Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Final Sloopin Business Tracker: +25 Businesses Opened

As we bid adieu to 2012, we wanted to wrap up the year with a final post on a new feature we added this year -- our business tracker.

In terms of raw numbers it was a good year.  By our records, there were a net 25 businesses that opened in the neighborhood.  Pretty impressive if you ask us.

One big knock on the neighborhood historically was that we don't have a ton of eating, drinking and "entertainment" options.  While we don't really buy that, 2012 saw some solid additions.

Anyway, here is the final list:

Opened in 2012
1. Brasserie by LM (800 S. Michigan)
2. Lofty Aspirations (1934 S. Wabash)
3. Velvet Lounge (67 E. Cermak)
4. Metropolitan Veterinarian Clinic (1556 S. Michigan)
5. Pet Grooming (1400 S. Michigan)
6. Papa Johns (80 E. Cermak)
7. Cardinal International (71 E. 16th)
8. Put it On (1319 S. Michigan)
9. The Foundry (730 S. Clark)
10. Chicago Whole Wellness Center (1845 S. Michigan)
11. Urban Grocers (State and Polk) 
12. Smoothies (910 S. Michigan)
13. DQ Luxury Relaxation Retreat (910 S. Michigan)
14. Gino's East (521 S. Dearborn)
15. City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan - old Grace O’Malley’s)
16. Five Guys (1146 S. Wabash)
17. Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan)
18. Square One (1400 S. Michigan)
19. Alain's (1355 S. Michigan)
20. America’s Dog (1221 S. Wabash)
21. Bottle and Bottega (1241 S. Michigan)
22. Pita Belly (606 S. Wabash)
23. Chicago Health Elements (77 E. 16th)
24. Sloop Dental (1440 S. Michigan)
25. Spa Anjou  (724 S. Dearborn)
26. Artist's Cafe (1150 S. Wabash)
27. Chicago Group Dental (1556, S. Michigan)
28. Annie's Accents (1237 S. Michigan)
29. Chicago Ink & Toner (824 S. Wabash)
30. The Venue (1550 S. State)
31. Karamela Cafe (1250 S. Michigan)
32. Lacuna Fitness (645 S. Clark)
33. Toppers Pizza (2 E. Eighth Street)
34. Cali's Mexican American Grill (2333 S. Michigan)
35. The Bedding Experts (State and Roosevelt)
36. Equilibrium Health + Wellness (1509 S. State)
37. Urban Counter (1221 S. Wabash)
38. Sport Clips (10 E. Harrison)
39. South Loop Market - Prairie (1331 S. Prairie Ave)
40. MJ Nail and Hair Salon (2015 S. Indiana)
41. Hopscotch (Block of 2000 S. Indiana)

Closed in 2012
1. Three Peas Art Lounge (75 E. 16th)
2. Marble Slab Ice Creamery (1241 S. Michigan)
3. House of Sole (1237 S. Michigan)
4. New City Bank (900 S. Michigan)
5. Britten Chicago (1420 S. Michigan)
6. Canady le Chocolatier (824 S. Wabash)
7. Chutney Joe's (511 S. State) 
8. Marcel Florist (1471 S. Michigan)
9. Cartridge World (27 E. Harrison)
10. Printer's Row Rare and Fine Books (715 S. Dearborn)
11. Villains Bar and Grill (649 S. Clark)
12. Alain's (1355 S. Michigan)
13. Custom House Tavern (500 S. Dearborn)
14. H+ Records (730 S. Dearborn)
15. Edwardo's (521 S. Dearborn)
16. America’s Dog (1221 S. Wabash)

We will be continuing to track businesses opening and closing in 2013, so please let us know if you hear or see anything in the new year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: Bricks and Paint

(Hat tip: VM!)

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #1 - Mariano's Begins Construction

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#1:  Mariano's Construction Commences
Our number one story of the year based on traffic to Sloopin was about Mariano's, the highly popular grocery chain that is coming to the empty lot on Clark between 16th and 17th.

News of this development began back in September of 2011 in an article by the Chicago Journal.  We then got an anonymous tipster who sent us various renderings of the new building.

Roundy's, the parent company of Mariano's, had a community meeting in March where they confirmed some of the information we received as well as provided some additional info.  They also let us know that construction was going to begin in late Summer.

