Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Square One (1400 S. Michigan) Had Its Grand Opening Yesterday

Image from Squareonechicago.com
Square One, the new wine bar at the Southwest corner of Michigan and 14th, had a grand opening event last night (7/30).  Although it had a couple delays in opening (was slated to open in June), that didn't quell the excitement mounting for this new concept.   

We unfortunately couldn't make it, but as we walked by it seemed to be pretty busy.  Inside the the bar area was teaming with people looking to see what this new establishment was all about.  On 14th street there were tables set up and new patrons enjoying the beautiful night.

The countdown clock on their website reads zeros across the board, so it appears that they are officially open.  We know there has been a lot of anticipation across the board for this one and are curious to hear peoples thoughts.

Did anyone go to the grand opening event?  If so, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Glad to have this new place open and interested to try it for ourselves.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lollapalooza Week is Here and Looks Like it Will be Here for Years to Come

Image from NJ.com
It's early August and that means one thing -- Lollapalooza week is here.  While the music and the throngs of people will garner most of the attention (and rightfully so), we always like to take a step back and think about the impact the festival has for Chicago and more specifically the Sloop.

Yesterday the Chicago Sun-Times had a good story talking about Lollapalooza and this topic.  There was some controversy in 2011 as Grant Park took a beating from the festival: 
Last year, a rainstorm combined with high foot traffic on the fest’s final day caused significant turf damage that took weeks to mend. C3 was criticized for its speed in making the repairs, for which it paid $800,000.

But Jones and Kelly have been discussing more long-term infrastructure improvements to the park, specifically in terms of drainage and soil retention — maintenance that Jones likened to “looking under the hood and fixing ’er up.”
“Lower Hutchinson Field has become a premier permitting space for the city,” Kelly said. “The [Avon] Breast Cancer Walk, the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, now Lollapalooza — it’s a big gathering space, and that’s not going to change. We’re going to take a serious look at how we can improve what’s going on at that site, how we can make it great for softball as well as for the semis that roll in and out for these larger events.” 
Under its new terms with the city — a renegotiation that was initiated, Kelly and Jones said, by Jones and his partners, Charles Attal and Charlie Walker — C3 this year will begin paying all city and county sales and amusement taxes. 
Through the previous arrangement, C3 was partnered not with the city itself but with the Parkways Foundation, a non-profit, fund-raising arm of the Park District, which handled all the city permits in exchange for an annual payment from Lollapalooza. Last year, according to the Park District, that amounted to $2.7 million on total ticket sales of $22.5 million.

Beyond improvements to Grant Park and revenue for the city, the Chicago Park District estimates that there is an overall economic impact to the city of $100 million from Lollapalooza.  This is due to out of towners coming to the city and eating, drinking and being merry.  If that's true, a lot of that has to be spent in the South Loop since the festival is in our backyard.

So what do you think?  Is Lollapalooza a good thing for the Sloop?  We think so, but would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: Dirty Run

Monkey Bars Obstacle
Final mud pit before the finish line

Dirty lake Michigan after runners wash off
(Hat tip: JS, MR, KM, CC, ND!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Sloop's Slightly Insulting Chicago Poster

A couple people have sent us the link to the amazingly comical tumblr site, Slightly Insulting Chicago Posters.  It's definitely a good read and a perfect way to spend time on the interwebs on a Friday.  We often talk about neighborhood perception on Sloopin (mostly of the negative variety), so it's interesting to see a "humorous" characterization of the hood:

We are sooooooooo cool and skinny and handsome and...

Anyway, not nearly as insulting as some of the other neighborhoods:

(Hat tip:  KPAX, RCJ, JE & TR!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Well Future Pharmacy is Open and Ready to Serve the Sloop

Back in the beginning of June we posted about a new pharmacy opening up shop at 1442 S. Michigan.  At the time we didn't know much about the spot, but were curious as to what they would offer that was different than the chains in the area.

