Wednesday, April 30, 2014

South Loop Mariano's Robbery Goes Bad

A bunch of people have sent us this story, so figured it was worth sharing (via NBC5):
A man crashed a newer model Jaguar after robbing a Mariano's Fresh Market store in Chicago's South Loop on Tuesday night, police said. A 20-year-old man now in custody posed as a nightshift crew worker and attempted to steal money from cash registers, police said.
Another employee of the store recognized the suspected robber from another robbery that occurred at a different Mariano’s store and began chasing after him.

The suspect ran out of the store and jumped into a Jaguar, only to crash it into a building across the store’s parking lot, at 1601 S. Federal St., police said. He then exited the vehicle but was soon tackled by the store employee. That employee who held the suspect down until officers arrived.
Nothing like a live rendition of "COPS" to go with your grocery shopping!

(Hat tip:  AL & NKD!)

Construction Resumes at 1345 S. Wabash Highrise

Excavator at Digs at 1345 S. Wabash (via YoChicago)
In case you missed it, construction on the 15 story 1345 S. Wabash high-rise is resuming (via YoChicago):
A Komatsu hydraulic excavator, a team of surveyors and a supervisory crew from Lend Lease were on-site at 1345 S Wabash in the South Loop yesterday, preparing for the construction of a 15-story high-rise condo building.  
1345 Wabash will be the first new high-rise condo built in Chicago in years, and it’s likely to come out of the ground quickly. There were foundation pilings for a previous development on the site. A representative of Lend Lease, the general contractor, reported that 58 additional pilings will be driven over a time span of about a week.
This is the first tower of what presumably will be two towers (however it appears that they won't be building 1333 S. Wabash simultaneously).

According to the developers website the condos will be delivered in early 2015.  So expect an aggressive buildout.

We also posted about a retail buildout at 1620 S. Michigan, but it appears that this is actually the sales office for the 1345 S. Wabash condo building.

(Hat tip: JC!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

South Loop is White Sox Country...Sort of

Via a cool interactive New York Times mappy-thingy:

Vice Brewing District (1454 S. Michigan) Shooting for July Opening

Looks like Vice District Brewing is moving along swiftly (via Crain's):
Construction on Vice District Brewing Co. is set to start in early May as equipment begins to show up at the South Loop spot.  
The seven-barrel microbrewery, near 14th Street and South Michigan Avenue, is among the latest to spring up around the Chicago area. Owners Curtis Tarver and Quintin Cole want to have the spot open by July.
July seems aggressive to us (given your typical business opening issues), but hopefully they do.

Also some other news in the article:
Vice District Brewing is strictly a taproom; it will not serve food. The owners are applying for a license that will allow it to sell growlers on site.  
The 2,200-square-foot spot is small scale, doing about 500 to 600 barrels a year, Mr. Cole said. (Each barrel holds 31 gallons.) By comparison, Lagunitas' Chicago brewery will produce 200,000 barrels annually.

Looking forward to this one!

(Hat tip:  KM!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Noodles & Company Coming to The Maxwell in June

Looks like Noodles & Company will be adding a location at the rapidly progressing The Maxwell (Canal & Taylor):

This has been added to the business counter as well.

(Hat tip: JH!)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Recently on the Sloopin Message Board...

It's been awhile since we've done a "recently on the Sloopin message board" post, so figured why not.  Here are a smattering of some of the good questions/topics/debates recently:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Shots Around the Sloop: Phillip Phillips - Raging Fire: On Location in the Sloop and Pilsen

A reader writes:
You should post a link to this great video filmed in the south loop and pilsen:

We're not a huge fan of Phillip Phillips, but he's fine in a poor man's Dave Mathews type of way (does anyone see this?).

What we are a fan of is Outkast and here's our chance to get hyped for their impending Lolla throw down:

(Hat tip: JSW!)

2036 S. Michigan Office Building to Become Residential and Retail Space

A reader writes:
Here is the detail on a new building permit just issued for 2036 S Michigan! Exciting that the south end of our hood is getting some much needed development as well!

