Saturday, January 31, 2015

Recently on the Sloopin Message Board...

Sloopsters - if you've got a pressing question or are interested in engaging with our South Loop community, remember the Sloopin Message Board.

Here are some of the recent posts/active conversations:

Friday, January 30, 2015

South Loop Struggles with Lack of Suitable Neighborhood High School

Chicago Talks Now has an article bringing attention to the lack of (suitable) public high school options in the South Loop:
Many families living in the South Loop struggle with the issue of not having a suitable neighborhood high school for their children. Litigation attorney and community leader John Jacoby faces the same problem with his youngest daughter who next year will be a freshman in high school.  
Phillips Academy in Bronzeville (via Wikipedia)
Having lived in Chicago for more than 20 years, Jacoby has been a direct witness to all of the up and coming changes in the South Loop. However, one of the most important things that have not changed is the option for an academically successful neighborhood high school. As of now, Phillips Academy is the only neighborhood high school available to Jacoby’s daughter, Kyra. Located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, it falls academically short with a graduation rate of 61 percent, according to the Chicago Public Schools website.  
“Our neighborhood high school is not an option,” Jacoby said. The graduation rate at Phillips Academy is lower than the Illinois state average of 88 percent.
It’s no wonder parents are scrambling to find a better high school for their children, Jacoby said.

Jacoby’s oldest daughter, Renee, is now a senior at Jones College Prep Academy located in the Printer’s Row neighborhood in downtown Chicago. In order to be accepted to this high school, a student has to have straight A’s and test into the 99th percentile, Jacoby said.
The article goes on to tell more anecdotal stories of the problem, but doesn't go much further.

This should be a big concern for the neighborhood, because if it isn't tackled families will continue to flock out of the neighborhood.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

So About That Grateful Dead Show...

Remember last week when we posted about the Grateful Dead reunion show being a big deal for Chicago, Soldier Field and our neighborhood?  Well it appears that this DEFINITELY SOLD OUT:(via DNAinfo):
If you got stuck in a long line behind Grateful Dead fans at the post office last week, know this: You were not alone.
The band said more than 60,000 individual envelopes flooded into the California post office box collecting orders from Deadheads trying to get tickets for the band's reunion shows in Soldier Field this summer.
Soldier Field's capacity for football games is 61,500, although more can pack in for concerts. reported that the 60,000 fans who mail-ordered for tickets asked for more than 360,000 tickets in total, meaning many fans will be left disappointed and get their postal money orders back.

Because of the influx, the Dead canceled all other preorders, leaving just a Feb. 28 Ticketmaster ticket release.
If you're scratching your head thinking that the mail-ordered ticketing system seems archaic, that's the point.  For those of us who aren't "deadheads" apparently this is how the band used to operate their ticketing system:
As is the custom, the band offered advance tickets sales for fans willing to jump through a series of hoops and send away for tickets. Fans had to pony up money for money orders in all the different combinations of costs associated with the tickets. Then they had to send a self-addressed stamped envelope and a 3-by-5 index card detailing what tickets they wanted.
If you're thinking this must be a joke, checkout this video from their site:

As a result it caused a scene:
The process led to long lines at post offices around Chicago — and around the country — as fans methodically had postal clerks print out their money orders. As is also the custom, the band encouraged fans to decorate their envelopes, leading to brightly colored submissions.
Fans jockey for the fanciest envelopes in hopes of getting better tickets.
Speaking to that last point, we found an interesting article with a bunch of elaborate envelopes, but this was our favorite (via JamBase):
So be prepared, it appears the deadheads are coming in full force over fourth of July weekend.

With that said, a reader also tipped us off to the petition going around the internets to let fans of the dead tailgate overnight outside of Soldier Field (via ChicagoTribune):
When Jeremy Davis comes to Chicago this summer for what could be the Grateful Dead's final shows, the Florida man wants to camp in his RV in a parking lot near Soldier Field along with tens of thousands of other "Deadheads" he considers family. 
That's why Davis on Sunday initiated an online petition asking the powers that be to open up the lots for overnight parking. His idea caught on, and the petition had more than 6,300 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
To us this seems optimistic.  It also seems unlikely that the city will go for it.  After all, does shakedown street mean anything to any of you?

Oh and if this doesn't appeal to your taste in music, don't worry, it was just announced that ANOTHER festival called "Windy City Lake Shake" would be coming to Northerly Island for a 3-day event June 19-21st (think Lollapalooza but for Country fans).

Needless to say, if you can't find a concert that you would want to attend this summer near our hood, you probably don't like music.

