Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lakeside Bank Presumably Moving to 1344 S. Michigan

Lakeside Bank's current location @ 2141 S. Indiana
We've heard a lot about the push back stemming from McPiers land grab around McCormick Place.  Recently Crain's had a story about Lakeside Bank, one of the affected businesses, presumably being happy about their situation:
The Chicago convention authority's plan to build an arena and hotel next to McCormick Place has worked out well for at least one Chicago property owner.  
JRG Capital Partners LLC sold a site at 1344 S. Michigan Ave. to Lakeside Bank, which needs the South Loop parcel for a new branch because its office across from the convention center is getting the boot to make room for the arena and hotel. JRG sold the 21,301-square-foot Michigan Avenue property for $5.3 million, an 87 percent jump from the $2.9 million the Chicago-based investment firm paid for it in May, said Cheri Grossman, JRG's senior acquisitions officer.

Not only is Lakeside Bank acquiring what seems to be a more desirable location for their bank, the article goes on to say that the bank and McPier have settled on a preliminary figure of $9.6 million for the parcel on Indiana and Cermak.

Should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

For some additional background, here is a post we did about Lakeside Bank moving somewhere close to 14th and Michigan.  And here is an old post about the marketing for the sale of 1344 S. Michigan.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sloopin's Top Stories of 2013
#1) Police Standoff at Chicago River South of Roosevelt

Over the past year a ton has happened in the South Loop.  Since there are a few Monday's left in the year, we thought we would count down the top 5 stories on Sloopin in 2013 according to Google Analytics.

The picture above is pretty remarkable if you ask us (hat tip:  JN!).  If you don't remember the story, back in early October we received an email, the picture above and a link to the Tribune:
Police were at the scene of a standoff with a man with a rifle and a large knife that started late this morning at a South Loop rail yard. Police were on the scene of a possible standoff south of Roosevelt Road at Lumber Street, west of the Chicago River, according to Chicago Police. Amtrak police discovered someone trespassing on railroad property and the person may be threatening suicide, police said.
While the standoff ended safely (thankfully), we took a look back at Google Analytics and found that this post had generated an amazingly high amount of traffic to Sloopin (over 20,000+ pageviews in one day).


It was posted to reddit, the social news site that has revolutionized the way news is shared.

It's crazy how technology is changing the game on how information is shared.  

With that said, just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for a great year!  Thanks for the support and thanks for reading, contributing and coming to Sloopin.  We couldn't do it without you.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The History of Lake Shore Drive

A fun read about the history of Lake Shore Drive was recently on Chicago Tribune:
Both a boulevard and one of the nation's first superhighways, Lake Shore Drive arguably showcases Chicago like no other street does for any other city. From Hollywood Avenue to the Chicago Skyway, the drive offers an incomparable view of the beauty of nature and the power of man. With barely a turn of the head, motorists can behold the skyscrapers that put Chicago's stamp on modern architecture and a shoreline virtually unspoiled by industry.
It also spurred us to search youtube for this gem by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah:

Friday, December 27, 2013

British School is a Go; Construction Planned for February

Rendering of new school (via DNA Info)
There has been a lot of back and forth on the proposed British School of Chicago coming to the South Loop.  Last we heard, it was getting delayed because of a merger.

Anyway, apparently everything has been finalized and this project is a go:
Nord Anglia Education is delighted to announce the opening of the British School of Chicago’s new campus in Chicago’s South Loop. 
The custom-built South Loop campus is scheduled to open at 161 W. 9th St. in September, 2015 and will serve more than 1000 Preschool to Grade 12 students, with a strong focus on Middle and High School education. The new school will complement the existing British School of Chicago campus in Lincoln Park which will serve students from Preschool to the end of their Middle School education.

But if you're like us, you won't believe it until you see it.  So that's supposed to begin soon according to the press release:
The development of the new campus is intended to commence with a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by Chicago-based developer McCaffery Interests, Inc. at the Roosevelt Collection, 150 W. Roosevelt Rd., in February 2014.
You can read the rest of the press release here.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Save 50% Off Adoption Fee at PetSmart Adoption Center

In the holiday spirit, we wanted to share this:
My name is Trisha Teckenbrock with The Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago’s oldest and largest animal welfare organization. I wanted to share with you our “Friends & Family” coupon for half off of the adoption fee of an adult cat adoption at the Everyday Adoption Center in the South Loop’s PetSmart. The Anti-Cruelty Society has teamed up with PetSmart Charities to open a satellite adoption center—a location that holds about 50 of our animals up for adoption. This new center, which opened in October, will help us to adopt an additional 1,000 animals each year. 
This coupon is good throughout December 30. To help encourage cat adoptions, we are spreading the word about the large amount of cats up for adoption who are looking to start off the new year in a new home.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