Here is a picture of the building from Google Maps:

(Hat tip:  TE!)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Deals at Recently Opened Bentley's Corner Barkery

Bentley's Corner Barkery just opened at Roosevelt Collection and they're doing some good stuff:
We just opened our 5th Bentley's location in the Roosevelt Collection! We are thrilled to be in the South Loop and we've already met so many great people and their dogs. We'd like to offer your readers 10% off any purchase from now through the end of April. Here's some more info about us:  Bentley’s Corner Barkery Now Open in the South Loop!
And we have a Grand Opening Sale and Celebration coming up on Saturday and Sunday, April 26th and 27th. On Saturday we'll have Project Rescue Chicago here with adoptable dogs. A portion of all of our sales of Stella and Chewy's will benefit them this month (also, Callen, our official store greeter for our South Loop location, was adopted from them over 3 years ago:)
Readers can mention "SLOOP" or we can scan the code:

(Spring) Cleaning Up the May or May Not Open Sloopin Business Counter

The Sloopin Business Counter is one of our favorite things.  It gives us a good way to quantify trends in the neighborhood.  Maybe it's not scientific, but in our eyes it's helpful.

Anyway, we've been doing it for a couple of years now and there are a couple businesses that either are still working out the kinks or simply have called it quits.  We don't have firm intelligence on all of them, so figured we would pose the question to you - do you have any updates on some of these lingering retail projects?

Inside Broad Shoulders Brewery
(via their Facebook Page)
Here are some of the lingering projects and some of the rumors we've been hearing:

• Broad Shoulders Brewery (2337 S. Michigan)
One of the most anticipated projects in the Sloop, but it's been taking a long long time.  However, looking at their facebook page it still looks they're still moving forward.  Chance of opening?  We're still optimistic

• Cheap Trick Chicago (2245 S. Michigan)
In march of 2013 this deal apparently fell through.  It wasn't clear if the deal for the building fell through or the concept in total.  We're assuming the former, but also heard rumors that it might not be dead.  Chance of opening?  Unlikely

• Yard House (150 W. Roosevelt Rd)
Back in 2012 it was leaked on the Yard House website that they would be opening at RC.  It's been awhile and we haven't heard anything.  The Roosevelt Collection team is also pretty good about updating everyone on retail news, so the fact that we haven't heard a peep makes us think this is dead.  Change of opening?  Not happening - removing from list

• Blackfin American Grille (150 W Roosevelt)
During the initial wave of retail announcements at Roosevelt Collection, Blackfinn was included as a new tennant.  This was back in November of 2012.  Given that we haven't heard anything else about this and that BlackFinn opened in River North - our doubts are high.  Change of opening?  Not happening - removing from list

• Pink Olive Wine and Liquor Store (80 E. Cermak)
Haven't heard much about this, but they were talking about opening over a year ago.  It's also interesting that McCormick Market recently opened in the same retail building.    Chance of opening?  Unlikely

• Pretty Donkey Coffee (77 E. Cermak)
We had questions when we saw their website, but gave them the benefit of the doubt.  While signage is up, it's been awhile since we've seen anything new happening at this place.  Chance of opening?  We're still optimistic

• FruVe (1130 S. Wabash)
One of the more interesting projects we were excited about, has seemed to stall.  It hasn't been a year yet, but usually a Juice bar doesn't take that long to build-out (despite that they were going to be the "world most complete juice bar" - whatever that means).  However, signage is still up, which is encouraging.  Chance of opening?  We're still optimistic

• TBD - Burger Restaurant (NW corner of Roosevelt & Michigan)
A super high-profile Sloop retail space was finally going to be snatched up by a relatively sexy restaurant, Burger Bar.  Or maybe not?!?!?!  Seemed like we had a lot of people confirming this, but maybe it fell through.  To this date there has been zero activity inside the proposed retail space at the Northwest corner of Roosevelt and Michigan.  Chance of opening?  Unlikely

What do you think?  Is our assessment off?  Have you heard otherwise?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Roosevelt Collection Retail News: Lululemon, The Container Store and Banana Republic Coming to the Sloop

Lululemon storefront
2014 has been humming a long from a retail standpoint.  Nothing major has happened this year (IMO), but big news has just emerged about three prominent national retailers coming to the neighborhood (via Chicago Real Estate Daily):
A trio of national retailers — Banana Republic, Lululemon and Container Store — are moving into the Roosevelt Collection shopping center in the South Loop, a big casualty of the real estate crash that is steadily filling up. 
Totaling 37,000 square feet, the new leases will bring the 330,000-square-foot retail development's occupancy to 79 percent, up from just 23 percent when Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc. and a partner bought it three years ago.
While we've heard rumblings of the Container Store seeking construction bids recently, it's good to get confirmation on Banana Republic and Lululemon.