(Hat tip:  RH!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Police Warn of Violent Assaults and Robberies in the South Loop

From Chicago Sun-times:
Police are warning women of recent series of violent assaults and robberies in the South Loop.
In each incident, at least one man approached a woman from behind, pushed or punched her in the face, knocked her to the ground and then took her purse, cellphone or case, Area Central detectives said in a community alert.
The robberies happened in the:
  • 1500 block of South Wabash at 9:12 p.m. on Jan. 13; 
  • 1500 block of South Indiana at 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 16; 
  • 1900 block of South Indiana at 7:28 p.m. on Jan. 23; and 
  • 1600 block of South Prairie at 8:12 p.m. on Jan. 27. 

The suspect or suspects are of two different age ranges— 18-20 or 30-35, police said. He is described as 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-10, and 150-200 pounds.
Police advise women to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious behavior immediately. If confronted by an assailant, victims should remain calm, and never pursue a fleeing attacker.
(Hat tip:  SS!)

Motor Row Gallery Announces Dates for it's Second Pop-up Art Exhibition PHENOMENA

This is so strange (U-Haul meets pop-up art exhibition...wha?!?!?!) , but yet captivating to us:
Motor Row Gallery is pleased to announce its second pop-up art exhibition PHENOMENA featuring an eclectic mix of regional artists working in sculpture, found object assemblage, painting, works on paper and mixed media. Focusing on extraordinary occurrences in theme and process from the artist’s conception to the viewer’s perception – PHENOMENA centers in our minds and fuels our imaginations.  
SHOW DATES: March 13 – April 12, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday March 13, 5-9pm
Saturday March 14, 3-7pm
Sunday March 15, 12-5pm  
Motor Row Gallery
2345 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
HOURS: Monday - Saturday 9am-3pm

For more information check-out their twitter or facebook pages.

Does that mirror lady piece remind you of something that you would see in a Daft Punk video?

(Hat tip:  SW!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blinded by the (Essex Inn) Sign?

A reader writes:
Not necessarily ever a "Breath of fresh air on Grant Park," has anyone else noticed in the last few days this monstrosity of a sign? The illumination has been greatly enhanced to where it appears to be twice the brightness of the Congress Hotel sign and, dare I say, ever more intrusive than Trump. 
I have sent a complaint to the Mayor's office and hope some action will be taken. Perhaps others will address their complaints, as well.
(Hat tip:  RC!)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Historic Prairie Avenue Home to the Top 5 Highest Selling Homes in 2014

Highest Selling Home in 2014?  1841 S. Pairie Ave
(via Redfin)
As you probably are aware, real estate tends to be a hot topic in the South Loop.  With that said, the fine peeps at redfin sent us an email we thought people might be interested in:
Now that 2014 is over, it’s time to take stock. What were the highest selling homes in the Sloopin coverage area? What can it tell you about the make-up and the market in the Sloop? 
So, here we go! Unsurprisingly, all five homes were on Prairie Avenue. 
1. 1841 S Prairie Ave. A single family home in the Near South Side, this 5-bed, 5-bath home is covered in marble and includes all the bells and whistles you’d expect at this price-point. It sold for $1.75M. 
2. 1831 S Prairie Ave. Practically next door to the top-ranking home, this far more modest single-family row home fetched $1.62M and sold before print. Located across from the Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, this home is on a decidedly elegant, historic street. 
3. 1211 S Prairie Ave, #2901. Located in the Signature Tower at Museum Park, this corner unit on the 29th floor includes spectacular views and an incredible (for a condo) 2,924 square feet. It sold for a whopping $1.616M. 
A million dollar view from 1201 S. Prairie #4901 (via Redfin)
4. 1211 S Prairie Ave, #5101. While photos are no longer available, this 51st floor unit in the Signature Tower includes two parking spaces, north and east views, and 9-foot ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows. It sold for $1.6M. 
5. 1201 S Prairie Ave, #4901. Located in The Grant, this unit had been on and off the market since 2006. This unit sold for $1.545M, but the listing mainly touts the building’s amenities, not the unit’s. With HOA dues of $1,370/month, residents are going to demand high-quality building amenities.

While the most expensive homes don’t necessarily reflect the taste of everyone in the neighborhood, aspirational homes often represent the ethos of a neighborhood. Where do people most want to live? What is priced most highly? And why?

I think the answer to their questions is simply achieved by just clicking through some of the pictures from those listings.

(Hat tip:  AS!)

