Thursday, July 31, 2014

Here We Go Again: Lollapalooza 2014 Fun Times

Hutchinson Field Grant Park - South End of Lollapalooza
It's Thursday, July 31st and that only means two things:

1)  July is over (has summer started?)
2)  Outkast is in our BACKYARD - oh and Lollapalooza officially invades Chicago tomorrow

Well technically, it's already invaded the city as the build-out for the festival has been underway in Grant Park for well over a week.

Anyway, for better or worse, the South Loop is ground zero for the festival.  That means we have to deal with some of the inconveniences (see obnoxious people) but it also means we have easy access to one of the worlds most renowned music festivals.

As of today, we're shooting to be at all three days of the festival.  We're going to do some documenting, but we also like to highlight some of the artists we're excited to see.  So without further ado here are some of the acts we're looking forward to (and let us know if we missed something you're excited about that we should check-out):

Bombay Bicycle Club (Friday, 2:30pm):

Broken Bells (Friday, 6:30pm):
Temper Trap (Saturday, 3:15pm):
Gramatik (Saturday, 4:30pm):
Nas (Saturday, 5:45pm):
Calvin Harris (Saturday, 8:45pm):
Outkast (Saturday, 8:15pm - LOVE ME SOME 'KAST):
Cage The Elephant (Sunday, 4:00pm):
The 1975 (Sunday: 4:45pm):
Chromeo (Sunday, 4:45pm):
Childish Gambino (Sunday, 6:00pm):
Chance the Rapper (Sunday, 8:30pm):
I'm exhausted just posting all of this...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vice District Brewing to Open on August 22nd and Usher in Sloop's Beer Renaissance?

The men behind Vice District Brewing (via Chicagoist)
The Chicagoist poses an interesting question that we've been pondering for some time:
Is the South Loop Chicago’s latest beer destination? Vice District Brewing Co., which will be located at 1454 S. Michigan Ave, hopes so. They will officially open their doors on Friday, Aug. 22., one of several beer-centric businesses opening soon in the area including the re-vamped Villain’s, Motor Row Brewing, and South Loop Brewing.
We've been talking about breweries opening up in the neighborhood for years now and this will be the first one to actually open their doors.  So while we like to think the South Loop will be "Chicago's latest beer destination" we're going to suggest proceeding with caution.

Baby steps everyone.

Regardless, we're very excited Vice to open and can't wait to try out their new brews!

This is a very welcomed addition to the neighborhood - best of luck to these guys.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

George Lucas Chooses Star Powered Architects for Proposed Museum on Museum Campus

Now that we know that George Lucas is planning on building his museum in the neighborhood, we are going to be posting about this a lot.  Yesterday it was announced that Mr. Lucas picked the architects and if you like interesting designs you're probably excited about this announcement (Chicago Tribune):
Marilyn Monroe Towers
(via Wikipedia)
"Star Wars" creator George Lucas on Monday announced an architectural team for his controversial planned museum on Chicago's lakefront: an avant-garde Chinese designer whose credits include Toronto-area skyscrapers dubbed the "Marilyn Monroe Towers" and Chicago's Jeanne Gang, shaper of the undulating Aqua Tower here. 
Ma Yansong, founder of the Beijing firm MAD Architects, will design the building for Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art. Gang, who heads Studio Gang Architects, will conceive the landscape around the building and design a pedestrian bridge linking the museum to Northerly Island, a peninsula east of the museum site. 
The announcement of the star-studded team, a surprise given Lucas' penchant for traditional designs, has political implications for a project championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It would rise on 17 acres now occupied by parking lots between Soldier Field and McCormick Place.

Our favorite item of this project is the pedestrian bridge that Lucas has promised.  Here is the update:
Conceptual designs are expected to be released later this year.  
Lucas is promising to pay for the pedestrian bridge, which would have to be high enough to allow sailboats using Burnham Harbor to pass beneath. It won't come cheap. The price for a soon-to-be-built lakefront pedestrian bridge at 35th Street is pegged at more than $18 million.
Seems like we will hear more about the legal battle to prevent this from coming to fruition, but it seems like they're moving fast to get this thing started.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Harrison Street Red Line Stop Showing Signs of Progress; Scheduled to Open Today?