Lululemon has long been rumored and hinted at based on marketing collateral that was floating around on the interwebs way back in early 2012.  We even heard stories of leasing agents at Roosevelt Collection not so subtly stating that a popular "fruit" yoga/athletic retailer would be opening up shortly.  Looks like it took some time for the ink to dry, but glad to see this coming to fruition.

The small article in Chicago Real Estate Daily also had some other intriguing tidbits and quotes:
  • Container Store Group Inc. is the Roosevelt Collection's biggest new tenant, with a lease for more than 26,000 square feet, according to a recent McCaffery leasing document. Apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. leased more than 2,900 square feet there, the document shows. 
    A McCaffery spokeswoman also confirmed that Banana Republic, a unit of San Francisco-based Gap Inc., leased 7,500 square feet in the shopping center at 150 W. Roosevelt Road, west of Clark Street. She declined to confirm the names of the other new tenants or discuss their leases.  
    Sloopin thoughts: so you're telling us there are more stores?  
  • The leasing activity should attract other national tenants that may not immediately think of the South Loop as a retail destination, said John Vance, a vice president at Chicago-based Stone Real Estate Corp. who wasn't involved in the deals. Sloopin thoughts: It feels like we're already seeing this with The Maxwell development and a lot of other interest and activity west of the Chicago River on Roosevelt.   
  • Meanwhile, the McCaffery leasing document shows the company wants to build a 355-unit apartment tower on the northwest corner of the property. Further details about the new residential building were unavailable. The property currently includes 342 apartments.Sloopin thoughts: This isn't new news, but sounds like they're looking to move quicker than we expected.
Seems like some good momentum and seems like a good mix of national and local retailers at Roosevelt Collection.  What do you think?  Is this a good thing?

(Hat tip:  JJ, KM, AR, KW!)

An Update on the Northerly Island Transformation

A reader writes:
I emailed the Park District to get an update on the schedule, and they replied:
Thanks for contacting us regarding Northerly Island!
Our planning department is projecting that the strolling path will be available this summer in June/early July. Visitors will be able to walk along the path; there may be large areas of the land space that remain unavailable to walk on because we're doing plantings in the natural areas.
We look forward to seeing you here this summer!

A)  Nice of them to respond and B) Glad to see parts of this will be accessible soon!

For background the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke grown to develop the southern 40 acres of Northerly Island, thanks to a $2.8 million federal grant and $1.5 million in Park District revenues generated by the concert venue at Northerly Island.

Last year, the "new" concert venue was up and running and ran into some consumer backlash given weather and lack of time.

This all could eventually pave way for grander and more dramatic (and costly) changes to the infamous "island".

(Hat tip:  JMK!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FYI: PDNA Presentation from April 14th Meeting

In case you missed the Prairie District Neighborhood Association meeting on April 14th, here is a detailed deck for you to peruse through.  Has a lot of interesting information and if any of the following topics seem interesting, we highly suggest opening the presentation at this link:

(Hat tip: AL!)

First Ascent Climbing Falls Down - Won't Open in Sloop; Opts for Avondale

Last year we got word that First Ascent Climbing was going to open up a massive climbing facility in the Sloop.  They were aiming for a Fall opening in 2013, but then got delayed and was planning on Spring of 2014.

Judging by the title of our post, you probably realize that this isn't happening in the Sloop.  A reader give us this update:
The climbing gym that was supposed to open this spring that was rumored to be in the South loop updated their site today. 
Unfortunately it isn't going to be in the sloop anymore sadly. New date is December 2014 up in Avondale.

As a result, we will be removing them from our future business tracker.

Would have been interesting...but now I doubt that I'm ever going to go...sigh.

(Hat tip:  CC!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shots Around the Sloop: Toewsosaurus

(Hat tip:  GS!)

