Saturday, April 30, 2011

Code of Conduct Adds some Sweet Art to the Sloop

A friend of the blog recently sent us a link to a post about Code of Conduct (one of the Sloop's tattoo parlors)adding some sweet art to the neighborhood:

How great would it be if we could have a "street art gallery" underneath the el?

The redeye also has more background on the art:

A mural in the "Obey Giant" art campaign, led by street artist Shepard Fairey, went up Tuesday night outside a South Loop tattoo shop and store, according to an employee.

Fairey, who created the iconic "Hope" poster of President Obama, was recently featured in Oscar-nominated documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop." He also was scheduled to do a guest DJ set late Thursday night at The Underground, at 46 W. Illinois, according to Jamie Weil, public relations representative for Rockit Ranch Productions.
(Hat tip: dbeezy, Solo MotorRow, SLA!)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Follow-up on the Infamous Coal Plant PR Stunt

Additional info continue to emerge and it appears it's a PR stunt (as discussed in previous posts). Although we're sure many of the concerned residents, the alderman's office and general electric aren't happy, we applaud the creativity behind the PR stunt.

WBEZ has a good post and video:

And to be fair we received this from Midwest Generation:

Hi Sloopin,

Midwest Generation is a client of mine, so we noticed your two blog posts and resulting conversation in the comments today regarding the hoax.

Below is a statement from Midwest Generation:

A letter and pamphlet circulated in recent days to residents of the South Loop and a press release issued today claiming to be from Midwest Generation to announce construction of a power plant in the city are fake.

The materials also refer to a fake Midwest Generation website and twitter account, and have photos
and names of supposed Midwest Generation employees which are also fake. Those behind this hoax also misappropriated Midwest Generation's letterhead and logo.

None of these materials came from Midwest Generation, which owns six power plants and a wind farm in the state of Illinois. Midwest Generation is not building a new plant in the city of Chicago.

There also was a protest against the fake plant on April 27 near the intersection of Harrison and Wells.
It is unclear if the "protesters" were the perpetrators of the fraud or were duped by it.


Account Executive
Jasculca/Terman and Associates, Inc.

So there you have it. No coal coming to the South Loop. Take note of Pilsen's problems (and others). And life goes on...

(Hat tip: SC!)

Event Tomorrow Hosted by Alliance for a Greener South Loop

Green is good:
Hi There,

I am hoping/wondering if you might be so kind as to put out a word about the Alliance for a Greener South Loop's event this Saturday? It will be a good one for anyone (condo residents, board members, property managers) who cares about...
- marketing advantages for condo owners
- cutting building operating costs
- contributing to a healthier environment.

2011 Alliance for a Greener South Loop's
Greener Buildings Summit
9:30-12:30, Saturday, April 30
1530 S. Dearborn St.

Representatives from the Dearborn Tower Condo Association, winners of the Alliance's 2010 "GreenEST Building Award" will be sharing their story of how they are making a difference by working with their building engineers, management, and owners.

The event is free. Refreshments will be served.
Registration is requested:

Thanks for your help,

Gail Merritt
co-founder, The Alliance for a Greener South Loop

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gioco Re-Opens with a Some New Items on the Menu

As posted last week, Gioco (1312 S. Wabash) was scheduled to re-open for dinner on Wednesday, April 27th.

Well judging by the calendar, it's now the day after and it appears that all is back to normal at Gioco. Upon walking by the restaurant, lights were on, patrons were eating and the newly stained wood doors looked great!

Besides improvements to the doors, it sounds like some additional changes were in store:
The restaurant will re-open at 5 P.M. with a new menu which includes home-made gnocchi with wild mushrooms and an antipasto assortment of cured meats and cheeses.
So did any readers go to Gioco for dinner last night? Back to normal? New and improved?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Fools Comes Late to the Sloop?

It appears that the flyers circulating around the South Loop (specifically in the printers row area) are an elaborate prank. Alderman Fioretti just tweeted:

The flyers recently passed around in Printers Row and the South Loop regarding a proposed fossil fuel power plant are completely false.

Although we don't know who is behind this or what their motivation was, it did generate a chuckle from us (once it was exposed).