Well according to their Facebook page, Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan) is officially open for business and ready to serve the South Loop:
Ready, set, here we go! It's opening day !!!! Doors will open at 10am. We are greatful to have so much support from our friends and family !! Thank you all !!
Congrats to them on a quick opening.  We know it's not easy, so glad to see that everything went relatively smoothly.

So the big question on our mind was what makes them different and why should we go to Well Future Pharmacy instead of a big chain.  According to Kushal Patel, the owner and South Loop resident, their goal is to cater to the needs of the neighborhood.  The shop is set up to be flexible and work with residents to fulfill their needs.    

Prime examples include flavoring for children's medicine as well as altering the state of medicine to best suit a customers needs.  For instance if a person has issues with pills they could convert the medicine to liquid form for free.  They also will offer delivery service (free), disposal of medicines (free) and a $4 drug list.

Congrats to Well Future Pharmacy and welcome to the neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alderman Reilly Wants to Ban Segways from Lakefront Path

An old story we couldn't let pass...from the Tribune a couple of weeks ago:
The alderman who represents downtown today called for banning Segways from the lakefront path. 
The two-wheeled electric one-person vehicles that can be rented downtown are being targeted by Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd. 
The proposal calls for fines of $25 to $200 for violators. Police or other officials would be exempted from the ban.
Segways seem so silly to us (see link here).  If this passes, tourists are going to be upset.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Common's South Loop Condo In Foreclosure?

Back in September of 2010 we posted about "living large like a Chicago hip-hop star in the Sloop" in reference to Common's condo that was being rented out at 100 E. 14th.  Well according to the Chicago Sun-Times you wouldn't be living large, you would be foreclosed upon:
The rapper Common now has something in common with many other Americans — he’s a defendant in a foreclosure suit. 
Bank of America has filed suit against the Chicago-born artist and his manager, accusing them of failing to make monthly payments since March on a Near South Side condo. The suit said they owe $345,389.52. 
A publicist for Common said in an emailed statement, “The Chicago property is not being foreclosed on. They have reached an agreement to sell the property to an individual with a closing date set for early August. Bank of America is aware of this fact.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chutney Joe's (511 S. State) Closes

A reader writes:
I received an email from Vijay Puniani with confirmation that Chutney Joe's (511 S. State) is indeed dunzo. The phone is disconnected, the storefront is dark, and the website is filled with repeating logo and no content. Update the business counter. I think Vijay is going to work on Fresh 3 concept (http://fresh3.com/) in Northwest Indiana.
We actually have never been to Chutney Joe's but heard it was decent.  Here are some favorable posts we've done for them in the past (here and here).

It seems like this area is pretty desirable given how many college students live above it.  It will be interesting to see if another fast food type of place comes in.  Hopefully it's something good...

...and fyi - the business counter is updated.

(Hat tip: MC & JK!)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Things Going Well at Flo & Santos

Things are good at one of our favorite spots in the Sloop, Flo & Santos (1310 S. Wabash).  If you're a loyal reader of Sloopin you probably remember a post we did last year confirming that Flo's was expanding their restaurant space back to the alley.

Upon a recent visit we had a chance to take a peek at the space.  The structural components are all done and from what we've been told they're now going to work on the inside.  When it's all said and done it will be a much bigger space.  The intention is to keep the look and feel very similar to what's already been established in the front of building.

Beyond the expansion back, there have been rumors swirling around the neighborhood about a beer garden next door on the vacant space.  While we can't confirm that this is definitely happening, signs point in that direction.  First off, if you've been to the restaurant or walked down Wabash you've probably noticed that their outdoor space has been expanded to include the sidewalk space in-front of the vacant lot:
Expanded outdoor seating at Flo & Santos a sign of things to come?
What does this mean?  We will let you read between the lines...  