If only he was this big, because something tells us the Blues are going to be hunting number 19's head after their captain was crushed:

Harrison Red Line Stop to Get Makeover

Back in the fall of last year, the city announced that the North entrance of the Harrison Red Line stop was going to get a makeover.  Well we finally get to see what the stop will look like soon (Via Curbed Chicago):
As the South Loop area continues to grow in population and as more students attend area classes or live nearby, a fresh coat of paint will be much welcomed by L riders. Aside from aesthetic improvements and repairs that should reduce water pooling around the stairs and platform (a huge problem at this station), the station will be upgraded with better security cameras, Train Tracker screens, and better placement of ticketing and entrances. However, the improvements won't all be below ground. The station will be the first to include newly designed glass and steel entrance canopies over the entrance stairways on State Street, breaking tradition from the throwback black wrought-iron look the CTA has been using for recent downtown area entrance canopies lately.
More renderings over at Curbed Chicago.

Looks pretty nice and modern to us!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Don't Forget to Claim Your Sloopin Hat Tip T-Shirt!

It's been a grip since we've done a post reminding you to pick up your Sloopin Hat Tip T-shirt, so figured it's a good time to do so.  The weather is warming up and we expect to see many peeps rocking the shirt soon!

For background here is the background on the Sloopin Hat Tip T-shirt program.

If you see your initials below and have submitted a story, you're eligible for a t-shirt.  However, we're running short, so first come first serve:

  • VC
  • RP
  • DN
  • AD
  • CM
  • JC
  • EA
  • KM
  • CD
  • MJ
  • MK
  • BS
  • MG
  • KW
  • NB
  • AN
  • TOC
  • SH
  • MP
  • DW
  • DWK
  • AR
  • OI
  • AN
  • JH
  • JJ
  • KM
  • VC
  • AF
  • AS
  • TCH
  • KK
  • DK
  • MM
  • SH
  • RH
  • AR
  • SH
  • HH
  • BO
  • DW
  • CS
  • MP
  • JB
  • CM
  • AC
  • RE
  • CD
  • KP
  • YL
  • VG
  • DK
  • TP
  • JE
  • JD
Needless to say thanks for all the contributions!  We couldn't do it without you!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Porkchop & Mirai Sushi to Open at Roosevelt Collection this Summer

About a month ago, word came out that two new restaurants were coming to Roosevelt Collection.  Now we're getting confirmation that both concepts have been finalized.

The first is Mirai Sushi, which will be the second location for the popular former Japonais partner Miae Lim.  While this was hinted at back in March, it wasn't confirmed that it would be a Mirari Sushi.  At the time it was being labeled as "a new casual gourmet concept".  Sounds like we're just splitting hairs now.

Anyway, the new news is that Porkchop will be the second restaurant opening up at RC.  This will be the third Porkchop in Chicago.  The first was on Randolph in the West Loop and they recently just opened a new restaurant in Hyde Park.

For those not familiar with the restaurant here is a blurb from their website: 
Menu favorites (like the knock-out pork belly sliders, Baby Back Ribs with "Damn Good" BBQ Sauce or the classic pork chop grilled atop natural charcoal imbedded with whiskey barrels) or come in for lunch for the Pork Belly Sandwich with the sexy yet simple attitude, and a huge sidewalk patio in the summer and warm an unique place to hide away in the rain and chicago winters.
We've never been, but sounds interesting and definitely sound unique to the Sloop.

According to an article on DNAinfo, both restaurants are shooting for an opening this summer.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

7 Townhouses Coming to 1900 S. Calumet

More and more building projects continue to emerge in the Sloop (via Curbed Chicago):
The South Loop will soon be getting some new spacious residential units in the form of a townhome development planned for 1900 South Calumet Avenue. The current zoning for the lot allows for upwards of 31 units, however the developer Harbor Side LLC plans to only build seven units in the form of two buildings. At four stories tall, the townhouses designed by architect Michael J. Leary will range in size, with the larger units containing roughly 4500-5700 square feet of space and each residence will include two parking spaces.

Looks pretty nice to us.  The neighborhood could use more family friendly housing options.

(Hat tip:  VC!)

Parking Situation at the Post Office Just North of State and 21st Street

A reader writes about a problem at the neighborhood post office:
I'm writing about the post office at 21st & State. 
Below is a photo showing the problem.

