Saturday, August 31, 2013

Francesca's and Fleet Feet Open at Roosevelt Collection

Two more stores have opened up their doors at Roosevelt Collection:
francesca's open on East side of the complex
Fleet Feet open on East side of the complex
That marks the 5th and 6th stores to open.

It seems like there is progress at Haberdash and Bridgeport Coffee.

Also of interest is that generic signs have gone up stating "Lease Pending with Fragrance Soaps & Bath Retailer" as well as some other generic ones for a Spa and Sushi restaurant.  Not sure if this is just marketing or a sign of something to come.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Green Line Cermak Stop Construction Officially Underway; Completion Slated for End of 2014

Rendering for Green Line CTA Stop at Cermak (via ABC7)
From a city press release:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local officials broke ground today on the new Cermak Green Line station, a $50 million construction project that will energize the area around McCormick Place and provide a crucial additional transportation option for the Near South Side. The $50 million station is part of $92 million in overall transportation investments, including the rehabilitation of the Roosevelt and Harrison stations on the Red Line and the 18th Street Connector, which will significantly revitalize the near south side of the city.

Apparently the station will be done by the end of 2014:
The Cermak station will be the 146th CTA station. The construction project is being managed by the Chicago Department of Transportation, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The station will be located near the intersection of Cermak Avenue and State Street and directly west of the McCormick Place convention center.

The press release also talks about some other Near South Side projects.  The most interesting to us was some of the improvements at Roosevelt Road:
Roosevelt Road Streetscape and Intermodal Improvements, between State Street and Columbus Drive. Total Cost: $7 million (All from TIF)
  • Chicago Neighborhoods Now Project 
  • Wider sidewalks and improved pedestrian facilities at the CTA intermodal facility 
  • A raised two-way bicycle path along the north side of Roosevelt between Wabash and Indiana, improving connections to the park and museum campus 
  • New pedestrian lighting between State and Indiana 
  • Pedestrian safety improvements including new crosswalks, improved existing crosswalks, and pedestrian refuge islands 
  • Streetscape enhancements including decorative pavers, community identifiers, street trees, seating and bike parking

All this sounds great.  What is surprising it this is the first time we've heard of the confirmed "two-way bicycle path" on Roosevelt.  If you recall we did a post on the idea back in July - but at the time it seemed like it was more of an "idea" not a project.

Sounds interesting, but as usual the devil is in the details.  And right now we don't have the details.

(Hat tip:  LL!)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Giordano's at 14th & Michigan Aiming for Late Sept Opening

Image inside Giordano's South Loop (Photo via Lizzie Shiffman DNA INFO)
Deep dish lovers rejoice (via DNAinfo):
After months of building problems slowed construction plans, Giordano's pizza franchisee Joe Chojnowski hopes to open a deep dish pizzeria at 1340 S. Michigan Ave. by the end of September.
Build-out is underway at the former Cook County Courthouse building, a seven-story Classic Revival-style structure that made Preservation Chicago's endangered list in 2006.
It truly is a unique/lovely building for the neighborhood and glad to see it restored.  For those interested in additional details about the inside of the restaurant:
The finished product will include a horseshoe-shaped bar that seats 25, and tables for nearly 100 diners, Chojnowski said. The eatery will offer delivery and pickup in addition to sit-down dining. 
"We're excited to be coming to this area," he said. "I think Giordano's is gonna be well welcomed here. We've had a very good response so far from people stopping by, asking when we're opening. I think it's going to be a good location."

What remains a mystery (or at least we aren't aware of it) is what the rest of the building has in store.  Last we heard it was set to be condos, but honestly we're not sure.  It seems like the rage in the area is apartments vs. condos.

Anyone know anything?

(Hat tip: LS!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

See Sloop in Divergent Trailer

Movie sets are pretty common in the area, but they're typically not as big as Divergent.  You've probably seen posts we've done on the topic, but here is a trailer for the new movie that's coming out in 2014 (shots around the sloop at:

Not a huge fan of the genre, but will probably watch it regardless.