It appears that there was also a lengthy discussion on this topic on Yelp.

We also just were sent two pictures of "protesters" at the "proposed site":
This is probably one of the weirdest/funniest/interesting posts we've done on Sloopin. Is this simply a prank? Is this a PR stunt to bring awareness to fossil fuels? Is this insignificant?

Whatever it is, we've enjoyed it.

(Hat tip: JR!)

Power Plant Coming to Printers Row Area?

We received two emails yesterday from concerned residents questioning recent letters they received from Midwest Generation:
Hi Sloopin,
I came home today to a letter from Midwest Energy stating they are building a power plant at Harrison and Wells. See attached copy of the letter. Any information on this? I certainly don't recall a public hearing for anything on that land other than a parking lot to the north of River City.

Here is the second, which talks about a drawing with two smoke stacks:
I live at Financial and Polk and received a very disturbing (and poorly written) letter today - that Edison International's Midwest Generation (a subsidiary) has bought the vacant lot at the corner of Wells and Harrison - and they are breaking ground on a new generation station - coal powered - with 2 smoke stacks (according to the drawing). Now, we get letters all the time when developers decide they want to do add a parking lot, or change from 2 condo towers to 1 - but we get nothing about a power generator (like the one in Pilsen) until it's a done deal?? Had you guys heard about this? Have other sloopers gotten the same letter? And is there anything we can do about it??

It appears that these letters are just coming out now, but this is new news to us (and we didn't receive the letters presumably because we don't live that close to the site).

Anyone else get the letter or have any background on this new power plant that's coming to the neighborhood?

As you may or may not recall, around the same time last year there was a big fuss from some residents about a BMX tournament coming to this lot. Our guess is that most residents would rather have that than a power plant.

UPDATE, just received this pamphlet from a reader:
(Hat tip: LB & BC!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More Info Emerges about The Scout

It's been a couple of weeks since we've heard anything about The Scout (1301 S. Wabash), a new restaurant/sports bar that is taking the space formerly occupied by Opera. Upon recently talking to a well versed South Loop resident he mentioned that their was a new write-up circling around the internets.

Lo and behold, it's from Metromix and it does shine some more light on the impending opening and concept:

Paving the way for modern sports bars in the South Loop, this tavern and restaurant goes beyond your average beer-and-shot spot, and will be a welcome addition when it opens its doors in early June 2011. "I got tired of waiting for someone to open a sports bar in the neighborhood, so we decided to do it ourselves," said co-owner Chris Bravos, also of The Pony.

A couple quick comments on the statement above. One, does Chris Bravos live in the Sloop? Two, there are some sports bar already. Three, it sounds like the rumored May opening isn't happening.

Regardless, this doesn't curb our excitement for The Scout (and it sounds like others based on this poll we did a couple weeks ago). We've been impressed by their new bar/restaurant Frontier in West Town and have heard positive things about the Pony as well.

The post also goes into the vibe they're going to be shooting for:

On weekend nights, you’ll find crowds cutting loose to a DJ, but during the week it'll be more low-key, with smaller groups of friends sipping on signature cocktails or from the extensive brew list featuring craft microbeers. During the warmer months, dining on the outdoor patio sweetens the deal.

DJ? That will be a change for the Sloop...and although it seems questionable, some energy south of Roosevelt will be good in our opinion. The other interesting/awesome thing is that we're glad to here about plans for the outdoor patio. According to Metromix, there will be outside patio seating for 45 people. Wow that seems like a lot, but wow does that seem great. We would assume that means that there will be seating on Wabash and 13th. Should be a welcome scene for this stretch and an improvement over Opera's outside seating (which was there but never very busy).

(Hat tip: JM & random cell phone number!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Update from Upstairs: Pita Heaven and Sanctuary

Sorry for the religious jokes, but we can't help it (see old post on Pita Heaven).

Anyway, a reader recently asked what the hell is up with Pita Heaven. We walk by frequently and it appeared that there wasn't much movement inside. However, upon a recent stroll past and a peak inside, it appears they have tables and booths inside now (we apologize for the picture put it was the best we could do):

This is a good sign and hopefully means that things are progressing (even if it's at a slower pace than we wish). It looks nice inside, so hopefully this means the falafel will match the quality of the decor.