Beyond the changes to the space, we continue to be impressed with the most important thing at any restaurant, the food.  Every time we go we've had the luxury of trying something new.  This time it was the "Flying Pork Wings".  All we can say was wow!  Amazingly tender and left us wanting more.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The British School of Chicago Could Be Coming Down to the South Loop

Schooling continues to be a hot topic in the South Loop and yesterday an interesting development came out in the news (behind Chicagobusiness.com's paywall):
Just for years after opening its new Lincoln Park campus, the British School of Chicago is in talks with developer Daniel McCaffery to build a school and athletic fields in the South Loop.
The complicated deal still requires approval of several parties, including the Chicago Park District, neighborhood groups and Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), but the headmaster, Michael Horton, says the private school wants to begin the project as soon as possible.
Construction of the 90,000-square-foot school would be on land just north of Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc.'s Roosevelt Collection mixed-use project at Roosevelt Road and Wells Street, which includes 342 apartments and 340,000 square feet of retail space the developer is trying to fill.
While on the surface this seems like it could be a positive development for the neighborhood, the drawback is that this space was supposed to be developed by the owner of Roosevelt Collection and eventually turned into a public park run by the Chicago Park District.

This plan is far from being approved, but what do you think...is it good to bring the school down to the Sloop?  Obviously it's a private for profit institution, but choice is always good, right?

(Hat tip: MG!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Canady Le Chocolatier Closes Shop on Wabash

A reader sent us this sad news yesterday from Canady Le Chocolatier (824 S. Wabash):
This is too bad.  The store was fun and definitely a unique place in the neighborhood.

Canady le Chocolatier also had a shop at 131 N. Clinton in the Chicago French Market at the Ogilivie Transportation Center.  The reader also let us know:
I ran into Michael Canady last night as he was moving out and he told me that he will just be teaching classes. So I think a new location will be only for that purpose. He closed his stall in the West Loop's French Market as well. Michael is a very creative guy and brilliant in the kitchen, but I don't think retail was his thing. His email is michaelcanady2000@yahoo.com if you want to follow up with him directly. Oh and that's a public email address which you can post if you want.
Best of luck to Michael and his future endeavors!

(Hat tip: MJ!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Intrigue Dance Studios Moving Down to 1937 S. Archer

A reader writes:
There's a new dance studio being built in my building. Intrique Dance (the same one as on Michigan) has put up posters in the window and has it announced on their website:
The walls are up and the floor has been delivered, they seem to be working fast everyday!
As of now the studio is scheduled to open in the first week of August.

(Hat tip: KAD!)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Something New Coming to Printer's Row (724 S. Dearborn)?

A reader writes:
Hi! Any idea what's coming in at 724 S Dearborn? We used to have 3 decent businesses in a row (GNC, Doggie Bath House [724 S Dearborn], and Mediterra) and they all three had "lease issues" and closed. It looks like we are seeing activity in the old Doggie Bath House at 724 S Dearborn, there's a construction permit up in the window with the usual vague "commercial space renovations per plan" or something like that. I hope they put in a nice relevant business for our neighborhood!

Anyone have the scoop?  We looked online but didn't much except this from everyblock:

Issue date
July 6, 2012
Estimated value
Application number
Work type
Renovation / alteration
A reconfiguration of a building's interior or exterior.

(Hat tip:  MS & AD!)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Five Guys Set to Open on Monday (7/16)

A reader sent us the following email:
I just called the Five Guys (1146 S. Wabash) and they said they are opening on Monday 7/16/12! 
Get ready for some burgers and for our business tracker to be updated to #11.

(Hat tip: EH!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: 2br/2bth w/ Amazing View of Lake, Museums, Park, City and Falcon

Unique amenities at Museum Park West
We like these Peregrine falcon pictures/stories, so we're going to follow-up on yesterdays post with some additional information.