Chicago Firehouse Restaurant Fire Causes Preservation Organization to Increase Efforts to Prevent Future Fires

Image for Chicago Firehouse Restaurant after Fire
(via Chicago Talks)
Some good may come from the fire at The Chicago Firehouse restaurant back in December (via
A fire at a South Loop firehouse-turned-restaurant in early December has prompted Landmarks Illinois, a nonprofit preservation organization, to beef up its efforts to prevent future fires caused by construction-related accidents in historic buildings. 
The extra-alarm fire on 1401 S. Michigan Ave. was contained but caused heavy damage. 
Evanston resident Duane Yost, who was at the scene of the fire, recalls water rapidly flooding out of the building as firefighters fought to contain the flames. The fire was devastating to the structure, causing the restaurant to temporarily close for business. Everyone was evacuated from the structure safety, but firefighters were unable to keep the roof from caving in.

So what is the nonprofit trying to do?  The article sums it up:
Lisa DiChiera, director of advocacy for Landmarks Illinois said fires like the one at the Firehouse are a recurring problem for owners of many historic buildings who hire contractors who aren’t cautious enough when working on historic premises. Landmarks Illinois is looking into revisiting this problem and coming up with a possible policy to help prevent any future disasters.  
The organization hopes to possibly meet with Illinois State Fire Marshal and also talk to owners of historic buildings about hiring the right type of contractors. They’ve talked to Illinois Sen. Pamela Althoff previously McHenry mayor, who was unavailable for comment at this time.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quack Quack: Duck Boats Potentially Coming to the Sloop

Duck boat entering waterway in Wisconsin Dells (via Tribune)
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Duck boat tours could be coming to the Chicago River as soon as this summer. 
Entertainment Cruises, a cruise operator based at Navy Pier, submitted a proposal to guide tours on the boats, which run on land and water. The company operates more than 30 ships in cities across the country. 
"With this you get the best of both worlds," said Dan Russell, vice president and general manager for Entertainment Cruises. "It showcases all of the best that Chicago has, which is formidable, obviously. We think it will be a fun package."

Duck boats do not look like ducks. The bulky, amphibious vessels were once used by the U.S. military in World War II. Since then, duck boat tours have gained popularity in places like Boston, Seattle and the Wisconsin Dells. The Boston tours have served as a model for Chicago, Russell said.

So you may be asking, "what does this have to do with the Sloop?", well apparently one of the entry or exit points from the Chicago River would be near Polk Street:
Construction for the new duck boat endeavor could begin as soon as Jan. 28, when the review process by state regulators is scheduled to be completed, Russell said. 
The boats, which hold 37 passengers, require special ramps to enter and exit the Chicago River. Under the proposal, the ramps would be constructed at Marina Towers and West Polk Street. The Marina Towers ramp would be 25 feet wide by 73 feet long, and the West Polk Street ramp would be 20 feet by 73 feet. The latter would be constructed by modifying an abutment at the former Polk Street Bridge, Russell said.
The article doesn't say anything about routes or whatnot, but if this moves forward expect to see some ducks on Sloop streets.

(Hat tip:  PO & SC!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Levelz Style Lounge Replaces Flirtatious Lingerie and Club Wear at 1317 S. Michigan

Looks like Flirtatious Lingerie and Club Wear closed down to make way for a re-concepting and will now be Levelz Style Lounge at 1317 S. Michigan:

If you recall, Flirtatious had a liquidation sale back in December 2014.

(Hat tip:  JH!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grateful Dead to Play Three 50th-Anniversary Shows at Soldier Field Over 4th of July Weekend

In case you missed this last week, one of the bigger music stories/shows will be taking place in our back yard (via Billboard):
In a match made in hippie heaven, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will join the four living original members of The Grateful Dead for three 50th-anniversary shows July 3-5 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Dead's last performance with Jerry Garcia, who died in August 1995, was at the same 55,000-seat capacity venue on July 9, 1995. 
The sense of closure is no ­accident: These shows are likely to be the finale for the "core four," as the ­surviving members are now known: Bob Weir, 67; Phil Lesh, 74; Mickey Hart, 71; and Bill Kreutzmann, 68. "These will be the last shows with the four of us together," Weir tells Billboard.

And while this show might not appeal to everyone (and probably not a lot of Sloopsters) it was a pretty big get for Chicago:
Competition to land the coveted booking was stiff, with such players as Goldenvoice's Paul Tollett and Live Nation mounting efforts to reunite the Dead at venues like the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., the site of Coachella, and Bonnaroo (the latter, according to sources, offered the band $3 million for a headlining set -- and was rejected). It helped that Shapiro has an exclusive contract with Lesh and co-owns three Brooklyn Bowl locations (Las Vegas and London opened in 2014) that are favorites of jam bands, as well as the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., where Anastasio previously had joined Weir onstage.

While many "Dead Heads" are now in their golden years, something tells us that the scene over 4th of July weekend is going to be epic and probably pretty "different".