On a different, but similar note Transformers is back in town for the filming of their 4th movie.  They were recently down around McCormick Place shooting the movie (photos here from Chicago Tribune).

(Hat tip: CPM!)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RedEye: South Loop "Booming"

Corner of Michigan and Roosevelt looking Southeast (image via Lenny Gilmore/RedEye) 
The positive press continues to come for the Sloop.  Yesterday a reader sent us a link from the Chicago Red Eye with the title, "South Loop Dreams".  It's definitely a positive article and hits on some of the main reasons why people like the neighborhood (location and convenience being two of the main reasons cited):
When Olivia Cole, 25, was deciding where she should live with her boyfriend, she considered breaking up with Chicago. 
She was tired of the slow Red Line commute from her place in Edgewater to her job downtown, which affected how much she wanted to go out at night. She thought about moving to another city but didn't want to change jobs. She wanted to be near her friends who live on the South Side without being too far from the Loop. 
Eventually, Cole settled on the South Loop, a place she came to know and love from her time as a student at Columbia College. 
"It's just a cool area. … Now I can get to work in 20 minutes," Cole said. "I love that I can walk to Roosevelt [Road]. My dad was in town and I said, 'Let's go to a museum.' "
For us it's a little bit of a boring read and doesn't seem to go very deep into why the Sloop is great (this is a commuter paper so naturally the level of detail is going to be limited).  Regardless, it's always good when our neighborhood gets painted and a positive light.

This comes on the heels of a similar (but more quantitative) article in Crain's about real estate prices recovering in the South Loop.

It definitely beats the type of press we were getting last year.

(Hat tip:  MC!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Panozzo's Renovation Coming in Early September

There has been some questions on the message board about Panozzo's recently and the owner, Mike Panozzo, sent us a letter to clarify what's going on:
Have been meaning to drop a line to Sloopin’ for a while because I have feared that the changes at Panozzo’s Italian Market would lead to confusion and misconceptions about the business. My fault. We appreciate and respect the ownership that Sloopin’ and its followers take in the South Loop, so let me spell out what is happening and why.  
Many things have changed for Panozzo’s in the past two years, but one thing hasn’t. Our philosophy is, and will always be, chef-driven with locally sourced, house-made and high-quality ingredients. The food we make ourselves will always be the most important thing we do at Panozzo’s.  
The menu has changed to reflect that, which means many of the “options” that existed before simply don’t exist. We are not trying to force-feed the public our interpretation of “the perfect sandwich,” but we have put a lot of time and effort into creating sandwiches and dishes that are unique to Panozzo’s.  The description in my blog entry earlier in the year spells that out, so I won’t rehash it here.  
That said, I don’t disagree that we have done a poor job of redefining ourselves for the neighborhood. That problem will be remedied shortly after Labor Day. To accommodate additional seating, we have had to eliminate some coolers to create space to put in public restrooms. We have ordered new furniture, but don’t want to install it until the final buildout is completed. We will be closed for several days early in September, and when we re-open we promise to be the final and best version of Panozzo’s!  
As for our identity, someone suggested that we decide if we are a deli or a restaurant.  
We will be both, but in a very defined way. We will be a quick-service, sit-down establishment, and the menu will be set. In that respect Panozzo’s will be a restaurant.  
We will also maintain retail offerings, like our housemade sauces, hand-pulled mozzarella, fresh and frozen pasta, gelato, and a great selection of salumi, prosciutto, house roasted meats and artisanal cheeses. In that respect Panozzo’s will be a deli.  
Many factors have impacted Panozzo’s business model, mostly in a positive way. DDD certainly brought in many visitors from foreign lands…like Logan Square and Wicker Park…and forced us to become more of a sit-down market.  
And while we are thankful for that, make no mistake that our favored clientele is our neighbors in the South Loop. We live in the South Loop. We love the South Loop. And we appreciate your continued support and your patience and understanding as we have evolved.  
Stick with us! It’ll be worth it!  
Mike Panozzo
Panozzo’s Italian Market

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chicago Kernel Opens at 511 S. State Street

A reader writes:
Hello Sloopin,  
I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but Chicago Kernel is now open. I noticed them out today passing out free samples, and it tasted just as good as Garrett's. I figure I'll give their Carmel corn a try next week. For now, here's a photo as proof:

Here is an old post we did on the topic.