City Tavern Gets Some Love Due to Their Fireplace

Cozy bars and restaurants are always nice around this time of the year and City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan) has a pretty warm and intimate fireplace setup in the front area of their bar.  They recently got some love from Chicago Signature who did a post on Chicago Bars with Fireplaces:
City Tavern (1416 South Michigan)
A cozy, intimate setting that’s ideal for small bar bites to snack on. The chef’s menu takes a modern spin on some classic tavern recipes with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients – our favorite! So come grab a seat by the fire and get relaxing! The perfect date night spot, too!
On the same block, Square One and Chicago Firehouse have fireplaces too.  Are there any other South Loop spots with a fireplace?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Vote Sloop in Curbed Chicago's Annual 2013 Curbed Cup

Our favorite neighborhood (assuming you're here and you like the Sloop) is facing off against the Ukranian Village in the second round of the 2013 Curbed Cup.

If you want the Sloop to get some blog cred, head on over and vote for the Sloop (FYI - We're currently losing)!

Sloopin's Top Stories of 2013
#2) Mariano's Opens and Sloop Goes Wild

Over the past year a ton has happened in the South Loop.  Since there are a few Monday's left in the year, we thought we would count down the top 5 stories on Sloopin in 2013 according to Google Analytics.
We've spent a lot of time talking about this grocery store opening so we won't belabor the point much more. 

Mariano's (1615 S. Clark) opened in the South Loop and most everyone is happy about this.  Beyond them opening, they also setup shop in a relatively desolate area of the neighborhood and in turn provided some much needed energy to South Clark street.

On opening day in October, we tried to trample down enthusiasm, but the reality is that this opening is good for the South Loop (after all this did rack up the second most amount of page views on Sloopin in 2013).

While we don't anticipate a grocery story registering in the top 5 stories for 2014, we could be wrong.  Jewel-Osco buying the Dominick's location just down the street has potential to be an interesting story, but it's still not as big of a deal as Mariano's opening.

Anyway, glad to have them in the Sloop!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Map Fun: Building Ages in Chicago

A fun interactive map if you're curious about how old certain buildings are (click here to get to interactive map):
Add caption

Friday, December 20, 2013

Meli Cafe Opens at 500 S. Dearborn

A reader writes:
Meli Café on Dearborn and Congress will be opening its doors the week of Dec 9, according its Stopped into Meli Café at Congress and Dearborn today to see when they would be opening since the signs are up and the place looks furnished. The man who opened the door for me, name escapes me now, said they hoped to open next Tues or Weds pending final inspection by the City.
It's true!  We went by on Wednesday and saw people inside.

Meli Cafe is a popular spot around the city and is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  SJ, JS, JM!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Another Developer Eyeing Roosevelt for Retail Build-out

Marathon at 1113 S. Jefferson (from CRED)
Retail continues to be a major story in 2013 and yesterday Chicago Real Estate Daily reported that another developer is eyeing the "Roosevelt Corridor" for a build-out:
With one big retail development under construction near the Roosevelt Road shopping strip, Chicago-based investor JRG Capital Partners LLC plans another on a site across the street. 
A JRG venture paid $7.5 million earlier this month for the property at 1113 S. Jefferson St., immediately west of the Maxwell, a 230,000-square-foot shopping center being built by a venture including the Bond Cos., a Chicago-based developer, Cook County records show. 
JRG, headed by brothers Harry and Charles Huzenis, has hired a broker to seek retail tenants for a development on the site, currently home to a Marathon gas station and garage, said Cheri Grossman, the firm's senior acquisitions officer.

Plans are in the early stages, but it's clear that this area is of extreme interest for developers and retailers.  A money quote from the article:
“I think there are plenty of guys that want to be in that corridor,” said Jason Gustaveson, vice-president at Stone Real Estate Corp., a Chicago-based retail broker. “There's nobody down in the South Loop on Roosevelt who's not doing well.”
Seems like a pretty bold statement, but it does seems that the stores on Roosevelt are usually pretty packed (maybe with the exception of the newly opened Roosevelt Collection shops).

Should be an interesting 2014 for the "Roosevelt Corridor".