You may recall that the Harrison Red Line station was getting a revamp from an old post we did back in April.  Well Curbed Chicago checks in and shows some of the progress (see picture above):
The CTA's Harrison Street Red Line stop has been closed for over a month now, undergoing a $10 million renovation that the underground station sorely needed. Aside from the expected tech upgrades, fresh tile, and a new coat of paint, what was interesting about the CTA's announcement of the renovations was the new design for the canopy structures planned for the sidewalk stairway entrances on State Street. A serious departure from the historic, black, iron canopies over most of the downtown area subway entrances, this new design is modern and angular, with red metal beams and riveted glass panels. Now, with the station scheduled to reopen on Monday morning, we get our first look at the beginnings of these new canopy structures in person.
Did anybody use this station today?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sloopin Hat Tip T-Shirts Are Running Out!

We're almost out of Sloopin Hat Tip T-shirts, so if you're initials are below, hurry up and get to Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan) while supplies last.  Looks like there are only a couple large and XL sizes left.

For background here is the story 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: 

  • CM
  • MKR
  • RK
  • VG
  • AR
  • CJ
  • ES
  • JD
  • RB
  • RC
  • MS
  • AR
  • JG
  • JY
  • GM
  • AJ
  • AL
  • AD
  • CD
  • KP
  • BS
  • BBC
  • SD
  • RW
  • DL
  • SF
  • KK
  • VM
  • MK

As always, big hat tip to everyone who submitted!

And for those of you who already have a Sloopin Hat tip t-shirts - stay tuned for new details...we may have a new surprise for you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

SXL Nails & Massage Opens at 1460 S. Michigan

And another nail and massage place has opened - this one, SXL Nails & Massage, is open at 1460 S. Michigan:

We posted about their coming soon sign back in May.

Best of luck to them and welcome to the Sloop!

Business counter is updated as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grant Park Skate Park Construction Completion Date Moved Up to October

This is slightly old news from DNAinfo, but still a good update on the progress:
Ald. William Burns (4th), Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife Amy Rule, Park District Supt. Mike Kelly and Grant Park Conservancy President Bob O'Neill shoveled a ceremonial load of soil at the southern tip of Grant Park Monday to kick off construction on a three-acre skate park. 
The move was a formality, as construction was already underway to build the $2.65 million skate park designed by landscape architecture firm Altamanu. The construction timeline, originally set to be completed by the end of 2014, has been sped up in the hopes of opening the park by October, Kelly and O'Neill said Monday.
For those looking for background, here are a couple old Sloopin links (original post about project and construction has apparently begun on the park).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Come Witness a Gigantic Historic House Moving

This should be a sight to see (via Curbed Chicago):
One of the biggest tasks McPier will undertake in preparation for the construction of the massive McCormick Place entertainment district is moving the 126 year old Harriet F. Rees House to a new location just one block away. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (aka McPier) received a permit from the city a couple of weeks ago to relocate the landmarked three story home and now a date has been announced for the big move. According to the Greater South Loop Association, the historic Rees House will be moved to its new location on August 22.
How does an undertaking like this happen?
The home will be wrapped in braces and placed on a huge 29-wheel dolly which will crawl from its current location at 2110 S. Prairie Ave. to 2017 S. Prairie Ave.
Should be interesting!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thinking Outdoor Amenities?
Think South Loop Luxury by Related.

Sponsored Post

As summer rolls along in Chicago, the South Loop is the ideal city neighborhood for enjoying all things outdoors – from al fresco dining and beer gardens to park events and lakefront outings. Closer to home, the South Loop Luxury properties all feature beautiful outdoor amenities where you can enjoy the warm weather months. Both Adler Place and Harbor View offer a rooftop pool and sun deck equipped with cabanas and elevated views, offering the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.