This is the "customer parking area". All taken up by cars belonging to USPS employees.
This forces real customers to use the surrounding streets, a difficult task for a variety of reasons. 
I'm sure when this location was built the zoning code required them to have a certain number of off-street parking spaces of their customers. 
This post office has an employee parking lot on the other side of the building, but an employee (the postmaster wouldn't speak to me) said they're aren't enough spaces and it makes it difficult for the trucks. 
These cars need to go somewhere else so customers can park and unload their packages adjacent to the entrance.
Funny you write, because we've noticed this and also been frustrated.  Definitely doesn't seem right.

Our suggestion would be to email the 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell -

(Hat tip:  RP!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New McCormick Place/DePaul Plan Works Around Legal Land Hurdles

New McCormick Place/Motor Row Expansion Plan (via DNAinfo)
New plans for Motor Row and the proposed DePaul event center have emerged out of a community meeting earlier this week (via DNAinfo):
The massive redevelopment of the South Loop that would bring in the new DePaul Athletic Arena and a $400 million hotel would also include a new park and a plan to move the historic Harriet Rees House, community leaders said Monday night. 
The South Loop makeover is poised to attract traffic and tourists headed for McCormick Place — along with new businesses and residents — issues that have led to opposition from the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance and other community groups. 
The meeting at Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago, 1936 S. Michigan Ave. drew about 200 residents, several of whom voiced their concerns during a question-and-answer session at the end of the evening.

We had a post about the Harriet Rees House a couple of weeks ago and really there isn't a ton of new info here.  Regardless, should be interesting to see how this progresses.

The one piece that is new to us is the timing.  We've posted about some of the legal issues the initial plan had (mainly based on acquiring land), but according to a post on Curbed Chicago this new plan works around the issue:
As far as timelines are concerned, McPier wants to move quickly with the plan. It had previously been held up due to a land dispute, however now that the map and (some of the) buildings have been redrawn, McPier says that it is now go time. The ginormous redevelopment proposal heads to the Chicago Plan Commission on April 23, and if all goes according to the predetermined schedule, everything will be completed by Spring 2017.
Sounds like this is moving forward.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

McCormick Market Opens On Cermak

Signs appeared for McCormick Market back in February and it looks like they're now open - via an email from a reader:
Just an FYI that "Cermak Market" at Cermak/Michigan (next door to Papa John's) is now open.  
It's a convenience store with the usual features, but has a deli that does sandwiches and a coffee station. Glad to see this open up in the neighborhood. A welcome and needed addition to the area. Hope it does well.
Sounds like a nice addition and glad their doing the sandwiches.  More places to get a quick bite would really help the area in our opinion!

Business counter is back in the black thanks to this opening!

(Hat tip:  DN!)

Monday, April 14, 2014

ASAP Wellness Center Moving into 730 S. Dearborn

A couple readers have sent us emails about a new business coming in on Dearborn:
I just noticed this appears to have opened up on Dearborn in the space where H+ records used to be: 
Looks like an urgent care/walk-in clinic (which there are already two of within a few blocks; Mercy right across the street and Physicians Immediate Care on State), but with some eastern medicine thrown in. 
I don't remember seeing anything on sloopin about it, so maybe it can put the business counter into positive integers :)

Glad to see, thanks for sending!

(Hat tip:  AD

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dilapidated Building at 1323 S. Michigan Looking for Zoning Change

A reader writes about potential zoning changes at an old, but promising building on South Michigan:
Not sure what this means, but just wanted to let you know I received letter related to a zoning appeal for 1323 S Michigan. In the letter, it stated that "the purpose of the Variation Application at 1323 South Michigan is to reduce the number of parking spaces to 17 instead of the required 21 and to reduce the loading berth requirement from one berth to zero berths to allow for the conversion of the existing building to a 30 dwelling unit building with commercial space on the ground floor"
Sounds like they're getting ready to renovate this building.  Guess we will see.

It seems like a pretty cool building and it will be nice to have some more retail space and not some dilapidated space on Michigan Avenue.  Slowly but surely, this stretch is becoming quite the destination.

(Hat tip:  JC!)

Friday, April 11, 2014

What's Going In At Long Vacant 1401 South State Retail?