(Hat tip:  BS & KM!)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Executive Chef, Amanda Barnes, Announced at City Tavern

Image from City Tavern Facebook Page
City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan) has been open for just over a year but there have been a ton of ups and downs for the restaurant.  Chicago Eater provides an update on a new executive chef:
Though in place since the beginning of October, Amanda Barnes has only now been officially announced as the executive chef at City Tavern.  
The restaurant, which lost its Michelin bib gourmand status this year after entering the list the previous year, has gone through its share of chefs in the past year or so (Kendal Duque, Robert Hoffman, Jackie Shen), so it's not surprising that they wanted to make sure everything was in place before going public with the change.  
Barnes, who has logged time at The Purple Pig, moto, The Publican, Larry Forgione's An American Place and Gerard Craft's Niche, acknowledges the hurdle she and her crew have to climb.  
"I'm enjoying the challenge of winning the public back and letting them know that they can trust the kitchen and the food again," she says.
Best of luck and hopefully this provides some stability for the restaurant.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Build-out on Dearborn in the Old H+ Records Retail Space

A reader writes:
Saw there is a build-out happening at the old Hydrogen Records Space, 750 South Dearborn-ish. Looks like they tore out all the beautiful work the H+ Records guys did. Have you heard anything? Hopefully it's something the neighborhood needs, and not another Electric Smoke Boutique. Fingers crossed for Coffee/Bakery shop.
Does anyone have any knowledge of what's going in here?

Here is an old post on H+ Records for those interested.

(Hat tip: TR!)

Monday, December 16, 2013

House Hunters: South Loop Edition!

If you're like us, your fascinated by the faux process that potential home buyers go through on HGTV's House Hunters.  Looking inside someone elses home buying rationale is captivating (not sure why).

But you know it's not real, right?  

Anyway, a reader sent us this episode which features two South Loop properties.  While the process may not be "real", you will see some familiar South Loop spots and also hear rationale that probably makes a lot of sense to many of you:
(Hat tip:  SLV!)

Sloopin's Top Stories of 2013
#3) Panozzo's Closes; Evaluating Options

Over the past year a ton has happened in the South Loop.  Since there are a few Monday's left in the year, we thought we would count down the top 5 stories on Sloopin in 2013 according to Google Analytics.

As we stated last Monday, it wasn't all roses for South Loop retail.

It's been a slightly odd year for Panozzo's (1303 S. Michigan).  Back in February, a reader questioned if the market was under new ownership.  While some changes were imminent, ownership remained the same.

Then in September, we got a note from Mike Panozzo, the owner, notifying us of a renovation.  If you look inside the restaurant now you will no doubt notice a slightly modified interior.

But then in October, the sign appeared on the door and Mike sent us a note:
Today we posted a sign in the front door of Panozzo's telling customers that we are closed for the time being while we evaluate our options going forward. We're looking at every scenario possible in hopes that the store will re-open in some form. It has been a difficult time, although I believe the quality of our product and services always remained top notch. 
We made many changes, some more dramatic than others, but all we felt were necessary. We are fighting as hard as humanly possible because we love what we do and we love the South Loop. We believe independent businesses are what give a neighborhood its character, and we like to believe we are an important piece of that equation. We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding. We'll keep you posted.  
Mike Panozzo

So while the door is currently closed, we remain hopeful that this isn't the end of Panozzo's.  Best of luck and hope to see you back in the Sloop soon!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Aerial Shot of Sloop with Labeled Rental Buildings

We like picture of the Sloop and we like real estate.  So this picture from the peeps at YoChicago sparked our interest.  They've labeled the rental buildings in the Sloop (via YoChicago Flickr Page):
An aerial map of South Loop apartments

(Hat tip: JZ!)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Solid Carry-Out Options at Nepal House & Kurrah

We don't do carry-out very often (with the exception of pizza), but for whatever reason we recently have done it a couple times.  With that said, we have two new things we have craved ever since.

Momo at Nepal House (1301 S. Michigan)
Nepal House has a menu that is very similar to their sister restaurant Chicago Curry House (899 S. Plymouth).  However, whenever we've been there we never tried the Chicken Momo.  Upon a recent carry-out order from Nepal House we finally did try the momo and WOW were they delicious.  Try not to drool too much:
Chicken Momo:  Steamed dumplings of minced chicken seasoned with Nepali herbs and spices.  Served with our special sauce.  A true national dish of Nepal.    

Falafel Wrap at Kurrah (1355 S. Michigan)
We're pretty big fans of Kurah.  We had an excellent meal when they first opened.  They've also garnered some respect from Michelin by receiving a Bib Gourmand rating.  Anyway, one of the things that sparked our interest was the "WRAPS" section of the menu.