However, it's not like our neighborhood isn't familiar with this type of thing.  After all, Lollapalooza brings a different atmosphere to the neighborhood, as does the upstart EDM festival Spring Awakening which is also at Soldier Field.  Even Phish had a three night sold-out stint at Northerly Island last year.

Net net, this is a big deal for many people and should be fun to see how big of a spectacle this ends up being.

If you're not a Dead fan and want to get a sense of what the music is like click here for a youtube video from their last show before Jerry Garcia (lead singer and guitarist) passed away.

(Hat tip:  BE & TM!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Crain's: Residential developers have big plans (again) for South Loop

If you're a loyal reader of Sloopin, this real estate trend probably doesn't come as a surprise (see Sloopin yearend trend on the topic), but nonetheless it's always worth noting when one of the larger media outlets in the city/region writes about it.  

In an article that feels reminiscent of the build-baby-build 00's Crains touches on a myriad of current and future projects that could change the neighborhood as we know it.  As a starter, the image from them below touches on all the buildings mentioned in the article:  

The article opens with some high optimism for the Sloop:
It's back to the future in the South Loop, as developers engage in a land rush reminiscent of the heady years before the recession. 
A recent flurry of dealmaking could bring new high-rises with thousands of apartments and condominiums to the east bank of the Chicago River just south of downtown. Leading the charge is Chicago-based residential developer CMK, which has acquired one vacant riverside parcel and is buying two others between Congress Parkway and Roosevelt Road, collectively one of the biggest tracts of undeveloped land within walking distance of the Loop. 
The deals reflect a growing optimism among developers that the apartment boom is far from over and the condo market's comeback is kicking into a higher gear.

It goes on to talk about all of the projects going on and even resurfaces the clybourn corridor talk again, calling this "clybourn south":
Developers have coveted the area for a long time, but only a few major projects got off the ground during the last boom. The biggest was the Roosevelt Collection, an apartment-retail complex with a 14-screen movie theater. Though it ran into loan trouble after the bust, the project has rebounded and become a key neighborhood amenity, boosting Roosevelt Road's status as a shopping strip on par with North and Clybourn avenues on the North Side. “It's now Clybourn South,” DeVries says.

Again, this isn't new talk, but just nice to see some optimism for the area.

Probably the most interesting thing in the article was an update on the infamous "Rzeko Lot":
Beyond the fate of the Old Post Office across the river, the biggest question for the neighborhood is what will happen to a vacant 62-acre riverside property just south of Roosevelt Road. During the boom, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a key fundraiser for imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, proposed a shopping center and as many as 4,600 homes for the property. That plan died after a Rezko venture sold the site to General Mediterranean Holding, a Luxembourg-based conglomerate owned by British billionaire Nadhmi Auchi.  
GMH has not unveiled plans for the property, testing the patience of city officials, who want the site developed. Last April, the City Council gave the city the authority to buy the site, through eminent domain if necessary, with the hope of prodding GMH into action.  
“We need to put some pressure on the owner,” says Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, whose ward includes the neighborhood.  
“We stand ready to work with the city of Chicago on an appropriate development for the property and the neighborhood,” GMH spokesman Ryan McLaughlin says.
That gigantic swath of land probably has the most opportunity to drastically change the face of the neighborhood (unless a development over the train tracks just west of Lake Shore Drive gets going).

It's clear the city sees this as an important piece to the evolution of the South Loop.  Remember they also have plans to create the Wentworth/Wells connector which would provide access to this land.

Moral of the story is there is a ton of development going on in the neighborhood.  What does everyone think?  Good?  Bad?  Wait and see?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Burger Bar Opening Thursday; Owner Confirms Two Other South Loop Projects at 800 S. Clark

Last week we posted that Burger Bar at 1160 S. Michigan was going to open in the next couple of weeks.

Well apparently it's opening this week, on Thursday (1/22), according to an article in Chicago Magazine.  While this is great and all, what might be even more interesting is that it sounds like the brains behind the operation is excited about the Sloop and opening two more spots in the hood:
Hot on the hooves of the second Burger Bar, McLean is targeting a July 1 opening for an unnamed pair of projects at 800 South Clark Street, a coffee shop and a Mediterranean small-plates spot. The 15- to 20-seat coffee shop will make its own doughnuts and pastries and serve panini and salads at lunch. Inspired by a recent trip to Barcelona, McLean plans the wood-fired Spanish flatbreads called cocas, wood-roasted meats, plancha-cooked prawns and razor clams, and paella at the 125-seat Mediterranean restaurant. “It will be really robust food,” he says.
For those not familiar with the space at 800 S. Clark street we presume it's the retail space at the recently completed and opened AMLI lofts.  Here is a rendering from a listing on Loopnet:
Retail space at AMLI lofts at the corner of Clark and Polk (via loopnet)
Sounds pretty exciting and good to hear more and more is coming to the neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  KR!)