(Hat tip:  BBC!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Do This: Annual Garage Sale on Sat. Aug 24th @ Empty Lot Next to Trader Joe's

Garage sales aren't prevelant in the city, but the Sloop does have an annual one that's happening tomorrow.  We've been and it's a good time.

A reader writes:
On August 24th, a few buildings are partnering to put together their annual garage sale. It will be held in the lot next to Trader Joes from 8:30am - 3:00pm! Sale items will vary from clothing to furniture to baby items and many more treasures.
(Hat tip: CC!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sloop Resident Swims Across Lake Michigan for Cancer Research

A Slooper emails us for his great cause and cool event:
I'm a long-time South Loop resident (since 1999), and I volunteer as the Event Chair for Swim Across America Chicago. We use swimming events to raise money for cancer research at Rush University Cancer Center in Chicago. We held two events this year, a beach swim on July 20th at Ohio Street Beach, which had 260 swimmers, and a Swim Across Lake Michigan relay this past weekend, which involved 19 swimmers. I did both swims. So far, the two events have raised more than $390,000. 
The Swim Across Lake Michigan event was the first of it's kind. It was an amazing and unique event. We departed Friday evening at 7:15 from 31st street beach and arrived in Michiana, MI on Saturday evening around 6 pm.  We swim about 45 miles in total.
For more background, you can check out this: 
TV segment from last month
Or this
CBS Radio segment from this spring 
David McClellan
Swim Across America
Chicago Event Chair

Cool stuff and congrats.  Here is the TV Segment for those interested:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Posting Changes to Comments and Message Board

As always, we are constantly looking for ways to improve Sloopin.  It's an evolution and hopefully you like where we've been and where we're going.  Your emails, pictures, comments and kind words have made this site what it is today.  Thanks!

With that said, we're implementing some new changes to better facilitate discussion on Sloopin.

Comments in Posts on Sloopin
If you read Sloopin, you might remember that we implemented a commenting widget called Disqus back in April.  Moving forward we are changing our commenting permissions to the following:

  • "Registered Guests" can comment on posts and will not have to have their comments approved by a moderator.  To register on Disqus, please click here.
  • "Guests" are allowed to comment on posts, however their posts will have to be approved by a moderator to get published.

Sloopin Message Board
We introduced the Sloopin Message Board in August of 2012 and had over 300+ topics posted.  This is awesome!

In an attempt to make the space more functional and productive, we're going to limit posting to registered users.  We already have over 100 active registered users on our board (which runs on Nabble).  Registering is pretty simple and can be done here.

Anyone will be able to read the Sloopin Message Board, but you will need to register to create a topic and post on the board.

Thanks for the support! 

Divvy Station at Roosevelt/Wabash Deemed "High Usage"

For some reason the Divvy bike sharing program has got our attention.  We like biking.  We like progressive city planning.  And we've liked that the Divvy program is in the Sloop.

Now that the program has been out for two months, more data continues to pour out.  The Chicago Tribune had an article yesterday titled: "Getting Around: Divvy bike-sharing program catching on in Chicago".