First a funny story:
Hi, I work for the real estate company that recently took over the high-rise at Roosevelt and Prairie. Doing a unit walkthrough on the 53rd penthouse unit I spotted your friend a few weeks ago. Attached are a few pictures if you want to add to your recent blog (which we enjoy reading here in the office).
Flying to Museum Park West
Close-up:  Not your average view

Second, Stephanie Ware (from the Field Museum) who has helped keep track of the falcons provides some more information:
Just wanted to let this reader know that the pictures taken by a reader (http://www.sloopin.com/2012/07/sloopy-peregrine-falcon-spotted-again.html) were, indeed, pictures of our resident peregrine falcon juveniles. This year, the south loop pair produced one male and three female offspring. You can see a few pictures of the banding of the chicks and the adult female (Helen) and her mate "Mr. M." here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicago_steph/sets/72157629970779052/ 
This year, the building invited a Chicago Tribune photographer to the banding and he got better shots: http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-120531-falcon-chicks-banded-pictures,0,2540123.photogallery 
We had word from the Indiana group that Sloopy again nested at a lime plant in East Chicago. She and her unbanded mate had four chicks (3F, 1M) and they were banded on May 22nd. I guess naming her Sloopy gave her good luck! All in all, a great season for peregrines! Thanks so much for posting this!
(Hat tip: NA & SW!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sloopy the Peregrine Falcon Spotted Again?

A reader writes:
Looking out my window tonight, I was excited to see 3 hawkish birds flying and drifting and swooping off of 1401 S. State building. 
Before I moved to this neighborhood, I was excited by the exotic bird life my parents experienced with the parrots (Quaker parrots or monk parakeets) at their bird feeder and thrilled by the year of the owls by South Loop School. 
I'm not a birder, so I'm probably more impressed with geographically surprising birds than many would be. But soon after I moved to the South Loop, I was lucky enough to have an adolescent (I'm guessing) Peregrine land on my balcony. I wish I could find pictures of it now...didn't get many, but it was clear that the little lady/feller was working on flying skills with one or two other buddies. 
Today, almost exactly 4 years later, I got that same sense of excitement when I spied a group of three birds acting in a similar way around the 1401 building. They had a more gliding/darting/drafting motion than the many smooth-flying seagulls. Plus, they weren't hellbent on flying straight to the lake. I got a couple of pics with the camera as zoomy as it will go (they were pretty far from me), then ramped it up a notch by trying to catch pics through a small telescope. Not the greatest quality, but I was excited that I was able to make it happen at all.  
It's a beautiful bird.  Maybe it was Sloopy the Peregrine Falcon?

(Hat tip: JN!)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hockey Comes to Soldier Field in 2013

Image from Chicago Tribune
You usually won't see us get excited for the winter, but based on the news that Soldier Field will host a college hockey double header on February 17th, 2013 has us dreaming of the white stuff (via Chicago Tribune):
The details unfurled as expected, with Notre Dame set to face Miami (Ohio) and Minnesota playing Wisconsin in the first hockey games at Soldier Field. Starting times and broadcast details are undetermined.

This, however, remains completely clear: the Chicago Park District's vision of the Hockey City Classic smoothing the ice for an NHL Winter Classic game featuring the Blackhawks. Losing the 2009 event to Wrigley Field was a keen disappointment, and football stadiums will have hosted half of the six Winter Classic games after the 2013 edition at Michigan Stadium. 
"Do I think this could pave the way to a future NHL (Winter Classic)? I certainly think so," Park District general superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said. "I think we're going to pack this place. I think this, at least for one day, will rival a Bears game. I could easily see 57,000, 62,000 people in this stadium going nuts." 
Two weeks of public events will precede the doubleheader, including two days of free public skating. For Soldier Field turf aficionados, yes, the ice sheet will kill the grass beneath it. But a March re-sodding is already in the budget.
A couple things.  

First, it appears that Notre Dame knows someone at Soldier Field.  Besides their hockey team playing here in 2012, their football team will also face off against the Miami Hurricanes in the Sloop on October 6th.

Second, it's going to be fun to do some public skating on the frozen tundra of Soldier Field.  I will warn you though...if I have the chance, I'm going to lay someone out just so I can understand what Urlacher feels like.