A reader writes:
I was on my way to the train this morning and noticed a head poking out of the vacant commercial space on the ground floor of 1401 S State. Hadn't noticed any activity there at all since I've been in the neighborhood. Also noticed a building permit in the doorway. Description looked pretty bland and boring ("new offices"?) - I was hoping something more like Go Grocer or South Loop Market would be moving in (nothing more convenient than a nice convenience every other block). I did some amatuer sleuthing on the Department of Buildings website and pulled the permit info pasted below and even tried calling the contact number to see if I could find out more, but no luck. Seemed like a good excuse to email sloopin for the first time. Anyway, if anything interesting is going in, hope you do a post to let your readers know. 

Does anyone have the scoop?

(Hat tip: EA!)

Kroll's Earns Some Trivia Love from CBS Chicago

Bar trivia is fun, can be challenging and is often a good excuse to get a drink with friends on a "school night".  Last year a reader asked where you should go to for trivia in the Sloop and there were a couple of good options listed.

Well recently CBS Chicago gave Kroll's a shout-out for their trivia:
Kroll's (via
Kroll’s South Loop 1736 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 235-1400  

Date: Wednesdays at 8 p.m.  
After a long day at work, unwind with a trivia game challenge at Kroll’s South Loop. The trivia game is free to play and serves a great way to break up the workweek. Kroll’s South Loop offers a wide selection of beer, including Oskar Blues Old Chub, Leffe Blond, Bell’s Third Coast and Two Brothers Prairie Path; for the complete list, check out Kroll’s website. The South Loop bar also offers a selection of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and pizza, and a late-night menu for a post-game meal.
(Hat tip:  KM!)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chicago 2016 - Still Doubtful, but Maybe?

Roll your eyes (we did), but there could be a tiny sliver of hope that Chicago may still host the 2016 Olympics.  While it seems like we hear about all of the doom and gloom about Olympics building issues every year (just look back a couple months to Sochi), the lastest out of Rio is that it's the worst.

Seems pretty dramatic, but whatever.  NBC 5 provides a report:
So take this for what it is - not much. It's comical that the "Chicago Olympic" story won't die... For some of our coverage on this topic pertaining to the Sloop click here.

AMLI's New Apartments Ready for Occupancy in July

Bedroom at New AMLI (via Curbed Chicago)
Via Curbed Chicago:
After having just completed a high-rise building in River North, apartment megadeveloper AMLI is preparing to have its AMLI Lofts development in Printer's Row completed by this July. Adding 398 rental units and 5,000 square feet of streetfront retail to the corner of Clark and Polk should be a boon for the Printer's Row neighborhood of the South Loop.
While the design is fine (a little blah for our tastes), it will be nice to have some more retail on South Clark.

The post also has some more pics.

Kids and Company to Replace JTA Schools at 1255 S. State

A reader writes:
Noticed there's a Kids and Company sign atop the building where JTA schools is located. kids and Co has a west loop location. And idea what's going on at the JTA location? Maybe a partnership?
Funny you ask - we actually just received a note from the company letting us know:
Chicago families will have access to unique, award-winning and proprietary child care programs and services when Kids & Company, a Canadian leader in the industry, launches its second U.S. center in May.

The South Loop Chicago location, 1255 S. State St. will be open to families in the community taking the former JTA School space. It will provide full-time, part-time and emergency backup care for children from the ages of six weeks to six years.

Kids & Company provides a unique model of child care that includes guaranteed placement, no late fees, secure web cams and proprietary educational programs such as Alpha-Mania (pre- literacy and reading), Mini Masters (artistic expression) and Munchkinetics (physical activity and movement) as well as science and exploration, music, Spanish, and sign language for infants.
For more info, here is their website.

The other Chicago location is in the West Loop and seems to have pretty good reviews.

Welcome to the Sloop and best of luck!

(Hat tip:  CD!)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pita Belly Closes - Replaced by Bull Chicks at 606 S. Wabash

A reader sent us this pic and writes:

We never tried Pita Belly - so not sure what we missed.  It looks like Bull Chicks is a small chain with a smattering of restaurants around the country (Texas, California, South Carolina, Minnesota).

The menu looks interesting and makes us curious enough to give it a try.

The reader who sent us this pic also mentioned that STA Travel on congress closed.  If you remember they opened in 2012.

Business counter is up-to-date.

(Hat tip:  MJ!)

