Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
A year after a massive storm crippled their curvy South Loop home, River City condo owners are striking back with a lawsuit against the agency that's supposed to prevent flooding.(Hat tip: AS!)
During a two-day storm that dumped as much as 7½ inches on the area in July 2010, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago carelessly failed to open up the locks connecting the Chicago River to Lake Michigan, causing the river to overflow its banks and flood River City, 800 S. Wells St., according to a lawsuit filed by the condominium association for the 448-unit building.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Recently a couple readers left comments saying they noticed some construction going on at the future Ryan McCaskey restaurant, so yesterday we walked by to take a look. Sure enough, they were right.
Besides the cutouts on the Northern wall of the building (which will eventually face a new public park), the inside is also under construction. It still has a way to go, but it's encouraging to see progress on this project.
Last we heard, Ryan McCaskey's unnamed restaurant was slated to open in September. While that might be possible, we imagine it will open later. From what we've heard this restaurant was always tied to the public park that will flank it on the North and last we heard the park opening was pushed to 2012 (which judging by the park area in the picture it seems like 2012 is accurate).
We will remain patient...as long as we continue to see progress. Looking forward to this one as well. Maybe the Red Eye was right, the "South Loop is on the verge of eatery expansion!"
Thursday, July 28, 2011
(Hat tip: SY!)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
McCormick Place officials are moving ahead with long-stalled plans to expand the convention center hotel.Another 461 rooms will be added to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, which currently has 800 rooms, with completion expected mid-2013.
Even more reason to focus on developing Motor Row.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The amazing plans are ambitious and seem unreasonably optimistic to us. Just take a look at the numbers:
The 120-story tower is the centerpiece of a $3.5-billion, 16-million-square-foot development proposed by Bill Davies, the Englishman whoSimply amazing to think something like this is even being proposed right now. Although it seems highly unlikely that this could happen, it would be a game changer. This complex would drastically change the dynamic of the city shifting much more attention and development to the Southwest area of the Loop.
paid $24 million two years ago for the post office, an empty landmark structure that straddles the Congress Parkway on the west side of the river.
Covering 20 acres, the project would include 6.2 million square feet of retail and entertainment space, 7,500 hotel rooms, 2 million square feet of
office space and 3.8 million square feet of residential space, enough for about
1,500 units. It also is to include 12,000 parking spaces that will be free for
The one thing that could give this a shot in the arm would be a casino. There has been a lot of talk about where a casino should go and if this complex could house it, our guess is that it would help make this more realistic. Regardless, it doesn't seem very feasible and we would be amazed to see it happen.
If it does, it would impact the Sloop in ways we can't even imagine. The amount of people that this type of complex would attract would mean a ton of new people invading the surrounding neighborhoods (which is ours). It could be a good thing or it could be bad thing depending on how you feel about the growth of the neighborhood. Realistically we doubt we will ever know because we can't imagine this project really happening. Only time will tell.
Chicagobusiness.com has a good video summarizing the story:
(Hat tip: Jack G!)
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Trader Joe’s, the specialty grocer known among foodies for its fanciful imports, organic foods and $1.99 bottled wines that earned the nickname “Two Buck Chuck,” will open its South Loop store at 1146 S. Wabash on Sept. 9.
Intrigued, we did some more searching and stumbled upon their website (http://www.forevernanasvintageboutique.com/). The about us section provides some background into the boutique:
So this story is about the little girl who refused to conform. I founded a Sorority that still exists today and multiple entrepreneurial businesses as I grew up. I'm Yvette, the owner of Forever Nana's Vintage Boutique. Chicago's First authentic South Loop Vintage experience.
My Lifetime motto: Always a leader never a follower, explains how my interest in the vintage world began.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Hear anything about this year's Bash on Wabash? I've been searching online and can't find much. Typically by now we would have seen posters around the neighborhood promoting the event. What gives?
It's a good question. We usually see stuff by now and after searching the interwebs we didn't find much. The Greater South Loop Association has been the group responsible for this in the past and all we found on their page was outdated information about last years event.
In the comment section of that page, a reader did ask about the dates for the 2011 iteration and an admin said it would be held on August 27th and 28th, 2011. However, that comment was from May 10th of 2011.
Does anyone have the scoop on this years Bash on Wabash?