Sure enough, in late September construction began.  While we haven't heard an official opening date, rumors have the store opening in 2014.  We will see and keep you posted as we hear more.

Interestingly, the recently opened West Loop Mariano's seems to be going well.  YoChicago had a recent post where the wondered if Mariano's was going to positively impact real estate prices in the area.  It's speculative, but we're curious to see if our Mariano's helps the prices in the surrounding area.

We've still never been to a Mariano's, but everyone who we talk continues to gush about the stores.  They say it's Whole Foods quality at a way cheaper price.  Sounds intriguing to us!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #2 - Roosevelt Collection

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.
Old Picture of Roosevelt Collection

#2:  Roosevelt Collection and its Retail
Like 2011, retail was a big story for the Sloop this year and it wouldn't be complete if Roosevelt Collection wasn't mentioned.  We've done our fair share of coverage on this topic, and won't bore you with all of the post, but needless to say, there was some big news coming out of Roosevelt Collection in 2012.

As many of you know, McCaffery Interests bought Roosevelt Collection way back in June of 2011.  In our opinion this was a good thing.  The development needed some fresh blood and a new team committed to making this project work.  We also like the fact that Magic Johnson was involved with it (however, not sure how much he was really involved).

In August of 2011 we heard plans to demolish the buildings in the middle of the complex and build out a more pedestrian friendly area.  Again a step in the right direction if you ask us.

Then in February of 2012, Dan McCaffery announced his goal that:
Construction on the property will begin immediately so that we can stay on track to host a Grand Opening before November 1st of this year. In addition to having construction complete by that time, we plan to have 75% of our retail stores leased and opening as well. Our team is working diligently to secure retailers so that we will have more exciting announcements to come.
A bold statement, but something that made us and others excited.  As construction moved forward, rumors began to emerge and we were getting a lot of tips from a variety of people.

In April, a reader posted that rumor on the street was that RC had signed up 18 impressive retail tenants.  We pondered that it may be a late April fools joke, but again we were excited (as you can see it doesn't take much to get us excited).

Than the mother of all rumors came out.  An Apple Store was coming to Roosevelt Collection!  Brigid Sweeney, a blogger at Crain's, even had a post stating that Alderman Fioretti had confirmed this.  McCaffery and Fioretti quickly backed down from this statement though.

As the November 1st goal was rapidly approaching, YardHouse a popular bar/restaurant chain listed a location at Roosevelt Collection on their website in August.  However after we posted our story, the restaurant took down their listing.

Months went on and the excitement built.  November 1st came............but we didn't hear anything.

Then on November 9th we got an invitation to come to an announcement on November 28th about retail at Roosevelt Collection.  Obviously we obliged.  

Before that though, it was leaked that Fleet Feet would open at RC.  People were excited!

And then finally, we heard a full list of retailers that had signed leases:

A solid list indeed and definitely provides reason to be excited.  However, there wasn't an Apple store and Yard House was missing as well.  The McCaffery team went on to state that they will also hope to have some additional announcements in the spring.  The other thing to note is that these stores won't open until the Autumn 2013...

If that wasn't enough of a Roosevelt Collection update for you, we also just read in December that they are trying to get city permission to build a new British School of Chicago on the land that sits just North of the current Roosevelt Collection.  That was supposed to be a public park.  We will see where that goes in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #3 - Parking Confusion

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#3:  Parking Confusion
This probably isn't news to you, but parking in the city can be a pain.  With that said, it's no surprise that Parking was another hot topic in the Sloop this year.

The parking debate reared its head in February, when the Chicago Gazette published an article stating that Alderman Fioretti had put forward an ordinance changing the parking zones in the broader neighborhood.  We created a map (on the right) detailing this proposal.

