for the last couple of days, the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup and are here to show it off. The city's official celebratory parade is scheduled to commence at 10:30am in the Loop. Although this isn't in the
Sloop expect to see the celebration spill over into our hood as the city is expecting big crowds. We will be there!

Also starting today is the 27th annual Chicago Blues fest in Grant Park. One of the more popular festivals of the summer, this years events is a little less high profile then years past due to Mayor Daley's budget cuts. Regardless, it's a great time if you're looking to enjoy scenic Grant Park and sing away your blues.

On Saturday and Sunday the 2010 Printers Row Lit Fest will kick off and most likely be a big draw for the neighborhood again this year. So if you're around, head on over to Dearborn between Harrison and Polk to enjoy the Midwest's largest free literary event.

Retail Moving in at 15th and Wabash?

A reader writes:
I live near Coliseum Park (1440 S. Wabash), and thought you might want to look into what's happening with the lone retail space in the Coliseum Park condos at Wabash and 15th. The for lease signs that were in the windows have been removed, and I'm pretty sure they were there a week or two ago. Hard to tell if there's anything really happening inside, but I'm curious to know if something is going in here. When the building went up a couple of years ago, there was a coffee shop rumor, but that never materialized.
We scoured the Internet but didn't have much success finding anything. Maybe they're just changing the signs to a new Realtor? Not sure, hopefully something is moving in there, does anyone know?

(Hat Tip: JN!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Free Movies in the Park

As the Chicago Journal posted, the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival is cancelled for 2010 due to budgetary issues, however that doesn't mean you can't enjoy some great movies in a public park this summer. Here are some of the movies scheduled in and around the Sloop:
Friday, July 16, 2010
Roosevelt Park, 62 W. Roosevelt
Where The Wild Things Are

Monday, August 02, 2010
Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 E. Randolph
Shrek the Movie
See you there!

Monday, June 7, 2010

U2 Show a No Go at Soldier Field

This is old news, but just in case you missed it we thought we would let you know that the July 6th U2 show at Soldier Field has been postponed. It also gives us a chance to post a video from last years U2 show at Soldier Field, it looked crazy:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gotta Love Free Concerts in Millennium Park

Although Millennium Park isn't in the Sloop it's still close enough to enjoy the free summer concerts. Here is a list of some of the upcoming free concerts (and more background via the Chicagoist):

June 7: She and Him with Hollows

June 14: Tony Allen with Great Lake Swimmers

June 21: The Books with Via Tania

June 28: Huntsville with On Fillmore and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline

July 5: The Thermals with Disappears

July 12: Caribou with Budos Band

July 19:Kid Sister with Konono No. 1

July 26: Naomi Shelton with Bomba Estereo

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Code of Conduct Open

Early in February we posted about the new tattoo parlor, Code of Conduct (14 East 11th Street), and we just got word from the owners that they're open and ready for business. Also in case you've missed it, they've been getting some love from various local websites/blogs:
With a stable of tat artists boasting clients ranging from ex-Bull Randy Brown to hip hop's The Cool Kids, those pondering some body art will find a couch-laden "living room" area outfitted with entertainment (board games, X-Box) plus a carefully curated library of picture-stocked books to spark ideas, and, in case those don't do it, a grip of iPads for cruising net-based inspiration (dude, when you flex your bicep, the Numa Numa kid actually jiggles).
(Image from the

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Million Dollar View for Rent

YoChicago had a fun and interesting post last week about a $10,000/month rental within one of the South Loop's signature high rises, One Museum Park. Although it seems steep, the views are truly amazing (check out some sweet pics here).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Store on South East Corner of Wabash and 18th?

A reader writes:
Any idea what's going on in that little storefront on the SE corner of Wabash and 18th? While walking by last week I saw some movement inside--chairs and tables and maybe some refrigerators. I personally think it would be a great cafe/coffee shop for all the moms walking home from picking up their kids from the South Loop Elementary School Branch building on 19th/Archer, but I'm biased :)
(Hat Tip: RAF!)