(Hat tip: LE!)
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
“We have four things on the menu: burgers, wings, chili, and fries. That’s it,” says Asha Mathew, who plans to open The Burger Point (1900 S. State St.; 312-933-7846) with her boyfriend, David Esterline, between mid-August and early September.
• Burgers. Diners can build their own one-third-pound griddle-cooked burger (chicken, turkey, and veggie patties are also available) and order it at in-store iPad kiosks. Or, they can select from predesigned specials, such as the Burger Point (roasted chili peppers, fried egg, smoked bacon, pepper Jack, pretzel roll), the Crunchy (American cheese, potato chips, French onion sauce, brioche), and the Jersey Shore (toasted pepperoni, homemade red sauce, fresh mozzarella, brioche).
• Wings. More than ten sauces will rotate seasonally, including original Buffalo, Three Mile Island (which is spicy), barbecue–honey mustard, and hot garlic.
• Chili. Original recipes for meat and veggie chili were created by Esterline. “David is an enigma,” Mathew says. “No formal training in the kitchen but an amazing talent for food. David is the mastermind behind most of this. Actually, all of this.”
• French fries. “We have a specialty fry. We call it a spiral fry on a stick,” Mathew says. It’s a whole potato, cut into spirals. Conventional sweet potato fries also appear
on the menu.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
We still haven't heard an official date of when the South Loop location is going open, but we wouldn't be surprised to see the doors open by the end of the quarter (maybe September?).
The retail scene in the neighborhood has seemingly been picking up speed over the past couple of months. This is presumably due to a lot of factors (improving economy, increase in residential population in the neighborhood, etc), but could any of this be attributed to the news about Trader Joe's coming to the Sloop?
Seems a little far fetched to associate all of this activity with this chain, but we ran across a post on a Chicago Real Estate blog talking about the new Trader Joe's in Lincoln Park and it's impact on nearby retail:
Not only was Trader Joe's packed on a Friday evening with customers, the popular grocery chain has had another impact: ALL the storefront retail space seems filled on this block by established retailers and services. It's been an impressive transformation with the anchor Trader Joe's leading the way!
Not saying that these are similar situations or that Trader Joe's is responsible for the recent uptick in retail openings in the Sloop, but just throwing it out there for debate.
Regardless, high profile "anchor tenants" are important for neighborhoods and hopefully this encourages other businesses to follow the lead of a proven retailer and open up shop in the Sloop!
(Image from The Chicago Real Estate Local)
Monday, July 18, 2011
Anyway, we had a reader who really wanted a running store in the neighborhood and maybe they're getting their wish.
(Hat tip: JM & ML!)
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Chicagoist's comment about "the coolest basketball courts on the planet at the south end of the South Loop under the Green Line L tracks". For those of you who don't want to watch the entire video, you will see the shot at 2:47.
Ironically, we were just walking by the courts recently and some out of town friends commented that "those are pretty Chicago". Indeed. We also noticed something interesting about these courts this past Friday at Midnight. When walking by there were probably 20-30 Asian kids playing.
Anyway, these courts are pretty sweet and have been used many times in basketball commercials. Here is a link to a post we did showcasing an Addidas Derrick Rose commercial and here is a link to a Gatorade commercial for a special edition Michael Jordan drink.
FYI - there is also a nice shot of one of the South Loop's most prominent high-rises, One Museum Park, overlooking Grant Park at 3:24. Pretty stuff.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
After talking to a source, it sounds like they won't be open on that Monday but are shooting to open on Tuesday, August 2nd. That is if everything goes according to plan.
Metromix (who is owned by Tribune, who also owns RedEye) seems to have a more accurate account on the opening of the Scout. On their website it says early August as well.
So it sounds like it will be soon...and judging by all the people we see peeking inside it seems like everyone is excited to see this place open.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Charges are pending against three people arrested after a mugging early Thursday in the South Loop, the latest in a series of strong-armed robberies that prompted a community alert for the Near South Side neighborhood.
Two men and a woman were arrested by a Belmont Area mission team early Thursday and felony charges are pending after they allegedly knocked down and
robbed a 27-year-old woman at 12:30 a.m. at 1439 S. Prairie Ave., according to Central District police Lt. Robert Klich.