On another note, we posted about two of the retail spaces at 1400 S. Michigan being built out. It was pretty clear that one would be a restaurant/breakfast spot, but the other one was a mystery. We heard a rumor that it might be an electronics/computer repair store, but a reader sent us this email about a sign on the window:
While at the bust stop today I saw a lit of "activity" (i.e., work being done) at the retail space at 1400 S. Michigan (the building where I live) and there was a sign outside that read "Sanctuary".
Unfortunately, I was running late and did not have time to investigate further, but thought you would be interested in the info.
Interesting. Originally we thought this might be a religious institution, but that was probably silly. Could it be a spa? Anyone know about this new place?

(Hat tip: SB!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: Stikman

The mysterious Stikman just north of the Sloop at Michigan and Van Buren. Supposedly these are all around the world according to a couple stories that we found. Good to have this little guy in close proximity to the Sloop!
Here is a shot from a Washington Post article:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mad Props to South Coast for Raising $17K for Japan

Upon a visit to South Coast Sushi last night, we read a sign that South Coast (1700 S. Michigan) and their sister restaurant Coast in Bucktown has raised over $17,000 for the disaster in Japan. Pretty impressive considering they've only been doing this for a couple of weeks.

For those who haven't been, they have a special sushi roll where all the proceeds goes to the disaster.

Well done and mad props to South Coast and everyone who contributed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Farmers Market for the South End of Grant Park

We received numerous comments and emails from readers yesterday who were understandably excited about a Tribune article that talks about a potential Farmers Market coming to the south end of Grant Park:

Bensidoun USA -– the same company that operates a French Market in the Ogilvie Transportation Center –- is in negotiations with the Chicago Park District to manage a seasonal farmers market along Michigan Avenue near the south end of the park.

The market could be up and running as early as Memorial Day Weekend, and stay open through October, according to park district spokeswoman Zvezdana Kubat.

Wow that would be fast and wow would that be great! The only weird thing is that the article says that it would only be open on Fridays from 7am - 1pm. Tough hours for people who work, but still it would be great for the area!

(Hat tip: JG, LH!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gioco to Open Next Week? or Not? Who Knows...

We've been closely monitoring the drama around Gioco when it closed a couple of weeks ago. Besides a couple articles in some newspapers and an email from one of the owners we haven't heard anything else. They have been updating signs in the window which as a result has been giving local residents a sense of their plans.

Back on March 24th their was the ominous first sign. Then a more encouraging sign on April 5th. And today we got word of a new sign that is the most definitive one yet:

Ironically, this coincides with an article today in the Chicago Journal that doesn't make you confident that they're opening anytime soon:

But Gioco still has serious tax issues that are unresolved, said Illinois Department of Revenue Spokeswoman Susan Hofer. KDK also needs to pay the back sales taxes from Red Light before it can get the go-ahead to reopen.

“Our goal is not to shut down restaurants or take away liquor licenses of thriving restaurants,” Hofer said, but the amount of money Gioco and Red Light owed the state was substantial. “If it had been a couple bucks, we wouldn’t have shut them down.”

So who knows...I guess we will wait and see what happens next week!

(hat tip: ND!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In Search of a Pick-up Soccer Game

We've posted about recreational sports in the past, but recently received another email from a reader in search of a soccer game:

I’d love if there was a post-work pickup soccer or basketball game option in the South Loop. Soccer especially. is mostly spam, and something like this would bond the community I think. Plus, I have at least 3 friends who would regularly join in. Summertime is ideal for this.

Although we don't know of anything off the top of our head, we have noticed that their seems to be regular pick-up soccer games on the weekend just north of the Agora statues (so essentially at 11th and Michigan). Does anyone know if these are organized or are they truly impromptu?

(Hat tip: MP!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Support the South Loop Elementary School

A reader writes about the importance of our local schools and why we need raises additional funds:

When looking at successful neighborhoods throughout Chicago, it can be noticed that a thriving neighborhood public school invigorates a community and boosts property values. The South Loop neighborhood is lucky to have one of these schools.