Since this hit home for a lot of people, the comments and outrage were immediate.  In late April, Alderman Fioretti set the record straight and announced that there wouldn't be any changes to the current structure:
Alderman Bob Fioretti laid everyone's fears to rest about such a thing happening. "Everything will remain exactly the same as before," he said. "In spite of the new colors and numbers on the map. If you had zoned parking before, you still have it in your area and in the same zone,"

Not so fast.  As the Chicago Tribune laid summed in up in an article on May 8th:
The Chicago City Council heard Fioretti's plan in February, approved the changes in March, and the new zones went into effect April 18, about the same time the City Clerk's office began selling 2012-2013 city stickers. 
For an extra $25, residents can have the number of their residential parking zone printed directly on the sticker. 
The trouble began when some South Loop residents purchased their city stickers early, then placed them on their windshields. Because the street signs in the South Loop have not yet been changed to reflect the new residential zone numbers, the zone numbers on the city stickers are different from the numbers on the street signs. 
The result is that some residents have received tickets for parking in the wrong residential zone, even though they were appropriately parked.
Ugh!  Man was this a pain and man was it frustrating.  Anyway, the Tribune article goes on to give some more background and what to do if you got a ticket.

Needless to say, it was confusing and frustrating.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #4 - Karamela Cafe

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#4:  Karamela Cafe
There appears to be a theme with all of the restaurants that opened in 2012.  We hear about them in 2011. We hear rumors about them in early 2012.  We hear about an expected opening date in spring.  That doesn't happen.  We hear more rumors.  We see some action.  And then they finally open.

That was the case again for Karamela Cafe (1250 S. Michigan).

First we heard from someone in Pita Heaven, the next door neighbor, that "something" was coming to this space but they couldn't tell us more.  This was in December of 2011.  Then a reader wrote to us and gave us some news that it was going to be a cafe/pastry shop and was aiming for an opening in Early April.

That seemed to jive with what we were seeing on the ground as an awning went up for Karamela Cafe in April.

Atlantic Crepe 
smoked salmon, tomato, baby spinach,
cream cheese, dill & chives)
After months of little to no action, people were getting skeptical.  A reader tipped us off to a facebook post stating that the owner ditched the concept and employees they hired (this was in September).  A couple weeks later, it appeared that something changed and the cafe was moving forward as a slew of internet activity picked-up.

Sure enough, on October 9th they Karamela Cafe was open!  Intrigued by the new option we ventured in for a dinner and were pleasantly surprised.  The best thing about it was the quality of the food and the unique offerings they brought to the neighborhood.  In our opinion it was refreshing to have new options that weren't available in the Sloop.

While Karamela Cafe is occasionally busy, it seems like it could use some more support.  With that said, check it out if you haven' will be surprised!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

North Side of Roosevelt CTA Stop Entrance Gets New Sign and Something Else

While many people like to complain about the Roosevelt CTA stop, we don't think it's all that bad.  And the new entrance on the South side for the Green/Orange line platform has been a big improvement (we don't see nearly as much jaywalking anymore).

With these improvements also came a quick face-lift to the North entrance as well.  As you can see by the picture above, the new sign looks more modern.  Beyond that it's not very exciting.

However, what struck us was the new "drive-thru" window that mysteriously showed up just to the left of the entrance.  The renderings that we've seen (below) didn't have anything like that.  
Image from CTA

So we wonder, what gives?  Is this going to be a retail and/or newsstand spot?  Maybe a way to give people coffee, flowers, magazines, candy, etc without having to go inside?  Or maybe it will serve as a spot for CTA employees to work/sell tickets during crowded times (like Bears games).

Does anyone have any clue about this?

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #5 - Five Guys

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#5:  Five Guys Comes to the Sloop
Well apparently people love Five Guys hamburgers.

Remember this building?
For that, Five Guys coming to the Sloop registers at #5 for our top ten 2012 countdown.  Like many of our other restaurant related posts, this topic can be traced back to 2011 (August to be specific) when we heard rumors of the popular restaurant chain coming to 1150 S. Wabash.  We were mainly excited because it meant that the amazingly dilapidated building would either be renovated or demolished (see pic at the right).

Work continued to progress on the demolition and eventually popped up a nice new building.  We then heard that Five Guys was in fact moving in based on a tip we received to look at their website (that was in April 2012).

There were still some questions as the build-out of the restaurant began.  Would there be other businesses at this location or would this just be a Five Guys.  As time went on and the Five Guys sign went up, it became clear that there was space for two restaurants:

We later learned it would be the Artist's Cafe.  But this post is about Five Guys...and they eventually opened on July 16th.  We haven't been yet, but judging by the amount of people we see in their it must be a success.