Lots of good reading for those interested in the program.  We wanted to post that the Roosevelt/Wabash Divvy station got a shout out:
Some of the busier Divvy bike-docking stations are clustered near CTA and Metra stations, which suggests that some commuters are incorporating Divvy into their transit trips downtown. No studies have been conducted to verify or pinpoint travel patterns, CDOT officials said, adding that the Divvy rollout will first be completed before conducting any in-depth analysis.  
The preliminary data show that the busier Divvy stations near transit stops include the one at Clinton Street and Washington Boulevard, outside Ogilvie Transportation Center. It ranked No. 12 overall for the number of trips started from that location, almost 3,000, city transportation records show.  
High-use Divvy stations near CTA rail stations include those at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street; Wabash Avenue and Roosevelt Road; and Canal Street and Jackson Boulevard, at the south entrance to Union Station, records show.

Slightly surprising, but maybe it's also due to the amount of tourists who get off at Roosevelt CTA to go to Museum Campus?  Just a hypothesis.

The Tribune also had this interesting chart showcasing usage numbers:
Should be curious to see how the program adoption rate continues.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mani/Pedi Success at Izabella's

A contributor to the blog recently tried out the new salon, Izabella's (1316 S. Michigan):
I was very excited about the addition of Izabella’s to the neighborhood; I walk by it on my way home each day and saw the hard work that was being put into it in order for them to open. So naturally, a week after they opened I scheduled a mani/pedi for myself and my sister and a facial for both of us as well. 
We were taken to our mani/pedis pretty much right on time and they were done really well…my feet felt great afterwards and actually still do (you never know how good things will turn out with sandal weather and how hard we are on our feet in the summer). 
My sister and I were both very happy with our mani/pedis; they took their time, didn’t rush us along and did a nice job. They were $30 each, because they were running a special for the new opening. We each got facials that same day and walked out of there feeling like a million bucks. 
The facial was for 50 minutes and she did different things for each of us, obviously, according to what our skin needed. The facials were each $72 (again, running a special because of the new opening).  They are usually $90 each. My face and trouble spots have really seen a difference and continue to look great. I would highly recommend people try Izabella’s for themselves. 
On a side note: I even went back a week later and got my haircut and blown out, amazing and only $30!!!  I have nothing but good things to say about them (the place and the people who work there)…I am very glad they are in the neighborhood. Welcome to the Sloop!
(Hat tip: N!)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

South Loop - "Poster Boy" for Condo Recovery

Good news for condo owners (per Crain's)
After falling the hardest in the great downtown condo bust, the South Loop is rising the fastest in the recovery. 
A recent survey of 65 large downtown buildings found that average condominium resale prices on a square-foot basis rose nearly 10 percent between the first half of 2012 and the first half of this year. The South Loop led all downtown submarkets, with a 20.2 percent gain, according to the survey by Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

What do you think?

Are you seeing this?

(Hat tip: FS!)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Wax On. Wax Off. European Wax Center Moving in

For all those fans of waxing, looks like you're going to have another option.  A reader sent us a picture of a sign in the window at the shops on State (between 11th and Roosevelt).  European Wax Center appears to be moving in.

We checked out their website and it appears that they have a couple other locations around Chicago (on the North side).  Also interesting is that they give complimentary waxings for first time guests....that's the only reason we wanted to show you the pic below:

(Hat tip: CL!)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

First DRAFT (649 S. Clark) Plans for Early September Opening

First DRAFT, a new bar coming to 649 S. Clark (old Villain's space), is apparently shooting to open the first week of September according to their Facebook page:

We also received an email from a reader giving some additional information on
This was from a gal who used to work at The Lodge.
This is a message to everyone to let you all know that the majority owner of the Lodge has decided to get rid of Jimmy Borchers, the man who has spent 38 years creating and upholding the character of the place. 
I will be quitting as well. 
I didn't want any of you to come in and be totally surprised by this news. Most likely none of you will bother to ever go back as the Lodge, as we all knew and loved it, will NEVER be the same. 
Jimmy is working on opening a new place in the South Loop called First Draft, I will keep you all posted.
Make of that what you want, but regardless it looks like things are progressing at First DRAFT.