South Loop Elementary School, a PK-8 institution tucked away in two locations on Archer/Dearborn (PK and K) and Dearborn Park II (1-8th Grades) is our neighborhood's public elementary school. It has both a neighborhood academic program (attendance area is north of 18th Street, south of Randolph, east of Chicago River and west of Lake Michigan) and a prestigious city-wide Regional Gifted Center.

Consistently being rated one of Chicago's best academic models, South Loop Elementary School is more than a school. It's a diverse learning community of students, families and educational leaders who value and support a high-quality learning environment for everyone. The number of students who meet or exceed state standards increased to 91% in 2009. This is an outstanding achievement that is a testament to our valued staff, administration, parents and families. Together we have created a school of choice for our neighborhood and for the city at large.

Unfortunately, celebrated academic achievement and increased enrollment does not bring the school more public funding. In fact, government funds are decreasing. As such, South Loop School administration must choose how to most effectively allot limited resources so that our school and children continue to succeed and thrive at unparalleled levels. Private fundraising and local partnerships are of utmost importance.

Friends and Family of South Loop School, Inc., a non-profit 501c3 organization established to enhance the educational experience of students at South Loop Elementary School, will host its 8th annual Spring Benefit on May 6th. The event is at Pazzo's at 6PM and we welcome all members of the community to attend. Tickets and information are available on the school website.

This is the major fundraiser for our school and all proceeds from the event will benefit the school by providing funds for educational programs, school improvements, and classroom supplies. This year, the primary focus is to raise money to fund a full-time band teacher for next year and to purchase updated technology for the classrooms. Please consider sponsoring our endeavor, or donating an item or two for our silent auction so that we can utilize those funds to provide resources not available through the normal school budget but required to enhance the education of our children. Questions can be emailed to

On behalf of Friends and Family of South Loop School, and particularly our over 600 PK-8th grade students, we thank you for your interest and support. To find out more about South Loop Elementary School please visit our web site at Registration has begun for the 2011-2012 school year!
(Hat tip: RAF!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heard Around the Sloop: Trader Joe's to Open in the Fall

A reader writes:
One of the construction workers at the Trader Joe's site told me today that he estimates that the parking garage will be done in August and the actual store in September or October.
That seems reasonable and feasible to us, but haven't heard anything formal about the actual opening. Stay tuned, we will be following this one closely! (Hat tip: BH!)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Entourage Man Taken Over By Sherrif

A reader writes about Entourage Man (1355 S. Michigan):

So I noticed that the owners of the clothing store Entourage at 14th and Michigan were evicted. Any idea as to what happened? Nosey minds want to know!

Unfortunately we don't know, but did take this pictures as confirmation:

When walking by you don't see many people inside, but it always looked nice.

(Hat tip: ND & CH!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Eleven City Dinner on Cooking Channel this Sunday, 4/17

SOUTH LOOP—Tune in to Cooking Channel's Unique Eats Sunday night to catch Eleven City Diner on their special "deli" episode. If you miss it Sunday night, it'll re-run throughout April. [EaterWire]
(Image from flickr)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wal-Mart's and the City - Could the South Loop be Next?

If you're in touch with the local news, you must have noticed the big hoo-ha about Wal-Mart and their foray into various neighborhoods around the city.

As far as we know and have read, Wal-Mart is in the process of opening "mini-stores" throughout the city. By mini they mean smaller than the standard suburban Wal-Mart's. Anyway, the first store is underway in the West Loop at the Presidential Towers (555 W. Madison) and there has been quite a bit of recent outrage about a similar store coming to Lakeview (Broadway and Surf).

Finally, we just read in the Tribune that Wal-Mart is also looking at a River North location (225 W. Chicago). So it seems like Wal-Mart is aggressively pursuing expansion into the city, so as a blog that focuses on the South Loop, we naturally are left to ponder could the Sloop be next?

At this point, it seems like our neighborhood is quite saturated with big box groceries. Look at Roosevelt road. When Trade Joe's opens (whenever that may be), we will have five different large scale grocery stores servicing the neighborhood within 1 mile of each other (Dominick's, Whole Foods, Target, Jewel and Trader Joe's).