It's only available for Lunch or Carryout, but it's definitely worth a try.  You can opt for a variety of main ingredient options:
Falafel, Chicken Shawerma, Lamb and Beef Shawerma, Duck Shawerma, Chicken Kabob, Kifta (ground beef and lamb) kabob, Black Angus Rib Eye Kabob 
The base for all wraps are:
All wraps are filled with arugula, olives, onion, sumac, parsley, cream toum, hummas, tomatoes, Persian cucumbers and potatoes.  Served with hot sauce on the side.

We opted for the Falafel and it was a huge, flavorful wrap.  We're already dreaming of trying one of the other main ingredients.

Anyway, just two relatively new carry-out options for your consideration.

(Hat tip: DB!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Apartments and Retail Project Coming to 2001 S. State and 2000 S. Wabash

From chicagorealestatedaily.com:
Windy City RE LLC said it plans to convert two adjacent South Loop buildings into apartments and retail space. A venture led by the Chicago-based developer paid $3.3 million for the buildings at 2001 S. State St. and 2000 S. Wabash Ave., property records show. The firm has a $3.8 million loan from Hinsdale Bank & Trust Co. to finance the project, said Windy City Principal Milan Rubenstein. In the four-story building on State Street, the company will build out 22 rental units and 14,500 square feet of retail space. On Wabash, it plans three apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space.
(Hat tip:  KM!)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chicagoist: Jazz Showcase and Reggie's Named in Top 15 Best Music Venues in Chicago

As the great philosopher Confucius once said, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

And lucky for us the South Loop has some solid options if you're trying to satisfy your thirst for music.

The blog Chicagoist recently had a post listing their top 15 music venues in Chicago and two spots in the Sloop made the list:
Jazz Showcase (806 S. Plymouth Court)
Back in September I wrote that Jazz Showcase’s current home in Dearborn Station has the chance to be a permanent one for years to come after a period of itinerant status. It’s latest incarnation is a beautiful sounding room and the Segal family are still expert bookers of local and national jazz acts after 66 years as concert promoters. Jazz Showcase is cozy, sounds great and has amazing sight lines. Sit back and tear into a couple martinis as you enjoy some adventurous music. — Chuck Sudo

Reggie’s (2105 S. State)
This South Loop/Motor Row venue has a dark, dingy concert room that is routinely packed with crowds and a programming lineup ranging from rock to hardcore, punk, metal and hip-hop. Don’t let the address scare you; it’s located a short walk from the Chinatown Red Line Station and across the street from a 29 bus stop. —Chuck Sudo
Amazingly we still haven't been to Jazz Showcase...we will soon though....we will.  However, we can attest that Reggie's is rad!

Beyond that obviously you can catch a solid "big" concert at other places around the Sloop - Soldier Field, Northerly Island, Auditorium Theater and let's not forget Lollapalooza.

Oh and that other place called Buddy Guy's Legends.  That's pretty sweet.

What else are we missing?

Some other rad stuff we found on YouTube from these two venues:

Monday, December 9, 2013

South Loop: "Starting To Get A Lot Better"

A reader sends us an entertaining link from the redeye:
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. And now, it's a city of stereotypes. 
Internet map makers (mapurbane.comreleased a stereotypical breakdown of Chicago Tuesday, and the results to some Chicagoans probably appear hit-or-miss.
Sometimes perception is reality - and at least our neighborhood is "starting to get a lot better".

(Hat tip: MW!)

Sloopin's Top Stories of 2013
#4) Retail Business Booms in the Sloop

Over the past year a ton has happened in the South Loop.  Since there are a few Monday's left in the year, we thought we would count down the top 5 stories on Sloopin in 2013 according to Google Analytics.
Loft at the Roosevelt Collection (via Roosevelt Collection Facebook Page)
2013 isn't over yet, but we would venture to say it will go down as one of the biggest years in terms of retail openings in a long long while.

While there were a ton of openings and some closings, in our mind the biggest news of the year was Roosevelt Collection finally getting retail tenants.  As of this post there have been 11 different businesses that have opened this year with some more coming in short order.  While it was painfully slow to get to this point (thanks recession!) it seems like the development has found it's groove.  Hopefully that continues.

We also saw a number of new independent food options open in the Sloop - Kurah (1355 S. Michigan), Nepal House (1301 S. Michigan), Umai Sushi (730 S. Clark) - to name a few of our favorites.  There are more, but these really stood out to us!

