Friday, May 31, 2013

In Strange End, Congress Plaza Hotel Strike Ends Unceremoniously

Old picture from the Tribune of the strike (via Chicago Tribune)
While we don't claim to be strike experts, when we heard that the infamous Congress Hotel (strike has ended we were scratching our heads.  It's been billed as the longest strike in the world and as of Thursday morning it ended abruptly and unexpectedly (via Chicago Tribune):
An attorney for the hotel said Unite Here Local 1, the union representing cleaning and maintenance workers, has offered an unconditional return to work as of midnight Wednesday. The union confirmed Thursday morning that it is ending the strike.
"The decision to end the Congress strike was a hard one, but it is the right time for the union and the strikers to move on," Unite Here Local 1 President Henry Tamarin said in a statement. "The boycott has effectively and dramatically reduced the hotel’s business. ... There is no more to do there."

Even the attorney for the union was surprised:
Congress Plaza Hotel attorney Peter Andjelkovich called the move a surprise. He said the union and the hotel haven't sat down at the negotiation table in a year. 
Andjelkovich said there are still many legal and logistical issues related to the employees’ return that still need to be worked out. In a press conference at the hotel Thursday morning, Andjelkovich said the hotel and union officials are planning to meet to facilitate the next step.
We've walked by the strike so many times it's going to be a surprise not seeing them there.  
What do you make of this?

While it's nice to see some resolution, we expected a bigger ending.  Such is life.

For those who want some more info, here are two posts that we've done in the past (here and here).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CMK Companies' Buys Third Lot on South Wabash; Reveals Second, Smaller 15-Story Building

New 1333 S. Wabash Rendering
(via CMK website
In case you missed this on Tuesday, some new renderings and developments for a planned apartment condo tower coming to South Wabash (via Curbed Chicago and SkyscraperPage Forum):
CMK Companies' apartment proposal for the former Glashaus site in the South Loop has taken a strange turn — it's evolving toward greater density and variety. At a recent presentation, attended by at least one Skyscraper Page (SSP) regular, CMK and architect Brininstool + Lynch revealed the purchase of a third adjoining development lot, at 1345 S Wabash, suited for a 15-story building. It looks like the spawn of the primary tower, at 1333 S Wabash, which will stand at 28 stories and is conceived as rental with a possible condominium future.
More density is good?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More Clarity on Divvy Bike Stations in the Sloop

We like biking as a form of exercise and as an alternative to other modes of transportation in the city.  And as you can imagine we're pretty excited to see the city's bike sharing program role out soon.

If you recall, back in October of 2012 we did a post about suggesting locations to the CDOT.  Slowly but surely the Divvy (the name of the program) has been announcing the new locations.  And as we get closer to the official launch date (mid to late June), they've finally announced 380 of the 400 planned stations.

While the map in the Chicago Tribune article isn't interactive (the Divvy facebook page says an interactive google map version will come out later this week), we still can see where most of the stations will be located in the Sloop:

From what we can tell, the stations set to open in the Sloop in June consist of:

  • Roosevelt and Wabash
  • 8th and Wabash
  • Harrison and State
  • Congress and Michigan
  • Congress and Clark
  • Congress and Clinton (maybe not in the Sloop)
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Chinatown CTA Stop (Red line)
Beyond that, it appears we will get additional locations at a later date:
  • Harrison and Canal
  • Polk and Wells
  • Roosevelt Collection
  • Agora Statues (Roosevelt and Indiana)
  • 14th and Michigan
  • Roosevelt and Clinton
  • Canal and 14th 
  • 16th and State
  • 18th and State
  • 18th and Prairie 
  • 18th and Clark
  • 18th and Canal
  • McCormick Place
  • Cermak and Wabash
We may be slightly off on the list above since it's tough to see exact locations.  Regardless, it seems like the Sloop has pretty good coverage.

Any surprises?  What are your thoughts on this program?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

FruVe Juice Bar Planned for Old Le Sol Tanning Space at 1130 S. Wabash

A reader sent us the following tip:
Just saw a coming soon sign for a Fruve Cafe across from my apt. (~ 11th and Wabash, next to that comp repair shop) Looks to be a juice bar of sorts.
We went by recently and snapped the shot above.  While "World's Most Complete Juice Bar" seems a little over the top, hopefully they live up to that claim.

Upon some more searching on the interwebs, we didn't find much except a YouTube video showing the buildout plans.  For all you people who wanted to be an architect (ahem George Constanza), it's an interesting look at what goes into these plans:

Looks promising, welcome to the Sloop and can't wait to try FruVe out!