(Hat tip: MM & TRS!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Square One Celebrates One Year in the Sloop!

Congrats to Square One on their one year anniversary!  Here is a write-up about their celebrations:
Have you ever yearned for a comfortable yet classy neighborhood tavern? How about a place where you and your friends can go to relax while sipping a wide range of specialty cocktails and craft beers? Maybe you’ll even enjoy some cheese and charcuterie while playing a board game and reminiscing as 007 Thunderball plays high above the bar. Did I mention they have a wine vending machine? Tomorrow (August 15th) start your weekend right at Square One’s First Year Anniversary Bash. 
In honor of this milestone, the local South Loop hotspot will be serving up an array of drink specials all night. Enjoy 5 Rabbit Golden Ale drafts ($3), glasses of rum punch ($1), shots and more! Come early and bring your appetite because free food will be served from 5-7pm. What better way to honor the dog days of another great Chicago summer than with friends and cocktails compliments of Square One. 
Square One puts a contemporary twist on a local neighborhood hangout. The relaxed atmosphere is enhanced by 30-foot ceilings, a concrete bar, Edison bulbs, chalkboard walls and reclaimed wine barrel chandeliers. This adult oasis, located at 1400 South Michigan Ave., provides a classy yet comfortable space for friends to meet, relax and have fun. For more information, call 847-414-3699 or visit

South Loop's "Spouting Towers"

Micah Maidenberg, one time Chicago Journal editor, knows the Sloop.  He now works for the Crain's Chicago and has constantly stayed true to his South Loop roots.

Anyway, he had a recent article in Crain's about condo development potentially picking up in the broader Chicago area:
Developers are starting to think the unthinkable. 
With downtown condominium sales up 50 percent this year and the supply of unsold units finally dwindling, developers are looking toward the first big condo project since the housing crash. Their hopes are fueled by a broader rebound in the local housing market, where new-home sales are on pace to reach their highest level since 2008. Gradual job growth is perking up sales, while record apartment rents make it cheaper to buy despite rising mortgage rates. 
Downtown developers are getting ready to bet on renewed demand to live in the center of the city, driven in part by a steady migration of large employers to the central business district from the suburbs. 
While the ingredients are there for someone to launch a major project, the fragile recovery isn't likely to support a second or third tower right away.
It a good read for real estate buffs, but we're posting about it because it holds up the Sloop as an example of the state of the current real estate market.  The article also talks about CMK Cos.' pending development at 1345 S. Wabash and provides a nice graphic of some potential new developments that could be coming in the neighborhood:
Graphic from Crain's Chicago
Always good to know what the future may hold.

(Hat tip:  TT!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meli Cafe Coming to Old Custom House Space at Blake Hotel?

A reader writes:
Saw this in the elevator today in the Blake.

While we're not familiar with Meli Cafe, it appears to have a couple highly rated and successful restaurants throughout the city (River North and the original in Greektown).

Seems like a good addition if you ask us.  Welcome to the Sloop and looking forward to trying you out.

(Hat tip: OS!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

6 Architecture Firms to Present DePaul Stadium Concepts; Decision Expected in Early September

Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune's excellent Architecture columnist, recently had a great piece about the DePaul Stadium.  It's definitely worth a read if you're into the topic.

For those who don't care about the architectural details, here is a brief blurb talking about timing for this massive project:
But there are real concerns, among them a fast-track schedule that is giving the architects just a few weeks to prepare this complex architectural and urban design. Already, after one of the firms questioned the aggressive timetable, the schedule was pushed back two weeks, with plans due Aug. 27 instead of Aug. 13.  
The teams are to make presentations Sept. 9 and 10, with a winner expected to be picked by mid-September.
Stay tuned, this is going quickly.