At Adler Place, residents can lounge by the pool and take in some of the best views in the city of the Chicago skyline – and also get a birds-eye view of neighboring Soldier Field – from the building’s 32nd-floor sun deck. Meanwhile, over at Harbor View, the pool and sun deck offer panoramic vistas of Lake Michigan and Burnham Harbor, perfect for watching summer boating activity on the lake. And isn’t that what summer is all about?

Explore the residences that define South Loop Luxury. 
For more information, open houses are on Sunday from Noon-4 PM at Adler Place. Please call us at 312-662-1900 to schedule a private showing.

Learn more at

Mac Kelly's Greens n' Things to Replace Homemade Pizza Co. at 1347 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
I saw this posted on the doors of Homemade Pizza space - the menu looks pretty good and affordable. Hope they will open soon.
Mac Kelly's Greens n' Things has a couple other locations around the loop and while we've never eaten at one, we have been intrigued.

The menu is pretty affordable and it has some pretty positive reviews from Yelp and TripAdvisor.

If the South Loop location is a similar concept as the others (which we assume it would be) it definitely fills in a nice niche for the neighborhood.  There are a decent amount of sit down restaurants, but this will serve those of us who are in a rush, don't want to cook, but would like a quick meal.

We also found some pictures of their other locations to give you a peak at what it looks like inside:
Salad Bar at Jackson location (via Yelp)
Fruit selection at Jackson location (via Yelp)
Just last week we posted a rumor that a vegetarian restaurant might be opening up in this space.  Well I guess this could count as a vegetarian option, but doubt it's the same thing.  As a reminder, Homemade Pizza Co. closed their doors back in June as their entire business (all locations) were closed.

Seems like a good addition to us.  Does anyone else have strong feeling one way or another?

(Hat tip: MK, VC, RK!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chop Coming to Roosevelt Collection; Not Porkchop

This make a lot more sense - Crain's recently reported that Chop will be coming to Roosevelt Collection - not Porkchop:
Jovanis Bouargoub (via Crain's)
Jovanis Bouargoub, owner of Chicago-based Porkchop, will open his latest meat-centric restaurant, Chop, in October.  The 100-seat venue will open in the Roosevelt Collection Mall on the Near South Side.  
Mr. Bouargoub said Chop will share a theme with his three Porkchop locations — an easygoing atmosphere combined with high-quality, gourmet dishes. The food from both brands will incorporate inspirations from France, his homeland.

But unlike the barbecue- and whiskey-centric, Southern-inspired Porkchop, Chop will focus on steaks, burgers and wine. Described as "an everyman's steakhouse," Chop will feature grass-fed, locally sourced burgers and steak dishes, including the classic T-bone and a fried steak.

Sounds promising.

If you may recall we were left scratching our heads when it was announced Porkchop would be opening up in Roosevelt Collection along with another "smaller" Porkchop on Dearborn in Printers Row.  Well the Porkchop on Dearborn opened and now we know that the restaurant at Roosevelt Collection will be called Chop.

We will continue to monitor this as construction begins, but good news on the neighborhood dinning front.

(Hat tip: VM!)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Recently on the Sloopin Message Board...

While we love for you to view Sloopin's post thread, we also want to encourage everyone to head over to the Sloopin message board and see what the neighborhood is talking about.  Some recent topics include:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Acadia Featured on PBS: A Chefs Journey

If you're into food and like the South Loop's Acadia, definitely an interesting watch:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Downsize Fitness Opens at 633 S. Plymouth Ct

Another fitness business has opened in Printers Row.  A reader writes:
Downsize Fitness has relocated from the West Loop to the South Loop. They are now open for business at 633 S Plymouth. Downsize Fitness is a fitness center designed to help people lose weight.
Upon further examination they have a good yelp review (5 stars from 12 reviews) and based on their website they're:
An integrated wellness program for healthy weight loss. Much more than a gym, Downsize Fitness is an all-encompassing health and wellness organization founded on the desire to improve the lifestyle of the individual. The methodology is rooted in a threefold approach: 
  1. Physical fitness with customized, personal training modified to your fitness level 
  2. Sensible nutrition that actually works 
  3. Weight loss counseling to fostering a supportive environment

Welcome to the Sloop!