Regardless of how you feel about the chain, you have to agree that this building looks 1000 times better than the old one!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #6 - City Tavern

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#6:  City Tavern Comes to Old Grace O'Malley's Space
It was a big year for new restaurants in the Sloop and City Tavern was one of the shinning stars.

Way back in 2011 we were pondering what may come of the old Grace O'Malley's space.  Mainstay Hospitality, who also operate the Chicago Firehouse and Wabash Tap, mentioned that they had plans for this space, but wouldn't give up much information.

Image from City Tavern Facebook Page
Fast forward to April and Chicago Magazine had the scoop on the new restaurant:
Like time, the history trend marches on. Mainstay Hospitality, the company that owns Chicago Firehouse and Wabash Tap, plans to open the “18th-century tavernesque” City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan Ave.; no phone yet) in early May in the space formerly occupied by Grace O’Malley’s. Kendal Duque, the chef at Chicago Firehouse and the opening chef at Sepia, will create the menu.
While the opening date dragged on a little bit, the doors finally opened in June.  While there were a couple minor issues (it was pretty damn loud inside the space), the restaurant was widely praised.  We had an amazing Salmon entree that still has us drooling.

But then something strange happened.  Kendall Duque, the long time chef at Chicago Firehouse and the brains behind City Tavern, was no longer at the helm.  It was all pretty sudden and surprising.  However, Duque was replaced by Jackie Shen (previously of Red Light, Chicago Cut), a well respected chef in Chicago.

As far as we can tell City Tavern hasn't missed a beat.  The place tends to be packed on the weekends and things appear to be well.  It probably doesn't hurt that they also won a prestigious Michellin Bib Gourmand rating in November.  

All in all a solid addition to the Sloop!  Now if we can just figure out what's going on next door!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #7 - Confusing Soldier Field Parking Signs

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#7:  Confused by Soldier Field Event Parking Signs
What can we say, parking in the Sloop can be confusing.  When there is an event at Soldier Field, well people often get screwed.  A concerned resident penned a detailed email to us and asked others if they've had similar issues.  Here is the start of their email:
I wanted to write you about a situation I am currently in the middle of involving parking in the South Loop during the Soldier Field events. From the information I have gathered, there have been many victims of this same misunderstanding.
There was some solid comments and suggestions in the comment section of the post.  It's a good read for those who often feel confused or have been burned by this in the past.

Shots Around the Sloop: Michigan Avenue

(Hat tip: EB!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #8 - Making Way for The Maxwell

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, we will be counting down our top ten stories of 2012 starting today.
New Renderings of the Maxwell (photo courtesy of bondcompanies)
#8:  Making Way for The Maxwell
Back in January, we posted about plans to move forward with plans to open up a mixed use retail/residential development at the Southwest corner of Canal and Taylor.  We didn't know much at the time, but we were naturally skeptical.  This was the site for a similar project called South Loop Commons that ultimately never happened as it was proposed during the height of the building bubble bursting.

However, movement on the project commenced in June as they began demolishing the old empty building at the space (picture to the right).  It's completely cleared now, however construction hasn't begun on the new building as it sounds as if they still have some building permits that need to be granted.

Last we heard (in early December), the developer has scrapped the residential portion of the plan and is now focusing on the retail component only.  The rendering at the top is the latest plans and according to the developer their shooting for an opening of Spring 2014.

Don't get too excited, but rumored retailers are:
Banana Republic Outlet, Ulta 3, Container Store, Ross, Pier 1, Dicks Sporting Goods, REI and Butcher Burger, Dicks, Chick Fil-a, Burlington Coat Factory, Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx
None of this is confirmed and frankly we wouldn't put much stock in it yet.  Should be interesting to see what comes of this in 2013.

You Love Us...You Really Really Love Us! Well 90% of You Do

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #9 - Sprout Playroom Now Sod Room

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, we will be counting down our top ten stories of 2012 starting today.

#9:  Sprout Playroom Is Now Called Sod Room and Working on Opening Soon
At the end of January, we noticed a sign appear on the second floor of the retail portion of the Marquee high-rise at 1464 S. Michigan.  The sign was for Sprout playroom and was shooting for an opening of Spring 2012.

That didn't happen.

But don't fret.  Last we heard was that they changed their name to Sod Room based on a message board thread in October.  This appears to be true and their is even a Facebook page devoted to Sod Room.  We snagged the picture above from this page and also found out that they're going through their final round of inspections (according to a facebook interaction in mid-November).