Could our neighborhood support another? Would it be on Roosevelt (which naturally seems to make sense)? Or would it be further south (maybe where the old ickes homes used to be)? Would this be good for the neighborhood? or Would this be bad?

We know people have strong feelings towards Wal-Mart, but let us know your thoughts. We haven't heard any plans about them coming to the Sloop, but it's natural to wonder.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So What is the Monkey Bar Gym?

We've had a couple of posts about the recently opened Monkey Bar Gym (2255 S. Michigan), but to be honest we've never really been able to wrap our head around what it truly is. After watching these videos via WGN, we have a better sense: The idea of working out like nature intended (not by isolating muscles with machines) is an interesting concept. Maybe we will have to try it out sometime. Has anyone been there? How did it go? (Hat tip: SoloMotorRow)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Museum Campus to Learn Today if it Gets New Shuttle

Today is a big day for the museum campus as the Adler Planetarium learns whether or not it will be receiving one of the soon to be retired space shuttles. We posted about this story a couple of weeks ago and it seems like there is a good chance we could get one.

The Trib has a good article summing up the competition, but what we found most interesting was the plan on how they would get the shuttle to the museum:

The shuttles will be delivered atop a Boeing 747 transporter. If the delivery were made to O'Hare International Airport, the problem would be how to get the shuttle to Adler's lakefront campus. So Adler has identified three other airports near Lake Michigan that have runways long enough for the plane to land, and from which the shuttle could be delivered to Adler aboard a barge, Knappenberger said.

NASA wants to deliver all four shuttles no later than September 2012, Knappenberger said. Adler would either store the shuttle in an airport hangar or build a temporary hangar at the old Meigs Field until completion of its permanent home, which would be built atop a parking lot next to the museum.

Update: So much for that. Chicago lost to Washington D.C., NYC, LA and Orlando. Above we said "it seems like there is a good chance we could get one". Apparently we're not very good at handicapping competitions to bring space shuttles to cities. Sorry.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where to Go if You're Looking for Vegetarian Options?

We don't talk about Vegetarian options in the South Loop very much (mostly because we enjoy some meat), but recently read a review on the Chicagoist talking about Hackney's Vegetarian options and their Black Bean Burger:
When it comes to cozy little chains with a neighborhood feel, Hackney's is one of those rare gems that really knows how to treat vegetarians. In fact, they offer 7 entrees specifically designed to please the meat-free crowd. One of those is their signature Black Bean Burger. It is a generously large patty of black beans and other veggies, served on your choice of rolls and piled high with lettuce, tomatoes, and onion. We say "other" because Hackney's is fairly tight-lipped about what else is in their recipe. Then again, it may have been that our server just was not sure. When it comes to dining however, we will take mystery over forgetfulness any day.
Anyway, what are some other favorite restaurants and Vegetarian dishes for those of you who prefer the vegetarian option in the South Loop? (image from chicagoist)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Marquee Tries to Sell Remaining Units as Condos

Most of the units at the highrise Marquee (1464 S. Michigan) are condos, but given the fact that the building came on the market essentially as the bubble burst, they had issues selling their final units. With this predicament in 2008, the developer opted to rent out the remaining units.

Well according to a recent story from Chicago Magazine, once the leases on the rentals expire, the units will once again try to be sold as condos:

When the 20-story condo tower Marquee, at 1464 South Michigan Avenue, was completed in 2008, about 85 percent of its 208 units had been sold. The developer, Sedgwick Properties, rented out many of the unsold units, but with their leases expiring, those homes are once again for sale. Prices have been cut 3 to 5 percent on the 35 remaining condos (not all of which were rented out), and Tim Sheehan, the Conlon agent selling them, emphasizes that further bargains are a possibility. “Parking spaces were $35,000, but we’re considering that a negotiable,” he says.

Never a dull moment in the real estate market around the Sloop. This seems to buck the trend as far as we can tell. If you're a real estate expert reading this post, please give us some theories as to why the change or heart (especially since we continually read that the rental market is the hot).