And Now Some Powerful Inspiration for Dr. MLK Jr. Day

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Teacher at Near South Side Development Center Charged with Sexually Assaulting Two Studens

An unfortunate read this morning, but worth sharing (via Chicago Tribune):
A Chicago preschool teacher was charged with inappropriately touching two 3-year-old students’ genitals during nap-time and in a bathroom at a South Loop school.  
Jian Feng, 25, of the 2200 block South Princeton Avenue, was ordered held without bail Saturday in a Cook County court. He was charged with four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, Class X felonies.  
Feng allegedly touched one of the girls in November in a bathroom at the school, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Hain. Surveillance video captured Feng and the child walking in and out of a bathroom at the school. Feng admitted to inappropriately touching her genitals because “his brain made him,” Hain said.  
In a second incident this month, he allegedly touched another girl’s genitals while she was lying down for a nap, Hain said. Surveillance video showed Feng with the girl. Feng pulled back her covers and reached into her pants, Hain said in court.  Feng told authorities he did it because he was “curious.”

Feng was arrested Friday after guardians of the children told authorities about the acts.  
According to school spokeswoman Kelly Anne Ohde Feng was a teacher at the Near South Side Development Center on the campus of the Easter Seals National Teachers Academy, 2214 S. Federal St. where the crimes occurred. He was removed from the school and, "will have no contact with the children."

Shots Around the Sloop: The Blue Demon

Construction has begun for the new DePaul/McPier arena:

(Hat tip: SR!)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bacci Pizza Express Apparently Closes at Roosevelt CTA Stop Entrance

Bacci Pizza Express at Roosevelt CTA Entrance
Well apparently nobody noticed (or probably cared) but it appears that the Bacci Pizza Express inside the Roosevelt CTA stop has closed.

We did notice a month or so back that it was closed, but for whatever reason didn't think much of it.  We chalked it up to them closing do to the construction at the stop.

This second time around we thought we would ask one of the CTA attendants.  They promptly responded, "Man...they've been closed for about 3 months".  Acting like he was surprised I didn't know that.

Anyway, looks like we'll have to revise our 2014 business counter.

In other news, what type of business could work here?  A more upscale food option, Butterfield Kitchen, preceded Bacci, but quickly closed as well.

Any suggestions?  Should we move the Sloopin headquarters here?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Uber-Urban Coyotes Raise Litter at Secret Concrete Den in Soldier Field Parking Lot

Screenshot of Coyote Crittercam from National Geographic (click her for the video)
Urban coyotes are a relatively new phenomenon, but to us a fascinating one.  With that said, we recently read an interesting article in National Geographic about this and lo and behold a Sloop reference.  All we're going to say is watch your dogs when you walk around Soldier Field:
One GPS-collared coyote named 748 and his mate even raised a litter of five healthy pups inside a secret concrete den in the parking lot of Soldier Field Stadium, home of the Chicago Bears.
The article also provide an overview about the difference between wild coyotes and uber-urban coyotes:
The animals have altered their natural behavior to accommodate living in close quarters with people. Unlike wild coyotes, for example, Chicago's uber-urban coyotes are nocturnal, coming out when most people have gone home; have learned to travel and cross busy roads regularly; and maintain huge yet fragmented territories, according to new data from coyotes outfitted with a GPS collar or a Crittercam, a National Geographic camera that attaches harmlessly to animals.
The article also has some fun videos from the crittercam which we suggest a clicking through to watch (if you like that type of thing).

If we will recall we've posted about coyotes in the neighborhood before.  The Chicago Journal (remember that local publication?!?!?) had a story about them and specifically hunting for them at the gigantic Rezko lot south of Roosevelt between the river and Clark.

Or maybe that other time when WGN had a video of a coyote running down State street in the Sloop.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Burger Bar Looking to Open in the Next 2-3 Weeks

"Opening announcement week" continues here a Sloopin (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday).

The PDNA (Prairie District Neighbors Association) Facebook page has the scoop on an opening date for Burger Bar:
Burger Bar Chicago new South Loop Location Opening Soon! We have it on good authority that the opening of Burger Bar Chicago's 2nd location could be ready to open in the next 2-3 weeks. With their flagship location on North Clybourn in Lincoln Park, the new location will be on the corner of Michigan Avenue & Roosevelt Road, in the ground floor of The Colombian Condominium building ground floor retail space. Gourmet Burgers, salads, mac & cheese, 100+ craft beers, milk-shakes etc.
Last we heard they were shooting for an end of year opening, but that clearly didn't happen.  Regardless, this will be a good one once the doors are open.