Let's not forget about the chains that the neighborhood has been clamoring for (Chipotle and Gioradno's).

We also were excited to welcome Piano Forte (1335 S. Michigan) to the Sloop.  This business, which was previously located just north of Congress and Michigan, brings a different, musical vibe to the neighborhood and something we like to see.

There was also a large grocery store that moved in at 1615 S. Clark...but we will discuss that later.

Let's remember - not everything was peaches & cream in 2013.  By our count we lost twelve businesses in 2013 (as of today).  While we can't speak for everyone - the news about Panozzo's was especially disappointing.

By our calculations we are at a net positive of 38 businesses opening in the South Loop this year.  Not too shabby!

We will finalize this at the end of the year - but please keep us honest, did we miss anything?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sloopin Retail Opening Round-up: A Night in the Sloop Edition

Opening night at Riff Music Lounge (2239 S. Michigan via Riff Facebook Page)
As you may know we at Sloopin try to have our finger on the pulse of things opening in the South Loop.  While we like to think we're witty and/or creative with our writing, it probably isn't.

But we're not going to get discouraged.  With that in mind, we thought we would do our best to inject a storyline into this retail round-up.  It's probably a horrible story, but whatevs.

Hey Sloopers - what are you doing this Saturday?

We've got your afternoon/night planned out thanks to some recently opened South Loop spots.

First off, you've got to look good and that doesn't just mean dope clothes, or a haircut or some makeup.  It's important (to some people) that you're "special" areas are well groomed.  Yup, that means you should check out the recently opened European Wax Center at 1103 S. State.

This is their ninth location in the Chicagoland area and they offer a wide variety of services ranging from back waxing for men to bikini waxing for women.

Now that we have that taken care of, next step is to head on over to Flirtatious Lingerie and Club Wear at 1317 S. Michigan.  It looks like they just opened (lights on & people inside).  While we don't exactly know what clubwear is, it might be useful later in the night - especially if you're lucky - wink wink!

Ok.  You should probably eat and/or shower at some point.  Maybe make yourself a nice cocktail in the warm confines of your home.  But don't get too comfortable, because you've got a lot of dancing to do.

Yup, that means heading over to the recently opened Riff Music Lounge at 2239 S. Michigan.  Last time we checked in on Riff they were gearing up for their grand opening on "Blackout Wednesday", the night before Thanksgiving.

Well according to their Facebook page, it looks like everything went well.  If you're looking to get a feel for the space and crowd, there is an extensive 192 photo gallery here.
Bottle service at Riff Music Lounge (via Riff Facebook Page)
So now that you've danced your behind off and met that special someone, it's time to go back home and show off your recent purchases from earlier in the day.

And yes...we're talking about your hair-free back!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Two Towers at 1333 and 1345 S. Wabash Will Be Condos?

Vacant lot on 1300 block of South Wabash
It looks like construction might be under way on CMK's two new residential building on the 1300 block of Wabash.  Upon walking by recently we noticed an orange permit and some form of machinery drilling on the south part of the lot.
Work at 1345 S. Wabash Begins

In other news a reader writes that zoning for the buildings have changes:
I just wanted to give you a heads up on a zoning change and a great shift to our south loop housing market. CMK is developing both 1333 and 1345 S Wabash. The smaller of the two buildings will be a 15 story with 144 condo's, with the second high-rise now becoming condo's instead of another rental building with a doorman and fitness center; 33 stories and 307 units. 
Prices will be coming soon, but a nice change in increased inventory of condo sales again for the south loop instead of more rentals. This is a sign of the housing market gaining momentum.
We're not real estate experts, so we're not going to speculate if this is good or bad.  However, from an aesthetic standpoint a building here will definitely be better than a overgrown empty lot.

(Hat tip:  MM & JM!)

Asian Outpost Opens Friday; Aims to Bring Asian Family Cooking to the Sloop

Owners Lois and David Lee emailed us:
Just wanted to let you know that Asian Outpost, 1315 S. Wabash will be opening this Friday, December 6 for dinner service with lunch service to begin in the following week or so. Feel free to share our concept book and thanks for your interest.
Congrats on the opening and we look forward to trying it out.

You can find the concept book here.  One of the pages in the book talks about the restaurants inspiration:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fleetwood Restaurant Coming to Motor Row

Potentially another good sign for Motor Row - a new spot called Fleetwood Restaurant is apparently coming to 2333 S. Michigan (the spot where Cali's Mexican American Grill was):
Was out jogging this evening and noticed a coming soon sign for Fleetwood Restaurant at 2333 Michigan Avenue. The location is 2 doors north of where Broad Shoulders Brewing will be. There is a website, which offers minimal detail at: http://fleetwoodchicago.com.