(Hat tip: K-PAX!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's Being Built at 1521 S. Wabash?

A reader writes:
Do you know what is happening with the digging in the lot next to 1521 s wabash? It had been used as a parking lot but now they seem to be building more structure under the ground...
We're pretty sure this was a parking lot being used by Old St. Mary's church, but not sure what the plan is for it now.  Does anyone have the scoop?
Google Images picture of parking lot prior to construction

(Hat tip: RP!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bottle and Bottega Coming to 1241 S. Michigan

We got some great news yesterday from numerous readers that Bottle and Bottega was opening up a new store at 1241 S. Michigan (which we think is the old Marble Slab Ice Creamery retail spot).
On August 13, 2012, Bottle and Bottega will be expanding to one of Chicago's fastest growing neighborhoods! Formerly a sparsely populated industrial area, the South Loop is now home to a thriving community of young professionals, students of nearby colleges, and Chicago’s former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
We're thrilled to become part of a neighborhood that features notable historical landmarks such as the 1836 Clarke House, one of Chicago’s oldest residences; a diverse dining scene; blues clubs and other nightlife options; and the convenience of the Museum Campus and Loop a short stroll away.
South Loop address: 1241 S. Michigan (corner of Michigan and Roosevelt).
Public events are scheduled to begin on August 13th. Private events can be booked now for after August 20th. STAY TUNED for details on the GRAND OPENING set for August 29th!
While there are a couple of incorrect things we could point out in this email (former Mayor Daley sold his place...), the reality is that we are ecstatic that they've chosen to open up in the Sloop.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Bottle and Bottega concept, here is a quick synopsis from their website:
Bottle and Bottega, founded in March 2009, is a fun, unique alternative to a typical night out with friends, corporate groups, and for special events. “Our vision is for guests to walk into our studios or our partner venues and feel like they’re having a party in their living room,” says Stephanie King-Myers, President/COO and Co-Owner. 
The unique approach, which combines various forms of hands-on art instruction with a glass of wine, has helped create lasting memories for Bottle & Bottega guests since 2009.

Still confused?  It's essentially an art studio where anyone can come in, learn how to pain and enjoy some drinks while they do it. 

The best part about them opening up a shop on South Michigan, is that it's a brand new concept in the neighborhood.  Yes, there are plenty of places to drink and eat, but drink and paint?  That's something new the Sloop doesn't have.

(Hat tip:  AD, BM, JJ & KM!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jimmy Green's New Party Room Almost Ready to Open

We spend a lot of time on Sloopin talking about new businesses opening, but today we wanted to check-in on a bar/restaurant that's been open for a couple years now, Jimmy Green's (825 S. State).  

Back in December we had a post about Jimmy Green's expanding into the vacant retail space next door (to the North).  Well it appears that most of the heavy construction is now done.  We recently stopped in and the owner gave us a quick tour of the new space.  

The first phase was the expansion of the bar in the front.  The front portion of the bar was a little cramped originally, but the renovations did a great job of opening the space up.  It's much easier to walk around now and there is even an area for bar/video games.

The second phase was a party room (which is technically still closed).  We got a peek inside a couple of weeks ago and it looks great.  While it wasn't completely done when we had our tour, it was classy and everything was brand spanking new.  From the sounds of it, it should be ready to host events anytime now.  Last we heard it would be open in Mid-July (pending some permits and licenses).

Congrats to Jimmy Green's on the expansion and serving the neighborhood well!  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Related Midwest Bullish on the South Loop Real Estate Market

Related Midwest, a prominent developer, has made a big bet on the South Loop.
Some say that Related Midwest’s new partnership to improve three failed South Loop condo projects are a gamble – but president Curt Bailey says he believes the playing field is starting to level off. He announced Monday that he plans to renovate and sell about 500 condominium units in the buildings at 1201 S. Prairie Ave., 1629 S. Prairie Ave. and 1901 S. Calumet Ave. 
He says his company plans on spending more than $2 million to renovate the properties, including about 300 “raw” units. “We’re going to make them look different than anything else in the South Loop,” Bailey says. “I’m a big believer in this submarket.”
You still hear bad things about our real estate 'submarket', but it seems like some of the big boys are still interested.  This is good news and hopefully a sign of things to come.  Only time will tell.