(Hat tip:  MP!)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day from Sloopin!

It's memorial day in the Sloop and when we think about remembering all that have died while serving our country we think of Soldier Field.  With that said, we did a quick youtube search for a national anthem and found this video from last season home opener (if you want to listen to the national anthem and see the flyover fast forward to the 5:00 mark):

...and given that the Hawks need a win tonight we also thought it would be good karma to listen to Jim Cornielison belt out his famous rendition of the National Anthem.

Friday, May 24, 2013

2 Suffer Graze Wounds Near Roosevelt CTA Stop

Scary (via Tribune):
Two men suffered graze wounds near the Red Line station in the South Loop late this morning, authorities said. 
One of the men, 57, was standing at a bus stop east of State Street on Roosevelt Road shortly after 11 a.m. when he heard a gunshot and felt something hit his leg, police said, citing preliminary information.

The other man, 30, suffered a graze wound to the back, police said. 
Both were being taken in good condition to Northwestern Memorial, officials said.
We haven't heard any other details yet.
(Hat tip:  Various Peeps!)

Another Massive Set Built for Divergent at 700 S. Federal

We've had a lot of inquiries and interest in the massive movie set for Divergent that was being built at the Southwest corner of Wells and Harrison.

Well it looks like they're also aiming for a massive shoot this Saturday at another location in the Sloop (via OLV):
As we’ve reported new filming permit signs popped up earlier this week around 700 Federal St in Chicago for Divergent and now we have more details about what and when they are shooting at the location. 
According to the above letter posted on Dearborn St., adjacent to where they are building a set on Federal St, filming at the site won’t take place until Saturday, May 25. 
It looks like they are building an elevated railroad set, which does fit with one of the scenes from the book. You can check out a photo below.
No wonder it costs so much to make a movie...

(Hat tip: MM!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Auto Repair Shops - Experiences of a South Loop Resident

Auto Repairs are notoriously shady.  A regular reader (and contributor) writes about his experiences and recommendations:
I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know I have officially used every auto repair shop in the South Loop (I think); Firestone, Good year and Auto Repairs Plus aka Mufflers 4 Less.  
I had such a great experience with Orlando at Auto Repairs Plus at Cermak/Wabash!
The other two places, Firestone and Goodyear are crazy expensive; especially firestone. Auto Repairs Plus labor rates are half that of Firestone and the owner, Orlando, is as honest as they come. 
He spent a lot of time going over what needed needed to be done and showed me exactly why, while my truck was up on the hoist. He's a guy that has been in business at that corner for 17 years and has seen the neighborhood evolve over the years. He loves our hood and always takes care of his neighbors, I'm proof of that.  
The other places in the hood are just high pressure sales machines that always push for the more expensive part or another repair "they found". I highly recommend, if you have a car and have any issues or need routine maintenance done, go see Orlando!

Generally speaking it seems like people on Yelp agree!  Do you agree?

(Hat tip: PF!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"South Loop Neighbors" Holding Meeting to Fight Against British School Tomorrow Evening (5/23)

Original Park Rendering behind Roosevelt Collection
From their website:
SLN continues its fight to protect the 2.2-acre park just north of the Roosevelt Collection, which has never been finished and opened to the public. In return for permission to build the Roosevelt Collection and three future residential towers, the developer promised to build a park and open it to the public. The developer now proposes to instead sell or lease the land to the British School. 
At our April 18 meeting we discussed how to persuade our elected officials that the park is important to the future of the South Loop, and that they should deny the amendment requested by the Roosevelt Collection. On May 23, we'll be trying to make our case to Ald. SolĂ­s and to city planners. Please put this meeting on your calendar (7 pm at Grace Place, 637 S. Dearborn) and come make your voice heard.

For those who want more background, read some of our older posts on the topic here.

(Hat tip:  JJ!)

Unimpressed by Jersey Mike's

As you probably know, we at Sloopin love to see new businesses open and that remains true for the new Jersey Mike's at 26 E. Roosevelt.  A brand new QSF chain is better than an empty lot -especially given it's high-profile location.

When we got confirmation that Jersey Mike's was opening I was intrigued.  I've heard of the sandwich shop but never actually had it.  Judging by the dialogue in the comment section of our posts we were encouraged.

Well we finally had a chance to go and frankly it was fine, but definitely didn't leave wanting more.  Yes, it was nice to have a "Baja Chicken" wrap that had freshly cooked chicken, but it was just blah.  Maybe we didn't order the right thing.   Given the amount of sandwich/wrap options in the neighborhood it's unlikely we will actively seek out Jersey Mike's in the future.  Maybe we will give it one more chance.