Looks good and hopefully it will be included in our 2013 business counter!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sloopin Top Ten of 2012: #10 - The Drama that was Alain's

2012 is almost over and with that we fired up our google analytics account to see which stories had the most views during the year.  With that said, look for posts daily counting down our top ten stories of 2012.

#10:  The Drama that was Alain's
Where to begin...

It all started back in October of 2011 when we learned that Alain's was moving into the retail space at 1355 S. Michigan.  Of interest (and much fanfare) was that the restaurant was associated with Bears d-line stud Israel Indonije.

We then read an article in the Tribune stating that they were shooting for a January 2012 opening.  Not surprisingly that didn't happen.  We heard a lot of rumblings that the concept was dead, but then in April a simple sign reading "Alain's" appeared on the door and naturally things seemed back on track.

The restaurant build-out was in full swing and there was a lot of movement at the restaurant.  This all progressed to a post we did on August 3rd announcing the grand opening of Alain's and the blossoming restaurant/bar scene at the corner of 14th and Michigan.

Life seemed good for eaters and drinkers in the Sloop, but this was relatively short lived as an ominous (and familiar) green eviction sign appeared on the door on September 24th.  Naturally this was surprising to everyone in the neighborhood as the place just opened a couple of weeks ago.

There was a lot of information and rumors floating around and Chicago Magazine even went on to say that Alain's would re-open on October 1st.  Well that didn't happen.  The writing was on the wall when red for lease signs went up on the windows.

Since then the restaurant owners have been sued by the landlord and former employees.

This drama isn't all bad.  The good news was that the space was ready to accommodate a restaurant or bar.  And just last week those red for lease signs have come down and a we found out that a Mediterranean restaurant potentially named Kurah is going to be moving in.

That's a lot of drama.  Hopefully the new restaurant has a better go at it then Alain's did.

How to Enjoy the Snow in the Sloop

Sledding Hill at Soldier Field (Image from Curbed Chicago)
With our first snow fall supposedly coming today, it seems like it's timely to link to a recent post we read on Curbed Chicago about where to go sledding in Chicago.  They also have a handy dandy map of Chicago sledding hot spots.

For us Sloopers the go-to spot is the sledding hill by Soldier Field.  Curbed gives us the story:
There's not much to say to improve upon sledding as activity, but if you don't know where to look in this town you'll rarely see it performed. There are a number of satisfactory elevations dispersed throughout Chicago's neighborhood parks— mostly man-made amenities and registering as little more than mole hills beyond the Prairie. But we make the most of it. Favorites include the Soldier Field (North Burnham Park) hill, a feature of whimsical landscape design.
Enjoy the snow (assuming Tom Skilling is right)...before it becomes nasty city slush!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Adios Chicago Journal -- You Will Be Missed!

The Chicago Journal, our local weekly newspaper and website focused mainly on the South Loop and West Loop, is closing up shop.  And for that we are sad.  Their articles and content were a weekly fixture that we came to love and rely on (especially since it came out midweek -- and helped push us over the "hump" and monotony of the work week).  They're having a party this evening at Donna's Cafe (1255 S. State) from 7-9pm.

On a personal level, before we moved to the South Loop, we relied on the Chicago Journal to help us gather information and get a better understanding of the neighborhood.  For that we're forever indebted.

Here at Sloopin this news is complicated.  Sloopin was mainly dreamt up as a blog focusing on everything and anything to do with the South Loop.  At it's inception we weren't sure what it would grow into or what it would ultimately be, but we wanted it to be a resource for the neighborhood -- for good and bad.  

The idea mainly came because we wanted more information -- on a more timely basis -- and more consistently.  While the Chicago Journal was the best resource for the neighborhood (in our opinion), it was still lacking in those key areas.  Couple that with the power and relative ease of digital technology and Sloopin was born on September 22nd, 2008.

At the start of Sloopin, traffic was pretty much nonexistent and it felt more like an experiment.  But we enjoyed the process, we enjoyed the neighborhood and kept pushing on.  Slowly but surely we gathered steam and Sloopin began to grow.  While we relied on a variety of content sources ranging from our own stories, to reader emails/comments, to other publishers (including Chicago Tribune, Crain's, Sun-Times and yes the Chicago Journal) producing Sloopin was hard work.  