"Restaurant" Built in a Day - Probably for a Movie at 23rd and Michigan

We got two bizarre emails from readers recently:
I live in the motor row lofts and noticed some new construction on the NW corner of michigan and 23rd. There was just a parking lot there Friday evening, when I went out. And when I came back Sunday afternoon, there was a structure put up, and a lot of people were busy working on it. They've stationed a security guard at the site at all times. Also, it doesn't look like they put in a proper foundation. Just started putting up walls and a roof. Any ideas on what this construction is for? And why they were working all day Sunday to get it done?
I've attached pictures from this morning.

Well that's strange.  However, a different reader sent us this note shortly after:
Looks like they are shooting a movie on motor row. They built a restaurant in a couple days. Any idea what is being filmed there?
So we've narrowed it down to a restaurant set being built for a movie, but couldn't find much more.  The only thing we know of that's shooting in Chicago (according to the city's what's filming now website) is Divergent (aka Catbird).  Does anyone know anything else?

(Hat tip: SR & JL!)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sloop Giordanos!

Nice web address:

On a different (and probably more newsworthy) note, this build-out is happening quickly.  We will be eating deep dish soon!

A Note From Matthew O'Malley - Clarification on Litigation

A couple readers sent us this note:
Our Valued Guests:  
Recently, there have been several inaccurate articles regarding Mainstay Hospitality’s restaurants and real estate interests in the South Loop. Although there are too many inaccuracies to correct in this letter, I feel it is important to reach out to the community and to you, our valued guests, to address a few key items. The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, City Tavern and Wabash Tap (all under the Mainstay Hospitality banner) continue to operate in the normal course of business and honor our commitments to our guests and this community.  
Over the past seven years, besides our restaurant endeavors, I made investments in a joint venture that worked aggressively to develop properties on Motor Row as a natural extension of the South Loop area. The bank consolidation that took place over recent years resulted in The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant and City Tavern’s real estate loans to be held by affiliates of the same lender that provided financing to the Motor Row joint venture.  
Unfortunately, due to matters beyond my control, the Motor Row joint venture is in default with respect to its loans relating to the development of a boutique hotel previously planned for 2400 South Michigan Avenue and is currently in litigation with its lender. In connection with that litigation, the bank decided not to renew and to declare a default under the mortgages for the real estate related to The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant and City Tavern, even though the businesses consistently met their monthly mortgage obligations. I expect to resolve the Motor Row litigation in the near future and to obtain new financing for the South Loop properties from a more community-focused lender. In the mean time, the recent filings are being contested and do not affect the operations of the restaurants.  
As a resident and member of the business community for over 16 years and an operator for over 23 years, I am proud to call the South Loop my home. The restaurants are thriving because of your consistent patronage. The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant will be celebrating 14 years of service in December while Wabash Tap is in its 10th year and City Tavern has just completed its 1st year. Mainstay Hospitality has over 150 employees in the South Loop and we take our role and responsibility as an operator, community participant, and neighbor seriously. Our commitment has been unquestioned and is unwavering. You can be assured we remain dedicated to providing the highest quality food, beverage and service standards.  
Thank you for your support and I look forward to continuing to serve you.  
Matthew O’Malley
For those who haven't been following this story, here are two older posts on the topic and issue O'Malley has publicly been dealing with (Chicago Firehouse and City Tavern).

Best of luck to Mr. O'Malley.  He and his staff has been integral in the evolution of the Sloop.

(Hat tip:  JJ & FS!)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Acadia's McCaskey Outlines His Sloop Favorites

We recently read a post on Serious Eats Chicago about Ryan McCaskey's (owner of fine dining establishment Acadia) favorite spots in the Sloop.

It's worth a read as it gives you tips on where to find the best milkshakes, coffee, burger, pizza, Thai, Vietnamese, BBQ Duck and sandwhich in our neighborhood.