Besides the food, all other experience at the spot were good.  Nice staff, lovely brand-new building and a convenient location next to the L.  All those things are fine, but if I can get better food somewhere else (see Panozzo's) that's where i'm going.

How has your experience with Jersey Mike's been?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kanye Projects "New Slaves" on Field Museum

Love or hate Kanye West, he definitely knows how to create a circus (via Rolling Stone):
Kanye West gave the world its first official taste of his new album on Friday night by projecting the new song, "New Slaves," along with visuals on buildings across the globe. The video was projected at various times throughout the night on 66 buildings in cities including New York, Toronto, Chicago, London, Paris and Berlin. In West's hometown of Chicago, it was projected on a wall of Wrigley Field; in Toronto, on the Royal Ontario Museum; and in New York, Kanye's face appeared on the wall of a 5th Avenue Prada store, among other locations.
Chicagoist has videos of other prominent Chicago locations (including Wrigley Field) that had the video projection as well as the Field Museum projection:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bevello, a Women's Fashion Retailer, Signs Lease at Roosevelt Collection

Bevello store in Richmond, VA (image from Her Late Night Cravings
Roosevelt Collection continues to add tenants to their retail space.  Last month it was Bridgeport Coffee House and on Friday last week it was announced that (via Crain's):
Bevello LLC, a women's fashion retailer with a heavy footprint in the South, plans to open a store in the Roosevelt Collection, its second in the Chicago area.  
The Raleigh, N.C.-based firm leased 2,800 square feet in the apartment-and-retail complex at Roosevelt Road and Wells Street in the South Loop, according to Niki Cordell, senior leasing associate for Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc., which owns the property. Ms. Cordell declined to comment on lease terms. 
Based on our most recent count, this is the eleventh business to announce they're coming to RC.  While we're still unsure about when most of these stores will open, it was reported that H&M and Fleet Feet were targeting a spring opening.

It's spring and last we checked they weren't open.  Does anyone go to or live by Roosevelt Collection and know if these stores are on track for an opening soon?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Do This: Jazzing at the Shedd

We've done it before and we will do it again (via Chicagoist):
Get cultured, sip cocktails and listen to jazz underneath the evening sky at one of two Chicago museum terraces every week this the summer. The choice is yours, Tuesdays at the Museum of Contemporary Art, or Wednesdays at the Shedd Aquarium. Both have announced their outdoor summer jazz series beginning next month.  
Jazzin’ at the Shedd invites sealife lovers and jazz aficionados alike to relax on their lakeside terrace on Wednesdays this summer. They haven’t released their lineup yet, but the season will run from June 26 through September 4. Tickets will be $18 for adults, $16 for kids as part of an all-access pass to the museum including the original galleries, Wild Reef and Abbott Oceanarium exhibits. Upgrades are available to experience the popular Stingray Touch and Jellies exhibits. 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive.

Friday, May 17, 2013

City Council Passes Amendment Allowing British School of Chicago to Build Behind Roosevelt Collection?

Renderings of British School of Chicago
behind Roosevelt Collection
It appears that we're ending this week with some hotly discussed and controversial neighborhood topics.  Yesterday it was the DePaul arena and today it's an email we received about the British School of Chicago:
Heads up, the city council just passed the amendment allowing the BSC to build behind the Roosevelt Collection.  
Enrique Perez
Dennis McClendon
Tim Jeffries  
All spoke against, 3 others put their names against w/o speaking.  
There were about 40 BSC parents in attendance and roughly 10 patents and community advocates spoke in favor of the amendment.

If you remember there has been a lot of debate on Sloopin and around the neighborhood about this potentially development.

Besides getting this email yesterday we haven't read that this is true.  Can anyone corroborate this?

(Hat tip: AR!)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Big Stadium Reveal: Emanuel Announces Projects for McCormick Place/Motor Row Area

Plans for new "Event Center" and Hotels on Cermak
After months of speculation, debate, objections, praise and everything else in between, Mayor Emanuel is officially unveiling some major projects slated for the Motor Row/Prairie District/McCormick Place area (via Crain's):
A final deal has been struck to build a 10,000-seat arena across the street from McCormick Place that will be the new home of the DePaul Blue Demons basketball team and host smaller conferences, meetings, concerts and other sporting events. As part of that undertaking, a 500-room hotel will be erected kitty-corner from a 1,100-room "headquarters" hotel that already had been announced. 
For those of us who have been diligently following this, broadly speaking there isn't much new news.  The price-tag is high ($177 million for the stadium construction and land), but lower than what was reported earlier in the week.