(Hat tip:  SF!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bull Chicks Opens at 606 S. Wabash; ABP Art Supplies Closes Next Door

Chicken lovers in the Sloop now have a new place to try out - Bull Chicks has opened at 606 S. Wabash.  As you may recall from our post back in April they're a small chain that has locations in about 5 states.  Their website says:
Obviously, there is THE FOOD, which speaks for itself. We love food, and you can tell by the taste. Our bread is freshly baked daily. Made from scratch, of course. We prepare your meal right when you order it, not hours before. At BullChicks™, we make sure to use only the highest quality ingredients, and the freshest produce available everyday.
It goes on, but you can read for your self.

We also noticed that next door, the ABP Art Supplies, Books & Photography in the City has apparently closed (612 S. Wabash).  Brown paper is on the windows which typically doesn't mean good things for the business.

(Hat tip:  DL!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chicago Sun-Times Sits Down with Joe Segal, Owner of Jazz Showcase

Joe Segal - owner of the Jazz Showcase (via Chicago Sun Times)
The Chicago Sun-Times has a great interview with Joe Segal, the owner of the Jazz Showcase (806 S. Plymouth).  It was recently announced that the 88 year-old will receive the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy in New York next spring.

It's a fun read, with some great "old-school" statements:
Elevator music sounds great compared to what they’re doing now. At least it was music. It was watered down, but it wasn’t all this wishy-washy, namby-pamby stuff, using the same licks over and over.
Anyway, it's great to have such a distinct place in the Sloop.

They also have a nice video to get a sense of the man:

Monday, July 14, 2014

More Stores Open at the Maxwell Shopping Center & Roosevelt Collection

More stores have now opened at the Maxwell.  In addition to the already posted about Dick's Sporting Goods and Noodles and Company, it now appears that Men's Wearhouse, Potbelly and Pier 1 Imports are all now open:

Beyond that we just saw that Verizon is also opening a store at the Maxwell.  As a reminder other impending openings at the Maxwell are Burlington Coat Factory, Nordstrom Rack and  TJ Maxx.

In other shopping center news, Republic of Couture has finally opened at Roosevelt Collection:

This brings us to our poll that we recently conducted:
Definitely a lot of momentum at The Maxwell, so this probably isn't surprising.  Regardless, good to see progress at both places.

(Hat tip: RW, AM!)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Old Three Peas Art Lounge Owner Launches Wine Brand

Three Peas Art Lounge closed up shop back in January of 2012 (and has subsequently been taken over by Bureau Bar in 2013).  We recently heard about the owner's new venture into private label wine (via Tastebud Diaries):

Friday, July 11, 2014

Road Work Yields Fresh Bike Only Lanes on Harrison

A reader writes:
I noticed some surveyors this morning at Harrison and Clark and that the existing pavement markings had been ground off. This afternoon they painted new bike only lanes in each direction west of Dearborn. Now to see how long before they do another round of utility work and mess up the road again.
Well at least the repainted the bike lanes - which definitely doesn't seem to happen everytime.

(Hat tip:  BBC!)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Spoke & Bird Shooting for Mid-August Opening

New logo and patio space from The Spoke & Bird (via DNAinfo)
In case you missed it, DNA info had a good update on a story we posted about back in April:
Cafe Society will reopen July 1 under new ownership, then briefly close and reopen as The Spoke & Bird in mid-August. 
The name is a nod to the couple's shared passion for biking, which they hope will in part define the vibe at the new health-focused eatery. 
Part of their vision for the new restaurant includes transforming the new outdoor patio that abuts the Women's Park and Gardens into a 100-seat lounge that serves beer and wine. Last week, the duo scored a liquor license to do just that, Golas said.
They go onto to talk about the great patio, which is truly the best asset for the space.  We also like the story behind the name and the fact that they're hoping to incorporate the "biking vibe" into the restaurant.