Also, we recently walked by and they have a menu on their window if anyone is interested:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lakeside Bank Aims for February, 23rd Opening Date

Rendering of new Lakeside Bank at northwest corner of Michigan and 14th (via DNAinfo)
Well it appears that this "announce you're opening date" week here at Sloopin.

Monday was Baderbrau Brewery.  Tuesday was Motor Row Brewing.  Today isn't a brewery, but it does start with a "B" in it's name.

We received an email from a reader stating that they have had some correspondence with a representative from Lakeside Bank and that they were shooting to open their new location at 14th and Michigan on Monday, February 23rd.

If you recall, Lakeside Bank ended up closing their location at Cermak and Prairie Avenue to make way for the McPier/DePaul arena/hotel.  As a result, they ended up buying the vacant lot at the northwest corner of 14th and Michigan and have been in busy buildout mode since the fall.

(Hat tip:  VC!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Motor Row Brewing To Officially Open at 2337 S. Michigan on Thursday, 1/15

Mayor Emmanuel and Alderman Dowel
Check Out Motor Row Brewing
Yesterday we read about a planned summer opening for Baderbrau Brewery.  Today word comes down that Motor Row Brewing is opening this Thursday, 1/15 (according to their website):
Stop me, oh oh stop me if you you’ve heard this one before… But we are OFFICIALLY opening on Thursday, January 15th. Really. Due to limited space and the lovely weather, PLEASE RSVP BELOW!
It's been a long grind to this opening for Motor Row Brewing (formerly named Broad Shoulders Brewing).  But as they say, good things to those who wait...and hopefully this applies to this brewery.

We've been lucky enough to try some of their early beers and we think people are going to be happy.

Anyway,  congrats to them and looks like we have our first business opening in 2015 (chalk one up for the 2015 business counter!).

(Hat tip:  TG!)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Baderbrau Brewery Shooting for Summer 2015 Opening

Rendering of Baderbrau Brewery at 2515 S. Wabash)
It feels like we've spent a lot of time talking about beer and breweries lately (ahem...drinking problem), but what can we say there is a lot of news on the topic.

The Examiner had a recent article vabout the Baderbrau Brewery opening and frankly there isn't a ton of information that we haven't already posted (here and here).

However, the article did provide one new piece of information we were unaware of:
Baderbräu Brewery will complement the new Motor Row District scheduled to break ground in the area in early 2015. The brewery will open summer 2015.
Now while we've been impressed with Baderbrau's operations and public relations, these types of things tend to not open on time.  Anyway, we wish them the best and hope to try some beer at the brewery sometime in 2015.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

According to Our Count, Sloop Adds a Net 19 Businesses in 2014

2014 is behind us and with that said, it seems like a fitting time to put our final stamp on the annual Sloopin business counter.  Ever since we started it, the neighborhood has added more businesses than its lost.

In 2012, there were a net 25 businesses that opened in the neighborhood.  In 2013, there were a net 41 businesses that opened in the neighborhood.  And according to our records, 2014 saw a net 20 businesses opened in the neighborhood.

Businesses that Opened in 2014

  • Red Pearl Chicago (1933 S. Archer)
  • Devil Dawgs (767 S. State)
  • Imazaki Dojo (1720 S. Michigan)
  • Exit Realty (1400 S. Michigan)
  • Exact Entertainment (161 W. Harrison)
  • Bentley's Corner Barkery (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • McCormick Market (Michigan and Cermak)
  • Petco (611 W. Roosvelt)
  • Roots of Integrity Fitness (1550 S. Indiana)
  • Niu B (888 S. Michigan)
  • Porkchop Express (555 S. Dearborn)
  • Dick's Sporting Goods (1100 S. Canal St.)
  • Noodles & Company (1100 S. Canal St.)
  • First Draft (649 S. Clark)
  • Relax Massage (80 E. Cermak)
  • Potbelly (1100 S. Canal St.)
  • Men's Wearhouse (1100 S. Canal St.)
  • Pier 1 Imports (1100 S. Canal St.)
  • Republic of Couture (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Bull Chicks (606 S. Wabash)
  • Downsize Fitness (633 S. Plymouth Ct)
  • SXL Nails and Massage (1460 S. Michigan)
  • Kids & Company (1255 S. State)
  • Chopsticks Chinese & Sushi (28 E. Roosevelt)
  • Ameritalia (1303 S. Michigan)
  • Best Brains (1317 S. State)
  • T.J.Maxx (Canal and Taylor)
  • Banana Republic (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Nordstrom Rack (Canal and Taylor)
  • Shred 415 (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • JTA Schools (80 W. Harrison)
  • Burlington Coat Factory (Canal and Taylor)
  • Vice District Brewing (1454 S. Michigan)
  • Lululemon (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Peet's Coffee and Tea (41 East 8th)
  • Verizon Wireless (Canal and Taylor)
  • Yoga Six (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Mac Kelly's Greens N' Things (1347 S. Michigan)
  • Northwestern Medical Group - Delano Court (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Victoria's Secret & Pink (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • FruVe xPress Juicery (1130 S. Wabash)
  • Happy Chinese Kitchen (300 E. Cermak)
  • The Container Store (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Sabon (150 W. Roosevelt)
  • Rock'N'Nails (Cullerton and Michigan Ave)
  • Gadget Geeks (620 S. Plymouth)