The website is clearly a template and clearly hasn't been finished yet (which is pretty normal for a new business/restaurant).

We tried to do some additional searching on the interwebs, but didn't find much except for a link to a Fleetwood Restaurant that was in Springfield but closed in the 1980's (however, we're pretty confident these have nothing in common).

Does anyone have any additional information on Fleetwood Restaurant?

If they're looking for dish suggestions...may we offer "Fleetwood Mac & Cheese": 

Sorry - we just had to do it.  Sigh...

(Hat tip: EM!)

Greener South Loop To Hold "Greener Together" Contest Event Tomorrow

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

City Could Use Eminent Domain on "Rezko" Land

The infamous 62-acre "Rezko" lot (Clark and Roosevelt) is in the news again - this time due to a Wilmette investor trying to recoup his investment.  The link is on chicagorealestate.com (behind registration) and will warn you that it's not the most fascinating read in the world.

Of interest is a paragraph that gives us an update on the future of the land:
Today, the 62-acre tract along the Chicago River sits empty. Mr. Rezko's planned development for the site, which is still owned by GMH (General Mediterranean Holding S.A.), has expired and the property was rezoned to light industrial earlier this year. In July, the Community Development Commission unanimously voted in favor of giving the city the authority to acquire the site, possibly through its powers of eminent domain.  
GMH has requested that the city give it until January to submit a new development plan, a city spokesman wrote in an email. If the company doesn't present anything, then the City Council could sign off on authority to acquire it.
We imagine this will drag out, but some day this land will get developed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's Official - Kai Sushi Reopens at 1255 S. State

In case you missed the speculative post two weeks ago, it's official - Kai Sushi has reopened at 1255 S. State.  A reader sends us this picture:

It also looks like the finally have signage up on the building and windows.

Welcome back and best of luck!

(Hat tip: JW!)

Sloopin's Top Stories of 2013
#5) Dominick's Moving Out; Jewel-Osco Doubling Presence

Now that December is upon us, it's time to take a look a back.

Over the past year a ton has happened in the South Loop.  Since there are five Monday's left in the year, we thought we would count down the top 5 stories on Sloopin in 2013 according to Google Analytics.

Dominick's at 1340 S. Canal

At #5 is the news that Chicagoland grocery stalwart Dominick's is moving out of the area.  While this was a broader story than just the South Loop, it was interesting because when the announcement came out it was quickly reported that competitor Jewel-Osco was buying the store at 1340 S. Canal.

This is location is less than a mile from the Jewel-Osco store at Roosevelt and Wabash.

While we're still not 100% sure what the strategy is here, we should find out more in 2014.

For more info on our post and the insightful comments click here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

See CTA Holiday Train NOW!

CTA Holiday Train (via Chicagoist)

The Chicagoist blog gives us the schedule:
This year’s holiday train schedule starts Nov. 29-30 on the Green Line. The six-car train wraps up its Green Line run Dec. 3 before moving to the Orange Line Dec. 4-7; the Pink Line Dec. 10-11; the Blue Line Dec. 12-14; The Red Line Dec. 17 and 19; the Purple Line Express Dec. 18 and 20; the Red and Purple Lines Dec. 21 before wrapping up things on the Yellow Line Dec. 23.  
CTA’s Holiday Train is one of the regular staples of the season in Chicago. Now in its 22nd year, the train features “L” cars decorated with lights and an open-air rail car where Santa sits (hopefully in layers) wishing riders compliments of the season. Riders may track the train on CTA’s train tracker app, which will feature a candy cane next to its estimated arrival time information.

Friday, November 29, 2013

3 More Businesses Coming to Roosevelt Collection

It seems like every week we have some news coming out of Roosevelt Collection.  Whether it's a new store being announced or a new store opening, momentum continues for this once ill fated retail concept.

First off, a reader writes to let us know about a different type of "business" that is coming:
Northwestern Memorial physicians group is coming to The Roosevelt Collection -- sticker promoting it has appeared on the storefronts.
We couldn't find anything on the interwebs, but it wouldn't surprise us to see this happen.  Northwestern continues to extend their reach throughout Chicago and why not extend into the South Loop.  Seems to make sense to us.