If this plan takes shape, the south side of the Sloop is in for some colossal changes.  There will be some additional press conferences later in the day and from what it sounds like there are still a lot of hurdles to get over.  Stay thirsty my friends...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two "Official" Food Truck Locations Coming to the Sloop?

Image from Chicago Tribune
Food trucks have been the rage all across the country (and world) for awhile now, but the city of Chicago is still in the process of rolling out "official" food truck locations.

Back in fall of 2012, city council officially passed an ordinance allowing for 21 official food truck spots across the city.  The only one in our neck of the woods was at Buckingham fountain (437 S. Columbus).

Well last week a couple news sources were reporting that Rahm would be proposing some new locations bringing the total up to 30.  As you could probably guess from the title of the post, two of them are in the Sloop:
  • 825 S. Canal
  • 65 E. Harrison St
While Harrison we understand, we're left shaking our head about 825 S. Canal.  It's a couple blocks North of Roosevelt and all the retail action.  It also doesn't seem to get a lot of foot traffic.  Maybe we're missing something.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Set to Announce $300 Million DePaul Stadium by McCormick Place?

We're going to wait patiently until this comes to fruition, but for those of you who are interested in the drama surrounding whether or not DePaul's basketball team will get a stadium in Motor Row, reports from yesterday evening were juicy (via Chicago Sun-Times):
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to announce this week plans for a $300 million 12,000-seat arena for DePaul University at McCormick Place — a proposal that will call for millions in taxpayer dollars, sources tell the Chicago Sun-Times.  
The mayor will also announce plans to build two mega hotels on McPier property in the hopes of aggressively growing convention and meeting business in Chicago.

The article is behind their "register-wall", but it's worth a read if you're willing to register.

If you've been following this story over the past couple of months you know that it's taken its fair share of twists and turns.  While this sounds pretty solid, we're going to take a wait and see approach.

Regardless, pretty big news if this ends up being true.

What do you think?  Is this a done deal or is this just the latest twist in a heavily charged political tussle?

(Hat tip:  JA & KO!)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Columbia's Annual Manifest Festival Hits the Sloop This Friday (5/17)

We're huge fans of all that Columbia brings to the Sloop and every year their Manifest festival bursts onto the streets of the neighborhood.  It's definitely a unique event (from their website):
On May 17, Columbia College Chicago will celebrate the work of its more than 2,000 graduating students with its annual urban arts festival. From art exhibitions to readings, from original designs to singer showcases, the talent will spill out from Columbia’s South Loop Campus and onto the streets, with main stage performances from student bands creating the musical backdrop to the Manifest 2013 showcase. 
A free event, and open to the public, Manifest 2013 is made possible through the contributions of its sponsors and the creativity and gifts of the Columbia faculty and graduating student body. The all-day event marks the 13th year of the festival, and it will be filled with engaging, thought-provoking and playful art, music and visuals that showcase the talent and creativity of Columbia students.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Indique Hair Opens at 1922 S. Wabash

We were recently strolling down Wabash on a nice spring evening and randomly noticed a new shop that opened at 1922 S. Wabash - Indique Boutique (see pic on the right).

Upon some additional research on the interwebs we noticed they were recently featured on Racked Chicago:
Chicago will be home to the newest Indique Boutique, which houses an internationally sold brand of hair extensions. Stop by the new location on South Wabash for the grand opening on May 11.
They're actually having a grand opening event including snacks, prizes and giveaways.

While we weren't familiar with Indique, they apparently have  a couple other locations on the east coast.

Best of luck and welcome to the neighborhood!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pretty Donkey Coffee Coming to 77 E. Cermak

With a name like Pretty Donkey Coffee, you have to be pretty confident that your shop is going to be good because the name isn't helping it.  A reader writes:
Hey Sloopin- 
Keep fighting the good fight. Have you noticed that Pretty Donkey Coffee is planning a location on Cermak between CD One Cleaner and Velvet Lounge? 
Website is below- they already list the sloop location. 
Well that's an interesting name if we've ever heard one.
Also, we hope their website is just a template because the title says "Pretty Donkey Coffee and Income Tax Service".

Anyway, a coffee shop would be great for this area and as far as we know there isn't really a coffee shop along this stretch.  The closest we know of is Overflow Coffee and that's at 16th and State (not exactly close).

Good luck to Pretty Donkey Coffee and welcome to the Sloop!