In regard to changes to the menu:
Golas said The Spoke & Bird will start with breakfast and lunch , working off a scaled-back menu that emphasizes paninis and sandwiches made with local produce, and a crepe-heavy morning lineup.

The team plans to change the menu every two weeks in order to serve fresh ingredients in season. In October — if there's sufficient demand — Golas said they planned to add dinner and keep the patio open later.
All we're going to say is hopefully they don't get rid of one of our Sloopin favorites - the Spinach and Guac Wrap!

A Variety of Real Estate Updates in the Sloop

Seems like we're in a heavy real estate news cycle or something for the Sloop.

On Monday we posted that prep-work was apparently underway for a new 29 28 story rental tower at 1000 S. Clark.  Crain's Chicago had a follow-up story that the developers have received financing and that they're just waiting on some city permits to begin the full on construction.

A reader also said that the developer, JDL, has updated their website and included a blurb and an additional rendering.

1323 S. Michigan - Seven Story Rental Conversion
Moving east to Michigan Avenue, it appears that a old 7 story building with potential is going to be converted to rental apartments (via Crain's Chicago):
Northbrook-based Speedwagon Properties plans to convert the six upper floors of an empty seven-story building at 1323 S. Michigan Ave. in the South Loop into 30 apartments, Managing Director Steve Khosabe said. “It's a great location. We think that 30 apartments right there will rent out very quickly,” he said. The planned one- and two-bedroom units will rent in the low- to mid-$2 per square foot range, he said. The building's ground-floor space is owned separately.
Moving further south to Motor Row, a failed development gets refurbished and nets the redevelopers a good return (again via Crain's Chicago):
Marc Realty Residential LLC has sold a failed South Loop condo project it finished as apartments for a big gain, another sign the sizzling market for rental properties has expanded beyond core downtown areas. 
Less than two years after paying $12.7 million for the foreclosed property at 2300 S. Michigan Ave. and investing $4 million to revamp the structure, an MRR venture recently sold the 94-unit building, now called the Shelby, to Chicago real estate firm Royal Imperial Group Inc. for $25.2 million, MRR principal David Ruttenberg said.

However, the most interesting thing is the acquiring firms outlook for the area:
“Typically, we try to find a neighborhood that is unseen by other people,” Mr. Tessler said. “We think this is next hot, hot area of the city.”  
He cited the forthcoming DePaul University arena, proposed hotel projects in the area and the planned development of Motor Row into an entertainment district. Some of those projects may take years to complete, and the entertainment district is off to a sluggish start.  
But Mr. Tessler, whose firm developed the Sterling Tower in River North, an apartment tower later converted into condominiums, said Royal Imperial is willing to wait.  
“We think it'll take three or four years, but we think it gets there,” he said of the neighborhood. “We think we'll be positioned well to take advantage of those opportunities. Motor Row is probably one of the top three areas the city has designated to put in infrastructure and increase the opportunities there.”

We've heard this plenty of times for Motor Row.  It seems like it's going to happen, but it's seemed that way for awhile.  Maybe the CTA stop at Cermak and the DePaul stadium is the catalyst for this...we will see.

(Hat tip: BS!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vegetarian Restaurant Coming to Old Homemade Pizza Co. Space?

A reader writes:
I am hearing about a new vegetarian restaurant opening in the homemade pizza company space. Have you heard anything similar. Similar to a native foods but different style of food.  
I think things are still preliminary so probably no lease in place yet or anything.
If you recall Homemade Pizza Company (1347 S. Michigan) closed their business back in June.  We figured something would move in quickly.  We will be watching closely to see if this new restaurant comes to fruition.

Seems like a unique/different offering that would be welcomed in the Sloop!