Panozzo's Signage Coming Down; Ameritalia Gets Their Keys

Last week we posted about Ameritalia moving in to the old Panozzo's space.  Well apparently that happening - a reader sent us the picture above and writes:
I saw the new guys peeling off Panozzo's signage today. It's the end of an era, and it's happening!
We couldn't agree more - but are excited to see what Ameritalia has to offer.  We also saw they a Facebook page and some pics:

(Hat tip:  MK!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Reader Asks - Is the Sloop a Kid Friendly Neighborhood?

Cotton Tail Park in the South Loop's Dearborn Park II 
A reader writes:
Moving to Chicago in July to work at DePaul loop campus. Had a question about your neighborhood in terms of kids, as I have one, a 7 year old girl. Your neighborhood is not making any kid friendly lists, and while So. Loop Elem looks ok, is there much chance for neighborhood friends in S. Loop for youngsters? If so, any areas more so than others?
It seems like the Sloop is pretty family friendly and it seems like that's only increasing.  However, the northside neighborhoods might be more "family friendly".

However, we would venture to say the South Loop has more diversity than those neighborhoods in regards to families.  We recently were walking through Dearborn Park II and it was amazing the amount of diversity we saw.  Seems like a great place to raise a family if you ask us.

Sloopers chime in - what say you?

(Hat tip:  BS!)

Chicago Kidical Mass South Loop Ride On April 19th

A cool event (here's their website):

Monday, April 7, 2014

Signs of Progress @ Green Line Cermak CTA Stop

A reader writes and sends us a pic:
Noticed the skeleton of the new Cermak green line stop this morning. Pretty exciting considering the public meeting relayed details that include significant street/alley scaping. Hopefully a big first step toward getting cermak/motor row moving.
(Hat tip:  MG!)

First Draft (649 S. Clark) Opening Around April 20th?

Bar at First Draft (via The Local Tourist)
We've spent some time pondering when First Draft will open at 649 S. Clark.  It was supposed to be last year, but that didn't happen.  However, it seems like it's getting closer.

A reader sent us a post from the website Bar Native about this topic:
First Draft 649 S. Clark St., Chicago
64 Beers on tap
BN Pick: Three Floyds Zombie Dust
First Draft is the newest bar on our list, because…well it hasn’t actually opened yet. So start standing in line now and sometime around April 20th, the doors will open on this South Loop bar and you’ll find yourself facing down 64 tap choices.

We will see...

(Hat tip:  KW!)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dude, Where's My Car? Sloop Edition!

A strange development for a parker in the Sloop:
Dear Sloopin, 
I am a devoted reader and South Loop resident. I am writing to find out whether you know anything about what is happening with the parking lot at 14th & Michigan (south of Giodano's). I rent a monthly spot there but yesterday I noticed that all the cars in the lot -- including mine -- were gone and the lot is locked up with no attendant anywhere. The lot is totally empty! Where are all the cars? The attendants have keys to the monthly parkers' cars because they move them around when there are special events. At least one attendant has my phone number, but no one called me about this. Do you think you can find out what is going on, or perhaps find out contact information for the management company? I have always just dealt with them in person, so I don't know who to call. There are no signs up at the lot. 
Thanks for anything you can do!
Naturally the first thing that pops to mind is that this space is eventually going to be the Lakeside Bank headquarters.  Maybe they're starting that?  It does seem strange that there was no warning though.

Has anyone else had a similar issue?

(Hat tip:  AN!)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bird is the Word! Cafe Society to Become Spoke & Bird

It appears that the quirky, but lovable Cafe Society is getting a makeover (via Crain's):
Cafe Society at corner of Indiana and 18th
Cafe Society in the South Loop is getting a new menu, new look, new name and, the owners hope, a liquor license.  
The sandwich and coffee spot that Jorge Armando Afanador opened in September 2000 is turning into Spoke & Bird in May. Alicia Bird, a project manager at online advertising buying firm Centro LLC, and Scott Golas, founder and CEO of Xmplifi, a Chicago-based software company, are now the majority owners. Mr. Afanador will remain as a minority partner who will manage the restaurant and its catering operations.  
"It needed a little love," Ms. Bird said of Cafe Society, where U2 lead singer Bono once stopped by in search of beer and Maggie and Richard Daley used to frequent.  
The new 33-seat dining room will get new furniture and flooring as well as cafe-style windows that will open onto 18th and Indiana streets. The owners, who are seeking a liquor license for beer and wine sales, are aiming for a late May debut.