  • Closed or Moved Out of the Sloop in 2014
    1. Pockets (555 S. Dearborn)
    2. Kingoberry (555 S. Dearborn)
    3. Victory Barber Salon (1926 S. State)
    4. Bevello (150 W. Roosevelt)
    5. Pita Belly (606 S. Wabash)
    6. STA Travel (525 S. State)
    7. City Tavern (1416 S Michigan)
    8. JTA Schools (1252 S. State)
    9. HomeMade Pizza Co (1347 S. Michigan)
    10. Monkey Bar Gym (2255 S. Michigan)
    11. L'Oreal USA Institute (2101 S. Wabash)
    12. Caribou Coffee (41 E. 8th Street)
    13. ABP Art Supplies, Books and Photography in the City (612 S. Wabash)
    14. Crave Lounge (1250 S. Michigan)
    15. Yang's (28 E. Roosevelt)
    16. Flavor 180 (1511 S. State)
    17. Gymboree Play & Music Center (600 W. Roosevelt)
    18. Put it On (1319 S. Michigan)
    19. Cafe Society (1801 S. Indiana)
    20. Vogue Fabrics (627 W. Roosevelt)
    21. Haus of Reign (1345 S. Michigan)
    22. Flirtatious Lingerie & Clubwear (1317 S. Michigan)
    23. Mobile Station Phone Store (State and Cermak)
    24. Jamaican Jerk Villa (State and Cermak)
    25. Shark's Fish & Chicken (State and Cermak)
    26. Dragon Fire (State and Cermak)
    27. Bacci Pizza Express (Green/Orange CTA Stop at Roosevelt)
    Before we put this to bed, are there anything openings or closings we've missed?  

    While it might be premature to add the 4 businesses that burned down on last day of the year, they're definitely closed and their future status is definitely TBD.  

    You may be wondering why we didn't include The Chicago Firehouse on this list (which similarly was badly damaged in a fire).  They've announced their intentions to rebuild and re-open, so we will give them the benefit of the doubt right now.

    Also, we've officially created the 2015 business counter page, so feel free to head on over their to see what businesses may open in 2015.

    Get Your Sloopin "Hat Tip" T-Shirts!

    A friendly 2015 reminder that the Sloopin "Hat Tip" T-shirts are available for those of you who have recently submitted tips or published posts.   You're now officially eligible to get your t-shirt. If you see your initials below, please send an email to to let us know you're going to go to Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan) to redeem your shirts:
    • SB
    • SC
    • RW
    • MC
    • DN
    • ND
    • KL
    • MM
    • TO
    • MRM
    • JB
    • MW
    If this post doesn't mean anything to you and you're like "Wha?!?!? click here for some background on the Sloopin Hat Tip program. 

    Thanks again for all the tips, photos, suggestions and whatnot. Without you Sloopin wouldn't exist!

    Friday, January 9, 2015

    FOX 32: "Motor Row District Making a Comeback"

    One of the many beautiful buildings in historic Motor Row (via Fox 32 News
    If FOX 32 says it, it must be true:

    FOX 32 News Chicago
    Ok...maybe not the most persuasive video but good to get some citywide press.

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    Update: Republic of Couture at Roosevelt Collection Not Closed Just Has "Winter Hours"

    Just wanted to provide an update on our post form yesterday "Did Republic of Couture Close at Roosevelt Collection?".  The quick answer is no.  Here is an email we received:
    We work with Roosevelt Collection and saw your post. 
    Republic of Couture is not closed—they just have some new winter hours currently. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    We couldn't find much information on the web (it doesn't appear they have a website and their facebook page has no mention of the new hours).

    If you're heading to the store we suggest giving them a call first to ensure they're open.