While we're not sure if our growth or presence caused the Chicago Journal to realize that they needed to evolve their digital presence, they did.  The major change was the addition of bloggers.  Micah Maidenberg's Near Loop Wire launched on May 5th, 2009 along with neighborhood stalwart Bonnie McGrath's blog, South Loop Observer.  There was also a short lived Sidewalk Observer blog by Blagica Bottigleiro which launch on May 2nd, 2010.  All three blogs added additional voices and information to the neighborhood, which seemed like a good thing to us (we even shared some links back and forth).     

But the recent news on the closing is a reality many publishers are facing (including us at Sloopin).  How to make ends meet with new technologies constantly disrupting older business models.  You will see it at our hyper-local level as well as at some of the most prestigious and biggest news organizations around the world.  

How to operate a news organization in the new digital reality is a perplexing question.  There are many varying opinions on the best way forward.  The reality is that the nut hasn't been cracked yet.  It will slowly play out and hopefully take us to a better place.

Here at Sloopin we're an extremely lean operation.  We don't have enough revenue to make this a full time job for anyone.  We simply produce Sloopin because we love the South Loop.  We don't have the bells and whistles of a typical news organization and frankly we don't have a traditional journalistic background.  Hopefully you forgive us for our spelling errors, grammatical errors and whatever else we do wrong.  We've received a mix of praise, ambivalence and hate -- honestly we love it all!

But back to the main topic of this post.  The Chicago Journal is closing and with that our neighborhood will no doubt be missing something.  They did a solid job covering topics pertaining to our neighborhood and for that we applaud the entire team.  Thanks for all your hard work and for all you did to make the Sloop a better place!

Finally, with all of this said we're curious to hear your thoughts.  How do you like Sloopin?  How can we fill the gap left by Chicago Journal?  What do we do well and where can we improve?  Any new ideas or improvements you would suggest?

As always, we will do our best to evolve Sloopin.  Thanks for all your support, comments, pictures and stories.  Without you it wouldn't be possible!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crescent Heights Buys High-Profile Land in the Sloop

Crescent Heights, a Miami based developer, continues to buy up space in the Sloop.  This time, they've made another big splash buying some of the most valuable land in the neighborhood (and maybe the city) at the Southeast corner of Roosevelt and Michigan (via
A venture of Crescent Heights earlier this month bought a two-acre site at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road, as well as a one-acre property close to 13th Street and Indiana Avenue, according to a statement from the company.
Right now, these empty lots are an eye sore.  But anyone can see the potential value.  The views from a building on this land would be absolutely breathtaking.

Old renderings for towers at Roosevelt and Michigan/Indiana
From an outsiders standpoint, this seems like a good business decision for Crescent as well.  Besides buying unsold units in Astoria Tower (8 East 9th Street), they also bought 1212 S. Michigan.  1212 sits across the street from this new land they just acquired.  So one can assume, any new building would try to protect sight lines.  Or at a minimum, if they're going to block their own building at least they're the ones who will be benefiting from the new development.

As you may recall, at one point there were some pretty sexy renderings floating around (picture to the right).  We can only assume those are dead, but according to the article:
The firm could build up to 1,200 residential units, 1,500 hotel rooms or 325,000 square feet of office or retail space on the parcel, in a building as tall as 70 stories.
We will keep an eye out for future plans.  The least they could do is maybe clean the empty lot up a little.

Finally, what's the deal with them buying an acre near 13th and Indiana?  Is that the land that housed the sales office for One Museum Park?

(Hat tip: E & MH!)

E. Harrison Street is Apparently a Hot Bed for Men's Haircuts

Construction underway at Floyd's Barbershop at 27 E. Harrison Street
East Harrison Street apparently should be called East HAIR-ison Street!  Wow we're painfully clever.

Anyway, it appears that Floyd's 99 Barbershop is progressing pretty well at it's 27 E. Harrison street address judging by the picture above.  We posted about this news back in September and upon further research we recently found that they plan to open in January 2013 according to their website.

In other male hair news, Sports Clips is looking for a manager and stylists according to Craigslist.  Sports Clips is supposed to be going in just down the street at 10 E. Harrison.  We heard about this spot back in August and honestly haven't seen any progress or signage.  However, the craigslist posting makes it seem like it's still coming.