We've always liked Cafe Society, their spacious patio and friendly owner Mr. Afanador, but it's good to hear that he's going to get some fresh blood to help him out.

Looking forward to seeing the changes come to life.

(Hat tip:  TOC, MS, AB!)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ameritalia Shooting for June Opening in Old Panozzo's Space

For lease sign at former Panozzo's Space
Many people shed a tear when Panazzo's officially closed earlier this year, but it sounds like a new restaurant will be opening up shop in this familiar space (1303  S. Michigan).  Sounds interesting and can't wait to try them out:
Hello Sloopin!  
I wanted to shoot you an email to let you know my husband and I are the new tenants in the former Panozzo's space. We read your blog daily and if you don't mind, we wanted you to be the first to announce it to the neighborhood.  
We are local South Loop Residents whom live at Sky 55. My husband Bradley West, is an accomplished, classically trained Chef and I am a business professional. When the lease sign went up we jumped at the opportunity to share the food that we love with the community.  
The new restaurant will be called Ameritalia and will serve chef driven American comfort food with an Italian influence to include items such as Braised Meatballs and Pepperoni, Stromboli's, Salads, Sandwiches, handmade pasta dishes, daily house-made soups, other specialties and CUPCAKES! The concept is fresh casual with seating for about 30 (to include outdoor patio seating NEXT year as we missed the application deadline for this summer). Folks will order at the counter and food will be delivered however, we will not have a serving staff so tipping will not be expected. Wine paired especially for our menu and beer will also be available. Catering options and delivery will also be available.  
We are planning to open in early June and we will have a soft opening/celebration that we will announce to the community as opening day draws closer (we will definitely let you know).  
We are so excited to serve our beloved South Loop community and hope to be big supporters of women in business (which is close to my heart) among other neighborhood causes.  
It would be much appreciated if you could make the announcement and please let me know if I can provide further information.  
Thank you and we look forward to interacting with you more in the future!  
Holly and Bradley West

Sounds good to us!  Best of luck as you move closer to opening!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Update on New Retail Projects at Roosevelt Collection; Yoga Six Opening There Also!

Roosevelt Collection gets a lot of coverage here at Sloopin and today we have an update that they recently sent to their residents:
Bentley’s Corner Barkery is opening in the East Tower this week! Two restaurants are on the way and the build-outs will be starting in spaces on the north end of the plaza (one of them is Mirai Market-more specifics will come with the official announcements). Fitness enthusiasts will have a couple more options with Shred 415 and Yoga Six opening in the West Tower.  
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is coming to the second level of the East Tower. Construction is scheduled to start next week. Work is being restricted to business hours and we’ll keep you updated with any aspects of the project that may affect you and your neighbors.  
The British School site construction is underway. They will be driving pilings for the foundation starting mid-April.

Good to see an update.  The only new news to us is that Yoga Six is opening at RC.  Everything else has been covered here before.  From what we can tell Yoga Six is a California based yoga studio that has expanded to St. Louis and now apparently Chicago.

Anyway, good to see some progress.

(Hat tip:  SH!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bloomberg: South Loop Showing Its Appreciation

Some more good (we think) national real estate news for the Sloop - this time via Bloomberg.  They provide the background:
Showing Their Appreciation
Harbor views, happening culture, a short commute, a huge park, 10 months of sunshine a year. Those are a few of the attractions in Bloomberg Rankings' list of top U.S. neighborhoods in home price appreciation. We plucked these places, one per state, from the 12 states on the list of 50 U.S. neighborhoods with the highest year-over-year rise in median home price. The gains range from pretty juicy to kind of insane. You’ll see.  
Price data come from real estate information website Zillow Inc. Methodology is on the final slide.
Ok, so take this with a grain of salt -  Zillow can be way off, so yeah.

Anyway, here is what they say about the Sloop:
South Loop, Chicago, Illinois Year-over-year gain: 47.5% 
Median sale price, Jan. 2013: $223,175
Median sale price, Jan. 2014: $329,100 
South Loop joins a number of other once-blighted neighborhoods on this list that have been redeveloped and are now hot. The site of former rail yards, it was known for many years more for its vices (as in brothels, burlesques) than its residential virtues.

(Hat tip:  SH!)