How do you feel about the current state of the South Loop real estate market?

(Hat tip: JJ!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: "Buckle Up"

In case you missed this one, a couple readers sent us pictures of Columbus Drive buckling due to the relentless heat.  This happened on July 4th.  Pretty amazing:
I was at Grant Park tonight watching fireworks when I noticed Columbus Drive, just north of Roosevelt closed off. Initially thought that it was due to 4th of July happenings, but upon closer inspection, the road had buckled!

(Hat tip: LY & GMS!)

How Do You Feel About the "South Loop" Costco Opening?

We've received a bunch of emails and there has been a lot of discussion about the new Costco that just opened at 14th and Ashland.  While we don't consider this to be the Sloop, it's still close enough for many of us to utilize.  A reader writes:
Have you considered an article about how people feel about the "South Loop" Costco? My theory is that those of us who own property will love that its called South Loop Costco until something bad happens. Once someone writes a negative review people will immediately point out that the location is actually University Village. Could be an interesting poll question.
It's interesting.  It seems like a stretch to call this area the South Loop.  Maybe we could call it "Southwest Loop"...that's a joke (a bad one...).  Anyway, what do people think?  Is this reader right?

(Hat tip: VC & CC!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July from Sloopin!

Wishing you a great and patriotic fourth of July!

A youtube video of fireworks shot from a condo in the South Loop:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day Fireworks to take place @ 9pm from Navy Pier

Well it's July 3rd and although it kind of annoying that independence day falls on a Wednesday this year, that doesn't mean you can't get patriotic.

If you're in Chicago and looking for the annual fireworks show they won't be happening tonight (in the past the Chicago firework show was on July 3rd).  Thanks to some budget cuts, this years fireworks will be taking place on July 4th at 9pm from Navy Pier.  The lawn in front of the Field Museum is a great place to watch them and chances are that's where you will find us.

Happy 4th and we will leave you today with a cool video from a plane overlooking the city as fireworks explode all over the place:

Monday, July 2, 2012

With Declining Enrollment Columbia College Adopts "Prioritization" Plan

If you're a resident or frequent visitor to the South Loop, you know that Columbia College has a huge presence in the neighborhood.  Some love it, some hate it, but regardless how you feel it's important to know what's going on with the largest landowner in the area.  And according to the Tribune come things are going to be changin':
The school's enrollment more than quintupled over four decades as it went from renting classroom space in the 1970s to becoming the South Loop's largest landowner. 
But enrollment has slipped each year since 2008 — down this fall nearly 7 percent from a peak of 12,464 — prompting concern at a school that has only recently embraced outside fundraising and is heavily dependent on tuition revenue. When Carter announced a plan for "prioritization" last year, some suspected the process was a means of cost-cutting after decades of expanding budgets. 
The challenges Columbia faces are like those confronting universities across the country. But Columbia has pointedly never considered itself like other schools. 
"Columbia had a lot of artists, people I would consider to be outsiders," said Dan Dinello, a film professor who retired this spring after more than 30 years at Columbia. "Maybe people feel like their livelihoods are threatened. Maybe we thought Columbia was going to grow forever, but it's not a perpetual thing." 
Change, or discussion about change, has upset nearly everyone at Columbia to some degree. Several high-level administrators have departed or were dismissed over the past year, two beloved department chairmen were removed — then reinstated amid campus protests — and Occupy Columbia has staged sit-ins and seeded campus meetings with protesters.
What will this mean for the college?  Who knows.  The South Loop is better with a strong Columbia College.  Hope things get better for them.