Friday, April 8, 2011

Construction Begins for New Jones College Prep School

Another massive construction project appears to have begun as we recently received some pictures of machines digging at the new Jones College Prep plot (606 S. State all the way down to Polk):
In case you're wondering what this space is going to look like, here is a rendering:

Definitely looks better than the empty lot. Last we read the school would be ready to open in the fall of 2013.

(Rendering from Gazette Chicago)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Busy Times at Some of the South Loop's Finest

There has been a lot of doom and gloom around some recent businesses and restaurants closing, but not all is bad in the hood. While some restaurants have been struggling, others seem to be thriving.

We recently had a two dinners at South Coast Sushi (obviously on two different nights) and the place was packed both times. Once there was a wait, which we've never had before, and the second time the only seating available was at the sushi bar. We tend to prefer a regular table, but opted for the different experience at the bar. Although it wasn't what we typically like, we were happy to see one of our favorite restaurants doing well. Good for them!

Last week, we had a friend coming down to the Sloop and decided we would hit up Flo & Santos. We know it's a good place, but our guest had never been. We told her we would pick up the bill, but made her send us her thoughts on the place (there is no such thing as a free lunch/dinner):
We visited South Loop favorite Flo and Santos on a busy, recent Thursday night but we found out that the restaurant is always busy. We arrived on the earlier side -- 630pm -- and their was a wait.

Our server was pleasant and interested in helping us but one member of our party knew to order pizza almost as soon as we were seated because pizza takes longer. One downside was the location of our booth -- we were the last booth before the restrooms and we were right next to the carry-out order pickup and cash register -- so there was a lot of traffic nearby. Luckily there were only 3 of us in our party so we had plenty of room in a booth sized for 6 or more.

Two of us had a pizza with chicken and pineapple but weren't wow-ed with it (probably because it's a slightly weird combo). I had a burger and it was top-notch. I liked the pretzel bun and the waffle fries were done just right. I asked for the burger medium rare and they did it medium rare! I've been to a lot of places lately where you ask for your meat medium rare and it comes medium. I'm not sure if that's a safety issue but why would they ask my preference if they're not going to make it the way I asked. Flo and Santos was 100% on!

The beer was excellent. Two of us had the special, Magic Hat #9. One funny part of the evening was that they gave us an unopened ketchup, so I opened it. Our keen-eyed server noticed this and immediately came over to give me an open bottle saying that I didn't have to do that. I was impressed with her speed and attention.

The menu looked exciting and unique. How many places have you been to that serve Polish and Italian food. I would go back and try more of the Polish fare. The ambiance was jovial -- there were TVs with sports showing -- and it wasn't too loud inside. The place is small -- the website boasts there are seats for 67 people, but that doesn't seems a little high. The art on the walls included old south loop photos from the early 1900s. Flo and Santos is the kind of place you can go back to and order a new item each time you're there. The art combined with the food and excellent service made the evening! I recommend it.
(Hat Tip: D$!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Let There Be Light...on Day 14"

If you've walked by Gioco over the past two weeks you've been greeted by darkness and ominous signs on the windows. There were statements in the press about Gioco re-opening, but when was not stated. Well if you were walking by yesterday evening (4/4), you found a different scene and some reasons for optimism. Lights on, chefs and workers doing stuff inside, and new signs on the windows stating: Needless to say this is encouraging and from what we can tell great news that most everyone in the neighborhood should be excited about.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Does the South Loop Need a Master Plan?

A couple of weeks ago we read about a recent master plan that was created for Lakeview. Although it wasn't the most revolutionary or enlightening document we've ever seen, we're sure it's valuable for their neighborhood. After all, long term planning and vision is critical for any business, country, state, city, etc to be viable in the future.

Although the build-up in and around the South Loop was a major emphasis of the city, the question remains what else can be done at the local level to improve the neighborhood?

Back in 2009 we did a couple posts about the Central Area Action Plan which was a large scale city planning document. Although this was a great vision, it seems broad and didn't really discuss specifics. With that in mind we're unaware of any other local documents that have been created to guide the future of the neighborhood (if there are please post a comment). Regardless, we're curious to hear people's thoughts on the subject.