Bentley's Corner Barkery Arlington Heights Location
In other more conventional retail news, Bentley's Corner Barkery is officially opening up in the shops as well.  Pet lovers will probably be happy (from their website): 
If you're like us, your pets have become family members. Bentley's Corner Barkery is dedicated to the health of your dogs and cats. We hand pick and research each item, so you can be at ease when making any purchase at our store. Customers like knowing we stand behind every product for sale. 
A big misconception is that quality means expensive, but our store carries an abundance of great-quality pet foods at affordable prices. Bring in your food labels to compare the ingredients of your current dog or cat food to our high-quality choices.

This is Bentley's first downtown store.  They have various stores in the suburbs.

Finally, That's Our Bag, the Michigan Avenue store that infamously has been "going out of business" for years has apparently officially closed their doors and will open them at Roosevelt Collection (according to an article on DNAinfo.com):
That's Our Bag on North Michigan Avenue is really closed this time. 
The discount luggage shop at 200 N. Michigan Ave. shut its doors at the end of August and stripped its shelves this week after 33 years at the corner of Lake Street, according to a post on the store's website. 
But many Chicagoans — who say they have seen "going out of business" signs at the store for years or even decades — said they weren't convinced the store was closing until the storefront was actually bare.

The article goes onto say:
Officials with That's Our Bag did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the store's website announced a new location planned for the Roosevelt Collection at 150 W. Roosevelt Road. No opening date was provided.
So yeah, good momentum at Roosevelt Collection.  Welcome to all these new businesses!

(Hat tip: TE, SP, AA!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Sloopin

It's been a great year here on Sloopin and the South Loop!

With that said, we wanted to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful for all of our readers, tips, pictures, comments, suggestions and whatnot.

Simply put - Thanks!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lingerie and Uniforms: Two New Clothing Options Coming to the Sloop?

Shopping (of the clothing variety) options in the Sloop continue to increase, but in our opinion continues to be underrepresented.

Well two new clothing stores are opening and while neither is what we would call "conventional" shopping options, at least one of them is interesting.

First off is Flirtatious Lingerie and Clubwear who is moving in at 1317 S. Michigan (the old Blink Eye Lash Studio space that closed in October).  This isn't a chain and as far as we can find they don't have a website or social media presence yet.  But one can assume that it will have lingerie and "stuff".

What is a bit confusing (for us at least) is the term clubwear.  What does that mean?  Maybe some "intimate" club like the South Loop's Pink Monkey (750 S. Clinton)?  Or are we talking about 50 Cent type of club?  Regardless, this gives us a chance to embed some 50:
Second up is a little less exciting.  Advance Uniform has apparently moved into 33 E. 13th street (between State and Wabash).  This space has been vacant for a long time.  Sloopin old timers might remember it as Kaw Kaw's Cigar Society which was evicted in 2009.
Anyway, if Advance Uniform sounds familiar it might be because you've walked by an old dilapidated looking building baring it's name at 1132 S. Wabash.  
Advance Uniform at 1132 S. Wabash moving down to 33 E. 13th Street?
Not sure if the new location is a second store front or maybe them moving out of the building at 1132 S. Wabash.  Anyone have the scoop?
(Hat tip: DK!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Spa, Red Pearl Chicago, Coming to 1933 S. Archer

We recently posted about a new commercial/residential building coming to the intersection of Archer and State.

Well this area is in the news again - we recently received another tip just down the street about a new spa coming to 1933 S. Archer called Red Pearl.  Here is a screen shot from their website:

Best of luck to them!

(Hat tip: ND!)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tapas Valencia (1530 S. State) Opens Their Doors for Free Thanksgiving Dinner

We love that Tapas Valencia (1530 S. State) does this:  

It's a very nice gesture and something they've been doing for awhile.

Safe travels this week and wishing everyone a happy (early) thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Recently On the Sloopin Message Board....

It's been awhile since we've done a post about the activity on the message board, so wanted to bring your attention to some of the many topics discussed on the message board:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kai Sushi (1255 S. State) Reopening Today?

Since everyone doesn't read our message board and sometimes consumers Sloopin via social channels, we wanted to bring a recent post to light:

If you recall, Kai Sushi had a "temporary closing" a couple of weeks ago, but didn't provide much information beyond that.  While we were skeptical about this whole ordeal, it seems like it was just a minor hiccup.

Anyway, hopefully their impending reopening is true and their fresh sushi is back for good in the Sloop.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Commercial/Residential Building Coming to 1845 S. State?