Well that appears to be true as reported on by the Chicago Journal today:
A farmers market slated for the south end of Grant Park, which had been scheduled to launch by the beginning of June, is still in limbo as its operator remains mired in contract negotiations with the Chicago Park District.Hopefully they can figure this out!
At a meeting of the Grant Park Conservancy held on May 10, market organizer Bensidoun USA and the park district’s concessions team said they were close to inking a deal to launch the market by June.
However, as mid-July rolls around with no market in sight, Bensidoun Midwest Manager Leslie Cahill says things have been put on hold as they try to hammer out their contract with the park district.
While walking my dog this morning, I noticed a man with a tape measure in front of Grace O'Malley's old location. Being the nosy neighbor I am, I walked across the street and asked if something new was coming.
He said it was going to be an Italian restaurant called "Enrico's". I didn't want to pry too much.
While I was hoping for another Irish pub (albeit one with better service than Grace's), I am happy to see another sign of life on our street.
Well thanks for prying a little, because we're happy to hear this.
It's been awhile since we heard anything about this space (March'ish time frame), but hopefully this is true and we get another option for this area. If we had our druthers it would be similar concept/quality to the Pasta Bowl up in Lincoln Park. Not the best Italian in the world, but affordable and pretty tasty.
With the new restaurant Waffles opening next door and Sanctuary on Michigan opening as well, the retail on the 1400 block of Michigan is starting to take shape nicely.
(Hat tip: JY!)
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Detective Division – Area Three
Wanted for Strong Arm Robbery1st District
Alert # 630-11-022
July 12, 2011
About This Crime
In these incidents, offenders exit a vehicle, approach the victims from behind, knock them to the ground and take their valuables. These robberies have occurred within the following area: from Roosevelt Rd. to 18th St. and between Prairie Ave. and Michigan Ave.
About The Offenders
Three to four male black offenders, 18 to 25 years old, 5'10" to 6'01" tall, 140 to 200 lbs.,wearing dark clothing. A female black, 16 to 19 years old, 5'08" to 5'10" tall, 120 to 130 lbs, has accompanied the offenders in at least one of the incidents
What You Can Do
Be aware of your surroundings. Travel in groups. Do not display I-Pods, cell phones or anything of value as you are walking. Contact the Chicago Police Department if you observe suspicious activity at 911 or contact the Area 3 Robbery/Burglary/Theft Crimes Unit
If you have any information about this incident,Please call the Area 3 Detective Division at (312) 744-8263
If you're not familiar with Powers, it is a comic book that started in 2000 from Image Comics, and is currently being released through Marvel's Icon imprint. It follows Detective Walker and Pilgrim as they solve cases involving super-powered individuals. The series is one of the best comics of the last decade (or so) and is one of the books that put Bendis on the map as a comic book writer and got him the big work he does for Marvel these days.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Well, this property might have a future, but mostly due to it's historical significance. A reader recently sent us an interesting Chicago Sun-Times article that provides some historical background on this property:
Vee Jay Records began operations on this site (1449 S. Michigan) in 1960.Wow, we had know idea about the history of this building, but glad to hear this now. The article goes onto to give some great historical details and if you're into things like this would highly suggest a read.
The Beatles’ first American release was on Vee Jay. Their Vee Jay ’45 “Please Please Me/Ask Me Why” was released in February 1963 as the Beattles.
The Four Seasons hits “Sherry” and “Walk Like a Man” were with Vee Jay. The Staple Singers recorded their first gospel hit “Uncloudy Day” in 1962 with Vee Jay. The first album ever certified in a Gold jazz category was recorded at Vee Jay: “Exodus to Jazz” by Eddie Harris.
Vee Jay went bankrupt in 1966 and the building was sold to Brunswick Records, headed by Chicago producer Carl Davis. Brunswick recorded The Chi-Lites, Jackie Wilson, Tyrone Davis and the Young-Holt Trio. Brunswick left the building in 1976 for the North Side and the label went under in 1981.
The musician’s group wants to make the site a museum and working studio, similar to the Stax Museum in Memphis, Tenn.
The Carl Davis Music Foundation will attempt to buy the building. It is listed at $925,000. The group is working with Chicago attorney Linda Mensch to establish non-for-profit status.