While we don't agree with them all, his Thai recommendation is spot on:
Thai: Opart Thai on State Street. They're really good and have one of my favorite Thai dishes, I think it's called Tiger Cry or Crying Tiger. It's marinated beef that's grilled and served with cucumbers and this kind of sweet and vinegary spicy sauce. It's an appetizer, but oh my gosh, I could eat plates of it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

City Tavern Building Hit with Foreclosure Suit

Image from City Tavern Facebook Page
The City Tavern building owners have reportedly been hit with a foreclosure suit (via Chicago Real Estate Daily):
Northbrook Bank & Trust Co. filed a $3.9 million foreclosure suit against a venture led by Mr. O'Malley over two loans on the building housing his City Tavern restaurant in the South Loop.  
The remaining balance of a $6.2 million loan on the 8,610-square-foot building at 1416 S. Michigan Ave. came due in November 2010, according to a complaint the bank filed in June in Cook County Circuit Court. Once the venture defaulted on that debt, the Northbrook-based bank demanded full repayment of a separate $1.2 million mortgage on the same property, the complaint says.

Definitely not good news for the restaurant or the Mainstay Hospitality group that also runs Chicago Firehouse and Wabash Tap.

For the well informed readers, you probably remember that Chicago Firehouse is also facing some legal troubles as we posted about in June.

Should be interesting to see how this plays out.  Believe it or not, we are still hearing rumors about an Italian Restaurant opening next door to City Tavern.  Maybe that's on hold.

(Hat tip:  AR & EM!)

Free Parking Not Coming to Printers Row?

A reader questions free Sunday Parking:
Would you guys know what the deal is on the new free Sunday parking change? I live in Printer's Row and noticed that the parking meters now reflect the 10pm free parking change; however it looks like Sunday's are not free in this area?
We're not up-to-date on the latest.  Does anyone know?

(Hat tip:  V808!)

Shots Around the Sloop: Gold Cup

(Hat tip:  MP!)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Any Scoop on the "Rezko Lot"?

A reader wants more scoop:
Any other news about Mayor Emmanuel’s interest in the Rezko lot (lot bounded by Roosevelt, 16th, Clark and the river)? 
I think there was pressure for the local alderman to engage the planning commission to change the zoning? I’ve heard rumors that the city may want to use the parcel for a casino? Or is the old post office being planned as the site for the casino?
This is all speculation, but people like to talk.  Here a couple old Sloopin posts (zoning and city buy)  and message board posts on the topic.

We really hope this doesn't happen, but maybe someone else knows something.

For some reason we envision it becoming a residential neighborhood like Dearborn park I or II.  Not sure why, but we do.

(Hat tip:  AD!)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

2nd Wave of Divvy Locations Come to the Sloop

So far, so good for Divvy.  The local bike sharing program has been going for over a month now and it appears to be doing well.  We bought a annual membership and have been pleasantly surprised with the system.

...and the program continues to improve.  The second wave of stations appear to be coming to the Sloop.  A reader writes:
New divvy site on the north east corner of Polk and Wells being installed. Awesome.
On the message board a couple people said that the station at 14th and Michigan has been installed as well.  Does anyone know of any other locations?

(Hat tip:  CS!)

Checking in at Sofi in Printers Row

Chicago Magazine provides a quick blurb on Sofi (616 S. Dearborn), the new Italian Restaurant in Printers Row:
The best thing I tried at Printers Row newcomer, Sofi Restaurant (616 S. Dearborn Ave., 312-753-5504), was the eggplant parmigiana appetizer—full of flavor and light as a feather. Then again, the tuna tartare, topped with luscious avocado (above), sparkled with freshness. 
The place is loud, though. BYOE: Bring Your Own Earplugs.
Yelp reviewers thus far have been positive (4 star average from 9 reviews).

We went there on the second night it was opening and had a mixed experience.  Food was good.  Service not so much.  Music was strange.  Ambiance lacking.

However, it was the second night.  We will be back to give it another shot.