    CMK Acquires Second Vacant Lot on Chicago River

    Vacant lot on Chicago River just North of Roosevelt (via Crains)
    Is it us or does it feel like CMK Cos. is playing a real life game of Monopoly in the Sloop?

    From Crains:
    After dropping nearly $8 million on one vacant riverside parcel in the South Loop, Chicago residential developer Colin Kihnke is poised to pay triple that for a bigger property next door. 
    A group led by Kihnke has agreed to pay about $26 million for a parcel just north of Roosevelt Road on the east side of the Chicago River, according to people familiar with the transaction. At 5.1 acres, it's one of the largest development sites in greater downtown, with zoning for more than 1,000 homes.

    The acquisition is an aggressive move for Kihnke, one of the city's busiest condominium developers, who just paid $7.8 million for a 1.8-acre lot immediately to the north. It's unclear what Kihnke, president of Chicago-based CMK Cos., plans to build on the two properties—he didn't return calls—but given their location and his skill set, condos or apartments are a good guess.
    While we were curious to see what CMK had in store back in November, our interest has now been piqued.  YoChicago makes a good point in a post on this topic and notes that the city announced plans to build the Wells-Wentworth connector (which we've also posted about) which should provide much better access to these lots.  As they sit now, these lots are some of the most inaccessible in the Sloop.

    Anyway, back to our Monopoly reference.  According to their website, CMK has already developed four buildings in the South Loop (1430 S. Michigan, 1620 S. Michigan, 1720 S. Michigan and 1845 S. Michigan).  They're also in the process of developing 1345 S. Wabash.  Needless to say they clearly are bullish on the area.

    While Michigan Avenue developments have fancy addresses, developing something on the Chicago River seems like it could be a very interesting proposition.

    We're excited to see what they have planned.

    (Hat tip:  SB!)

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    Did Republic of Couture Close at Roosevelt Collection?

    A reader writes:
    The lights were off at Republic of Couture today... Could have been due to the weather, but I've lived across the street from it (Roosevelt Collection) for almost a year and have only seen one person walking out of that store with a bag of purchases...  
    I'm going to bet they are closed.
    As a reminder this store opened at Roosevelt Collection back in July of 2014.

    Could this be the first business closing of 2015?  We will be wrapping up our 2014 business counter soon and launching the 2015 one soon.

    UPDATE:  We received the following update email:
    We work with Roosevelt Collection and saw your post. Republic of Couture is not closed—they just have some new winter hours currently.
    (Hat tip: SC!)

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Nifty Map Outlines Winter/Snow Parking Restrictions in Chicago

    We'll chalk this up to a "better late than never" post, but in case you have questions about winter/snow parking in the neighborhood there is a great map that provides you with an easy visual (courtesy of
    (Hat tip: RW!)

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    24-Story Apartment Building Proposed for 600 S. Clark St.

    Renderings of proposed apartment building at 600 S. Clark (via Curbed Chicago)
    And another apartment tower is proposed (via Crain's):
    Parking Garage where 24-story
    apartment building is being proposed (via Crain's)
    The South Loop has emerged as a crowded place for apartment construction, but a development group is wagering there's still room to build more rentals in the neighborhood.  
    A venture of Dan Moceri, CEO of Schaumburg-based Convergint Technologies, his son Michael, an architect, and Thomas Roszak, who leads his namesake Chicago architecture firm, want to tear down the parking garage at 600 S. Clark St. and build a 24-story, 202-unit apartment building, Michael Moceri said in an email. The garage is owned by a venture of venture of Chicago investor Arthur Holmer.
    If you recall we posted about this trend in one of our 2014 recap posts.

    The moral here is that Clark Street continues to get apartment love.  AMLI recently opened up their second apartment building in the neighborhood at Polk and Clark.  JDL is building a 29 story apartment tower at 1000 S. Clark.

    Seems like a lot of units coming to the neighborhood again.  Hopefully this spells more business for local retailers.

    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    Shots Around the Sloop: Drones Drop Beauty (Not Bombs)

    Our friends at Curbed Chicago recently posted about the beauty that Drone technology can capture.  They have a variety of videos and many of them prominently feature the Sloop.

    We're posting the one below which mainly focuses on the Museum Campus and the Northerly Island area.  Pretty spectacular:

    (Hat tip: MC!)

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    Video Outlines New Concept for Haberdash at Roosevelt Collection

    As posted about here on Sloopin, Haberdash at Roosevelt Collection closed for a bit in 2014 to reboot and renovate their concept.  Well they've since opened and have a new video outlining their vision:

    Doesn't feel terribly different to us, but best of luck to them.

    Thursday, January 1, 2015

    Happy New Year From the Sloopin Crew!

    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!  That is all.