  • What ideas do you have that could make our neighborhood better?

  • How can we encourage businesses to open up shop in the neighborhood?

  • How do we get residents to spend more in the neighborhood?

  • How do we get residents from other neighborhoods to come to the South Loop?

  • What does the South Loop need (types of stores, restaurants, etc)?

  • How can we create events that differentiates our neighborhood from others?

These are just some broad questions to think about. There are definitely more and feel free to post your questions/solutions/ideas in the comments section.

These questions came to mind after we recently spoke to a business owner on South Michigan avenue. He was concerned about the retail/business scene of South Michigan (i.e. - all of recent businesses closing and all of the vacant retail spaces). Although our discussion was brief, it got us thinking of ideas specifically for Michigan Avenue south of Roosevelt.

Our "higher-profile" sibling on the north side is much more glamorous. It's one of the more famous shopping districts in the world (rightfully so). They have world rennowned stores, large scale parades, amazing landscaping, beautiful flowers, and those famous holiday lights. Is there anything that could happen down on our side of Michigan Avenue that would be a consistent big draw or a way to "brand" the neighborhood?

Personally I'm a huge fan of dramatic lighting (see our posts on the beautiful lighting at the Scout and where Trader Joe's is coming in). Could we get all businesses to invest in dramatic, unique lighting on South Michigan (or all around the neighborhood)? Could our neighborhood be the neighborhood of light (think of Paris as inspiration)? Although this seems like it could be hard to pull off, the South Loop needs some radical, unique thinking. We need our neighborhood to rally around a concept and be the "neighborhood of _____".

Anyway, that's just one idea and who knows if it's feasible. Regardless sound off and let us know your ideas. Maybe the lighting idea is crazy, but we want to hear your ideas.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

More Cupcakes Hits Michigan Ave.

A delicious surprise for one reader:
Walking home today (3/31), just on the corner of 13th and Michigan right outside of Sky Grocer, I saw this truck selling cupcakes. "Forever More Cupcakes." First of all, I can't resist cool packaging. They came in Chinese takeout boxes with labels that said "more." I bought a couple, just for the uniqueness of buying cupcakes out of a truck. They were about $3.50 each. The truck was very sleek looking, and there was a display window below the counter of all of the cupcake flavors.

We got a Red Velvet and a Chocolate Hazelnut and they were exceptional!!

We did some more research and am pretty sure that it's a van from More Cupcakes which is located in the gold coast and State and Delaware. We found this pic on twitter and it seems to mirror the one our reader sent. Looks delicious!
(Hat tip: PS!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Obama Convinces Brazil to Give Chicago the 2016 Olympics

Fresh off his trip to Brazil, news has come out that President Obama has convinced Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to pass on the 2016 Olympics and give them to his adopted hometown Chicago.

Besides, the additional tourism and new infrastructure that is sure to come with the event, the most surprising development is that the recently sold Roosevelt Collection building in the South Loop will be converted from rental property to Olympic Village in 2015 (the year before the Olympics come to town).

The news is expected to bolster the downtown and South Loop rental real estate market. The best news of all, is that the new owner of the building, McCaffery and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, has come to terms with the IOC to convert all of the 398,324 square feet of vacant retail space into the worlds largest discotheque to cater to the influx of foreigners who simply love to dance.

An elated, European IOC delegate was quoted as saying, "When it comes down to it, the Sports didn't have much to do with this decision. Simply put, Chicago offers us a better venue for all night dancing. Here we come Chicago!"

UPDATE @10:30am - As a result of this decision and after realizing that they would be the fifth mass retailer to sell groceries on Roosevelt road, Trader Joe's has decided to scrap their plans to open up a store at Roosevelt and Wabash. This comes at a convenient time for the owners of the building as they are now pitching the USOC and Chicago 2016 Olympic team to build the aquatic center at this location since there is a huge hole in the ground where the underground parking was supposed to be.

Various Chicago news organizations are reporting that Olympic officials are weighing proposals for this location and that the frontrunner for this venue is the old Chicago Spire plot.

(Hat tip: AF!)