Monday, August 5, 2013

"Tumbleweed" of Interests Involved in New Motor Row Development Plan

In case you didn't see (or have access) to the informative article in the Chicago Tribune titled "South Loop land deals at the corner of business and politics" we wanted to share a post from the Chicagoist which summarizes it well.  The key line:
The possible conflicts of interest are so obvious and brazen they don't resemble a straight line as much as a tumbleweed.
If you do have access (it's behind the paywall), it's a long but interesting read.  The key point in our mind is that their are a lot of intertwined interests at play here.  The Trib article sums up the issue here:
Bycel, the political and government ethics expert, said the influence of the various landowners involved in the McPier plan raises justifiable questions, especially given their history of political contributions.  
"Ninety percent or more of all political contributions are made because that person wants something, even if it's just access," Bycel said.  
"With this project, there are a lot of pesos on the table here."  
A major factor in sustaining public confidence, he said, is who will be striking the deals on behalf of taxpayers. "The key question is who is negotiating these prices for the city and state? Who is determining what is a fair price?" Bycel said. "It absolutely should be an outside consultant or an outside team that has no connections whatsoever and certainly is not a player of any kind with the city or in Chicago."

If you can't get enough coverage of this topic, the Gazette Chicago also has a pretty good read titled "Plans for DePaul arena continue to spark debate".

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Get Your Sloopin Hat Tip T-Shirt!

You probably know the drill at this point (if not click here).  Send us a tip.  If it gets posted and you're the first "hat-tip" you get your shirt.

This weeks eligible t-shirt winners are:

  • @sanbasl
  • SB
  • CD
  • DK
  • KP
Thanks for all the tips!

Shots Around the Sloop: To The City

(Hat tip:  instagram account @sanbasl) 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

American Outlaws Invade Sloop, Weather Mark Tavern and Soldier Field

This past Sunday you probably noticed a lot of soccer fans (amidst all of the Hawks fans as well).  The US men's soccer team captured the Concacaf Gold Cup by beating Panama 1-0.

We always get a kick (pun intended) by the variety of fans who show up for events in the Sloop.  The American Outlaws, a group of US soccer supporters, are always up there.  Before the match they convened at Weather Mark Tavern to mobilize the forces and we got this picture:

If you're an avid reader you probably remember when we captured this video from 2009 at the corner of Prairie and 18th (outside of the US soccer headquarters):

It's always interesting times during these events.  Some other highlights this summer have been Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert (good place to be for single men), Phish concert (good place to smile), Bon Jovi (good place for men seeking cougars), Jimmy Buffett concert (good place for drinking), Spring Awakening Festival (good place for neon and dancing), Blackhawks Cup Parade (good place to meet people who don't know what icing is).

and now...the king pin of them all - Lollapalooza!

(Hat tip: SB & MM!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Artist Hebru Brantley Pop Up Store Comes to 9th and Wabash for Lolla

It's Lollapalooza weekend and that means many youngsters (and some oldsters) invade our fair city for a weekend full of music, food, booze, more music, art, maybe some drugs, more music, probably some more music and probably a lot less braincells.

While there is a ton of coverage on Lolla weekend, a reader sent us some info on a well known Bronzeville artist who setup shop in the Sloop at the southwest corner of Wabash and State:
At the corner of 9th and Wabash, where the Halloween store usually is, there has been some activity in that store front. There are now some arcade games, Pacman and others, and the for rent sign is down. Not sure if Columbia is doing something or if some type of establishment is moving in.

They did some more digging and found out:
More on this...the artist Hebru Brantley will have a pop up art store in the 9th/Wabash location for the festival this weekend.

Here is a video we embeded from youtube of Hebru doing his thang at Art Basel in Miami:

(Hat tip: CD!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What's Up With the Renovations of Dearborn Station?

A reader writes:
I looked around for information about the renovations of Dearborn station and could not find anything. Do you know what the plans are? I am asking you because your blog usually has a lot of architectural plans.

We're not sure, but we're assuming it just normal maintenance.  Does anyone have the scoop?

(Hat tip:  DK!)