New Commercial/Residential Building Coming to 1845 S. State
We've had a couple emails and posts on the message board about some action at the intersection of Archer and State.  A reader writes:
Hey Sloopin. I've noticed recent construction at the intersection of Archer and State. The rather small building looked like it could be commercial and had kind of a similar appearance (to me) to the Jersey Mike's on Roosevelt. I searched online and came up with this description for the construction on the City of Chicago Permit site: 

So there will be some commercial new on the first floor. I just don't know what yet.
Over on the message board Mannie Fre$h received the following notice:
I received a letter in the mail stating that it was an expansion to a restaurant and have applied for a liquor license, but besides that I haven't heard anything else
Anyone got any additional scoop?

(Hat tip: BM, Steven, Mannie Fre$h!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Casino Most Viable for Michael Reese Land

Over the years we've spent a little time covering the future of the former Michael Reese Hospital campus just south of the Stevenson highway.  Today, Mayor Emanuel's team released findings from a report they commissioned on the subject (via Chicago Tribune):
Remains of the former Michael Reese Hospital
(image from Chicago Tribune)
A Chicago casino anchoring a redevelopment that includes the former Michael Reese Hospital site would be more economically viable for the city than a Barack Obama presidential library or a cluster of convention hotels, according to a study Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration released Tuesday.  
A hired team led by the Chicago-based architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was charged with creating a framework to redevelop the 48-acre Near South Side site, but their recommendations extended far beyond that parcel.

The article goes into more depth on the topic and is interesting if you're into big, city led projects.  We're still skeptical about the whole idea, but eventually something will happen down there.  What continues to be uncertain.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lollapalooza Agrees to Chip in Money for Park on South Side of Grant Park

We got word of a potential skate park and entertainment space coming to the South end of Grant Park earlier this year and yesterday DNAinfo had an update on the project:
Area of Project (via DNAinfo)
Lollapalooza's organizers will chip in toward the cost of building a sleek 3-acre skate park and entertainment hub at the south end of Grant Park, said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy.  
Funding will be raised privately to augment the $2.5 million in Near South TIF money already allotted to the project, O'Neill said at a Greater South Loop Association state of the neighborhood meeting on Saturday.  
The project on the land bounded by 11th Street and Roosevelt Road, Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive will include an obstacle course of ramps, rails and ledges and a projection screen and mini-amphitheater surrounded by landscaped hills.

Sounds like a positive project and one that would help beautify the strange area just west of the train tracks.

Assuming this does get the green light, we will be curious to see if it coincides with the Roosevelt street scape project.  The projects would overlap, so it seems like cost efficiencies could be had.

(Hat tip:  MT!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Riff Music Lounge Looks To Fulfill Your Dancing Desires at 2239 S. Michigan

LED lit bar at Riff Music Lounge - 2239 S. Michigan (via Urban Daddy)
Much has been made about the future "entertainment district" that the city wants to come to Motor Row.  So far it's been mostly talk.  Yes we know about the impending Broad Shoulders Brewery.  Yes we know about the plans for a event center and hotel.  And yes we know about the new green line L stop the city is building at Cermak and State.  But until any of those things open or really progress, Motor Row will continue to be an enigma.

Well maybe not.

A reader tipped us to a new music venue that is opening up called Riff Music Lounge (2239 S. Michigan).  According to Urban Daddy:
Sometimes you want to dance.  
Sometimes you need to dance.  
And sometimes... well, sometimes you just need to watch other people need to dance.
So meet Riff Music Lounge, a South Loop recording studio repurposed for your getting-down and vodka-and-Red-Bull-ing needs, soft-open next weekend (weekend of Nov 22nd).  
Pressure Point Studios used to use this as a recording studio for artists like Justin Timberlake, J. Lo and Mariah Carey, but now the studio’s entirely upstairs. Still, don’t be surprised if you notice the occasional drop-in by a visiting recording-industry dignitary. 
Outside of Riff (via CBS Chicago)
Interesting.  We actually recently drove by the spot and did notice some activity in the area.  So it makes sense to hear about this opening.

While dancing might not appeal to the core demographic in the South Loop (maybe it does?), it's nice to have variety in the neighborhood.  Riff joins two other intimate music venues in the broader Motor Row area.

The Shrine (2109 S. Wabash), which mostly books hip-hop and rap music, and Reggie's (2109 S. State), which books a wide variety of live acts, are pretty popular despite their relatively desolate surroundings.

Maybe this Motor Row Entertainment District is real...

Anyway, welcome to the neighborhood Riff Music Lounge.  Oh and if you're interested they're officially opening on Wednesday, November 27th with DJ Trentino:

(Hat tip:  RZ!)