So there you have it men.  Two new places for your to get your hair cut.  It's a pretty simple proposition.  If you like music you go to Floyd's.  If you like sports you go to Sports Clips.  

What's next?  A barber shop with a video game theme?  Sounds like the next great business idea!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hoorah for Kurah?

It seems like yesterday that Alain's (1355 S. Michigan) suddenly closed on us.  Well that was in late October and now we're hearing and seeing that Kurah, a Mediterranean bar and grill might be opening up at this spot.

The news came from our message board and recently a poster noted that a liquor license on the city of Chicago website has been granted to:


Business As


Applied for

Date of

Jadamo Corp.
1355 S Michigan Ave , Floor:1
Consumption on Premises - Incidental Activity

So there you have it, something new appears to be coming to the Northeast corner of 14th and Michigan.  If it is indeed some Mediterranean we will be happy.  Diverse options are what our neighborhood needs and falafel sounds really good right now!

Does anyone have additional information or thoughts on a Mediterranean place coming to this corner?

(Hat tip: Local Lady, MarkChicago, Blarger!)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

British School of Chicago Wants to Move Forward Just North of Roosevelt Collection Space

We've got some new news on Roosevelt Collection and today it's in regard to the land just North of the current building.  As you may recall, in July we posted about an article stating that the British School of Chicago was interested in building a new school just North of Roosevelt Collection.  Problem is that this was supposed to be a public park built by the owners of Roosevelt Collection and eventually turned over to the Chicago Park District.

Yesterday, provided the latest on the subject:
Developer Dan McCaffery has asked the city to approve a plan to build a new South Loop campus for the British School of Chicago, even without the buy-in of the neighborhood's alderman. 
The developer and school, which has outgrown its Lincoln Park campus, are seeking a zoning change for a nearly 80,000-square-foot building, including an auditorium and gymnasium, within the Roosevelt Collection, a mixed-use project at Roosevelt Road and Wells Street. But Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) said they have not sought enough community input to gain his blessing. 
“They filed at their own peril, because they haven't done any of the things they've been asked to do the past several months,” Mr. Fioretti said. “They have to go out to the community instead of shoving this down the community's throat.”
First of all, the second paragraph in this blurb is a little misleading (we think).  While it says, "within Roosevelt Collection" we assume they mean it will be built just North of Roosevelt Collection and not within the vacant retail space.  We're assuming this.

Second, the point of debate is about the park.  It sounds like instead of having a park at street level, there may be a public park on the roof?!?!?
One of the biggest sticking points could be a 42,830-square-foot park on the building's roof. Mr. Fioretti said the original Roosevelt Collection plan called for the school space to be a park. He is unsure the community will support green space atop a roof instead.  
“I may be in favor of the school, but you've got to go out to the community, and they haven't done that,” Mr. Fioretti said. “Our green space downtown is very limited. The people in that area approved the (original planned development) because there was going to be a park. They have to convince the park district and the community that it's OK to put a park on top of a school.  
“I want to know what kind of access there will be, and how community use will be regulated.”
Sounds strange, but potentially interesting.  I guess we need more information before we can form an opinion.  Hopefully that information comes out soon.

What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dearborn Bike Lane Opens Today!

Graphic on spacing for Dearborn (via Chicago Tribune)

Bikers rejoice -- there is a new way to navigate the busy streets of the Loop!  The bike lane on Dearborn from Polk to Kinzie opens today according to a solid article in the Tribune:
Chicago's campaign to broker an orderly coexistence, if not complete harmony, among motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians will begin to face its biggest test so far Friday. 
That's when two-way protected bike lanes — outfitted with traffic signals for bike riders to obey — will open in the heart of the central business district, on Dearborn Street between Kinzie and Polk streets, the Chicago Department of Transportation said.

The $450,000 project covering about 12 blocks is a high-profile component of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to make Chicago one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world and to socially re-engineer how city dwellers choose to commute to work or just get around in a heavily congested urban area. 
There was a lot of talk about this lane and it seemed to drag on a little, but when they finally put paint to asphalt it actually happened pretty quickly. It was just late November when they striped the road and now two weeks later it's about to be functional.  Just in time for the heart of the winter!