(Hat tip: KP!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Caribou Coffee Closes; Will Re-open Eventually as a Peet's

Word came out last year that Caribou Coffee was going to be closing throughout Chicago as part of a private equity buyout with some locations being converted to Pete's.  Well this apparently has finally happened for the South Loop location:
Not sure if you covered this yet. Caribou, Wabash/8th, has now closed and will be reopening as Pete's. They have paper on the windows while the redo the inside and writing on the window door explaining.
We've never had Peet's, but according to Wikipedia it's a San Francisco based business that has been around since 1966, but was bought out and is aggressively expanding.

We have updated the business counter to reflect Caribou's closing and Peet's impending opening.

Finally, we've also received a decent amount of emails from readers letting us know two local coffee shops - one that opened and one that is planning on opening in August - just north of Sloop (IMO).  Dollop Coffee Co. has opened at 343 S. Dearborn and Asado Coffee Roasters is planning an August opening at 22 E. Jackson.  Since these technically aren't in the Sloop we're not including them in the business counter.

(Hat tip: CD, RG, AA, KD, RG!)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Work Begins for 29 Story Apartment Tower at 1000 S. Clark

Construction equipment begins work at 1000 S. Clark (via Curbed Chicago)
In case you missed a post we did back in January, there has been some movement at the empty lot at 1000 S. Clark (just north of Target).  According to Curbed Chicago the project is moving forward as construction equipment is officially rolling into the site:
a new apartment tower boasting 469 units plus a bevy of on-site perks that take advantage of the lot's massive footprint. 1000 S Clark is designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architects and is being developed by JDL, and in a rental market being fought with amenities, it offers up five resident lounges, a rooftop deck, a doggy daycare, and a spa and fitness center with private sports facilities such as basketball and racquetball courts, an indoor pool, and a driving range.
Seems like some nice (albeit unnecessary) amenities.  Given the bevy of rental options in the Sloop these days, we guess you have to find ways to stand out - mission accomplished.

While the building sounds nice for the renters, there is one fact we don't like for the neighborhood - no street-facing retail?
The tower will stand at 29 stories tall, has a motor court in front and apparently no street-facing retail to try to lure pedestrians from Target or Printer's Row.
We're hoping that the "apparently" in the Curbed story isn't accurate and that they do have some retail.

(Hat tip:  AD & AA!)  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Sloop Via Old-Timey Chicago Postcards

Found this link recently of some old-timey postcards of Chicago.  Some include shots around the sloop and are always fascinating to look at.  Via Chicago Magazine:
See Mid-Century Chicago in 20 Vintage Postcards A collection of linen postcards from 1930 to 1945 shows Chicago not exactly as it was, but as a visitor would want to remember it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Relax Massage Opens at 80 East Cermak; Restaurant Opening Next Door

The retail space on Cermak just west of Michigan Ave looks to be filling up.  As you may recall Papa John's opened at the the corner in 2012 and Cermak Market opened earlier this year.  Upon a recent trip down to Cermak we noticed two new developments - one open and one in the process of build-out.

The business that is open is Relax Massage:

Just to the right of Relax Massage you probably notice windows that are covered.  Upon looking at the business permit in the window it looks like a restaurant is coming based on the description:

We will stay close to this to see what happens at the restaurant space.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

South Loop Rents Among Highest in the City

The rent is too damn high!  Or is that a good thing?  Guess it depends on your perspective.

CBS 2 recently had this post:
In another mark of the evolution of the South Loop and West Side, the neighborhoods currently have a higher median rent than Lincoln Park and are approaching the high-end rental prices of the Gold Coast and Streeterville. 
In the 1980s, much of the South Loop was railroad tracks and factories. 
As those rail lines were no longer needed and has industries closed, developers began massively building and rehabbing in the 1990s. 
Similarly, the West Side was a former manufacturing and warehousing area, and many of the buildings have been converted to loft condominiums, restaurants, and galleries. 
Now, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the South Loop is $1,815, compared with $1,640 for Lincoln Park, according to Zumper, a rental listing company. 
Median prices for two-bedrooms are $2,286 for the South Loops and $2,100 for Lincoln Park.
Take it for what it's worth.

(Hat tip: JG!)