It sounds like Alderman Fioretti is behind this project as well:
“That is one of the few remaining record houses and the beginning of record and auto row,” said Fioretti, who has met with the foundation group. “A couple microbreweries and a couple of name rock ‘n’ roll bands are looking to buy buildings in the district. The bands would use them as studios and restaurants. We reinstituted the TIF there and are looking to build three hotels in that area. The Brunswick-Vee Jay building could be a destination area.”A very encouraging sign for this property and something we would love to see.
However, another interesting thing stands out in Fioretti's comment. Did he say that "a couple of name rock 'n' roll bands are looking to buy buildings in the district"? Name rock 'n' roll bands? What could this mean? It sounds so sexy and promising. Could this be something like Wilco's Loft in the Irving Park neighborhood on the North Side? We will try to resist our excitement, but it would be great to see the area attach itself to music as opposed to autos.
Ironically, the timing of this story coincides with a post we did a couple weeks back talking about Fioretti's work on making Motor Row an entertainment district. The big news then was that a brewery would be moving into the neighborhood on the 2300 block of South Michigan.
This is all very promising and something we would love to see happen for the neighborhood and South Michigan Avenue. However, talk is cheap. Before we get too excited let's see something tangible happen.
But if we can steal a line from the Beattles first American album that was distributed by the South Loop's Vee-Jay records, "Please Please Me" and build South Michigan into an Entertainment District:
(Hat tip: CL!)
Saturday, July 9, 2011
So there isn't much information on the interwebs about this new spot, but we would presume it's a restaurant that mixes Spanish and American food (we could be wrong, but if so...maybe a different name would be better).Does anyone know anything about this? Great to see another place coming soon...seems like there are new places popping up left and right!
One more thing to note about this complex. It also appears that a Panda Express is going to moving in next to Chutney Joe's. College kids love cheap, greasy, fast Chinese!
When Spanglish opens in September in the South Loop, its menu will echo the eats served at La Cocina (which the owners also run): Mexican favorites like tostadas, fajitas, cactus salad and fish tacos. Dishes will be priced for $10 or less and come with complimentary chips and mild green or spicy red salsa; the eatery will also offer vegetarian-friendly refried black beans and huevos rancheros for breakfast. But don't expect to see photos of distant Mexican locales on the walls: 3-by-5 foot lightboxes will showcase black-and-white photos of Mexican-American neighborhoods in Chicago, Texas and other states.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Here at Urban Pantry, we offer a unique grocery shopping experience which sets us apart from other corner grocery stores. We have revamped the corner grocery store business model to create a modern and premier pantry that will suit your urban lifestyle. Here you will find fresh breads and pastries baked in local bakeries, vegetables and fruits grown in local farms along with other grocery essentials.
You can start your morning with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a cappuccino from South Loop's first Caribou Coffee. You can even end it with a glass of wine selected from our wine cellar. In addition to our long open hours, we also provide the option of online ordering with home delivery and curbside pick-up. The advantage of being a local grocer means you will receive your essentials on the same day and at a time when you are home, not when we have an open slot!
In addition to this online portal, we have launched a unique GBT (Grocery by Text) feature where you can order your groceries by text. With such unique services, we hope that you will find us as a superior alternative to other markets in the Solo. We look forward to becoming an integral part of your daily life!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
There seemed to be a bunch of media types at the event, so if we read anything interesting we will throw up a link for you to get more background.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
One follow up question for you – any update on the farmers market that was proposed for the south end of Grant Park?
We were pretty pumped for this (and we know many readers were as well), but haven't heard a peep about it in awhile. The last thing we posted was a Tribune article in late April. And the last thing we've read about was a Chicago Journal article in May.
The Chicago Journal article made it sound like this was a done deal and even stated that it was supposed to start in June:
The Chicago Park District unveiled its plans Tuesday for a farmers market on the south end of Grant Park, slated to start this June.Well July just started and as far as we can see no new news on the market.
Anyone got the scoop on this?
(Hat tip: AL!)
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Yay America, Happy Fourth!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
The impressive light fixtures have been created from salvaged materials, using film stock from the original Alic and Wonderland animated movie, the floors are non-toxic, antibacterial and non-allergenic and the chairs from the Chef's table are made of old seatbelts, just to mention a few of the design features.