(Hat tip:  VG!)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thredz Bar is Open! They Just Moved Locations

Just last week we got a tip from a reader who thought Thredz Brow Bar might have closed.  We gave them a call and the phone was disconnected.  Well apparently they're still open and just moved a little further South:
Hi Sloopin,  
I was disheartened to hear that you are spreading the word that Thredz is closed. we have moved to 2251 S Michigan Ave, inside Marimarshe Salon. Our move was not sudden as our clients were informed a month before the move. We also had almost daily communications via social media and Belly sent notices to over a thousand clients that check in with us. Thankfully most of our clients have continued to support us as it is a pleasure doing business in the South Loop. Our website also reflects the changes. Please know that we are still alive and well, and would appreciate it if you would share this with your audience  
Thank you,
Rhonda Owner
So there you have it.  They're still open, just moved down a couple of blocks!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bureau Bar Provides More Details About Their Concept

There has been some healthy discussion about Bureau Bar, the proposed local bar angling to open at 75 E. 16th street.

We didn't know much about the place, but received this brief description from them:
At Bureau Bar, we are committed to a standard of excellence that provides our “neighborhood family” with a memorable experience, and just a few steps away from home. With an amazing cocktail list served up by our wonderful bartenders and mixologists, an awesome variety of craft brews, and a cozy, sophisticated atmosphere that rivals your favorite hideaway, Bureau Bar is sure to be top of your list for an after work pit stop, a cozy night out, or just an amazing time with colleagues and friends. More exciting, Bureau Bar gives you everything you can want in a neighborhood bar, we make you feel like you are at home.
It sounds like the hold up on them opening is due to objections around their liquor license.  If you would like to support them, they're soliciting signatures for their online petition:
Petition in support of Bureau Bar LLC’s tavern Liquor license  
We the residents and legal voters within the South Loop Communities support Bureau Bar LLC, who has applied for a tavern liquor license for the proposed location of (75 east 16th street) We are in support of Bureau Bar LLC receiving the tavern liquor license required.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Out With the Old; In With the New Italian Restaurant at 616 S. Dearborn?

There has beens some discussion on the Sloopin message board about Trattoria Caterina (616 S. Dearborn) closing in Printer's Row.  We walked by recently and can confirm that brown paper is on the windows and it appears to be closed.

With that in mind a reader writes in:
FYI I live in the 600 S Dearborn building and noticed construction taking place at the old Italian restaurant in printer's row. I asked the door man and was told another Italian restaurant is going in. Supposedly the new owners are from Italy and speak w an accent :-).I believe the name of the restaurant is going to be Sofia or something similar. Maybe you can get more info. I'm very excited!
Has anyone heard anything similar?

(Hat tip: V8!)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Nuovo Aesthetics & Smartlipo Coming to 2037 S. Indiana; Thredz Brow Bar Closed

A reader writes:
New shop opening soon. It also looks like Theadz Brow Bar right next door has closed but I can't confirm.
Interesante...what's smartlipo?  

On a different note, we gave a quick ring to Thredz, but the number on their website was disconnected.  As a result, we're chalking this one up to a closed business.

(Hat tip:  VE!)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's Official: Penguins Are Coming to Soldier Field to Play the Hawks on March 1st

The 2013 playoffs are underway and the Hawks had a solid win on Tuesday night.  While we all know a Stanley Cup is the goal for the current Hawk crew, it's now official that next year's team will look to win a historic outdoor game at Soldier Field on March 1st versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.

While some will chastise the NHL and Hawks brass for making the "outdoor game" a gimmick, we don't care.  It's not the best hockey viewing experience, it's not the best hockey playing experience, but it's a fun time and something we will definitely be looking forward to.

Yes, watching college teams at Soldier Field this year was fun, the Hawks versus the Pens will be much more compelling with a much larger crowd.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

City Segway Tours Moving to the Sloop

If you're an avid reader of Sloopin you probably know we have "mixed" feelings on Segways.  While they're conceptually interesting, when you see people zooming down the street it's hard not to chuckle.

Well regardless of our views on Segways, a new business is moving down to the Sloop and yes their core product is Segway tours.  City Segway Tours is moving down to the retail space at 910 S. Michigan (from 400 E. Randolph).

And while we might scoff at Segways, it's clear that they do serve a purpose and they do provide a good way for tourists to quickly zip around our city to see the sights.

Ironically, we were watching the highly entertaining CBS Sunday Morning show this past Sunday and saw this comical segment on innovative "flops".  What was the first product featured?  You guessed it the Segway:

great stuff!