Anyway, as Dennis McClendon noted on our message board, if you want to witness the pomp and circumstance that comes with a civic improvement there is an official ceremony at 1pm today.

Happy (and hopefully safer) riding!

Having a Great Night in the Sloop?

A reader sends us this gem from the Chicago tumblr account #SOYEAHDUH:
When I have a great night in the South Loop
I’m all like,

If you haven't checked out the site, it's a good read for a Friday!

(Hat tip: KM!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Next Star Vodka Tasting Event at Jimmy Green's this Friday

Sponsored Post
Friends of Sloopin!

If you're looking for something fun to do this Friday (12/14), NEXT STAR VODKA will be hosting a tasting event in the new party room at Jimmy Green's (825 S. State) from 7 to 9pm.  The event will feature NEXT STAR drinks for your tasting pleasure:
  • Next Star Martini
  • Chicago Mule (Next Star Vodka, Ginger Beer and Lime)
  • Next Star Blue (Next Star Vodka with a dash of blueberry jam and lime)

PLEASE NOTE:  Due to overwhelming response the list is now full for this event.  If you would like to receive additional information about future events please like NEXT STAR VODKA on Facebook or follow @nextstarvodka on Twitter.

This is a private event with limited space, so the only way to attend is if you rsvp at and receive a return email confirming that you're on the list (since we're expecting to be at capacity).

Bureau Bar Applies for Liquor License at Old Three Peas Art Lounge (75 E. 16th)

We received a couple emails from readers about a potential new bar coming to 16th street:
I got a public notice from the City Dept. of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Local Liquor Control Commission, that an applicant, "Bureau Bar LLC," located at 75 E. 16th St. appplied for a liquor license on 12/5/12. This is the old Three Peas Art Lounge space.  Do you have any other info on this? 
Last we heard was this in January 2012:
via southloopconnection

Not sure if this is associated with Three Peas, but regardless it would be good to have another option around this area.  Anyone have any info?

(Hat tip:  ALS & EM!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wabash Dog Park featuring Fred Anderson?

When you name a park after someone, you would think their life's passion would be the central theme of the park.  We thought Fred Anderson was known for Jazz and his legendary Velvet Lounge at 67 East Cermak.

A reader recently sent us a link to a post on the website of the South Loop Dog Park Action Cooperative about the final design for the Fred Anderson Park.  Naturally, they primarily look at the dog portion of the park.  For those interested in the final plans take a look below:
While we love dogs and it looks like a nice park, we were surprised to see these designs.  While it's hard to see, between the small dog area (just under the "b" line slightly left of center) and the large dog area (stretching from the bottom left corner top right corner) it seems like over 75% of this park is dedicated to dogs.  Maybe Fred Anderson was more a dog lover than a Jazz lover?

Forgive us if we are out of the loop on this, but wasn't part of this park supposed to be dedicated to a patio for Acadia?  We heard that it was supposed to be split 1/3 for dogs, 1/3 for jazz and 1/3 for patio for Acadia.

Apparently Acadia lost out to the dogs.  At least they won a Michelin star.

(Hat tip: D!)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Map to the Sloop's Past

Most true Sloopers know that our fair neighborhood has a gangster past.  And if you didn't, this sweet map from will fill you in.

We can't post an image due to copyright issues, but we highly suggest you check it out.

Not only does this link include two detailed maps of our neighborhood (also called the levee district circa 1895-1923), it has a unique designation for Cermak (aka 22nd street)..."The Street of Whores."

If this Motor Row re-branding doesn't take off, maybe the city could revert to this name...kinda catchy!

(Hat tip: PF!)

Chanukah Party @ Square One this Thursday (12/13)

Sponsored Post

You are invited to join the up and coming young Jewish crowd of the South Loop for an awesome Chanukah party -- "Maccabees and Microbreweries".  The event begins at 8:30pm this Thursday, December 13 at Square One (located at 14th and Michigan Ave).

The event will feature a variety of locally brewed beers, hot latkes, deli/vegetarian wraps and Sufganiot (Jelly doughnuts).

$pin the dreidel and light the Scotch Menorah! Best of all come out and hang with the yids in South Loop! 

You can have all of this Chanukah fun for just $10 if you reserve now at