Thursday, April 30, 2015

Public Rooftop Park at New British School of Chicago Showing Serious Signs of Progress

A reader writes:
Wish this was open today! Coming along nicely!

If you need a reminder of what this is intended to look like here is a rendering (from a previous post we did on the topic):
British School of Chicago Rendering looking east (via DNAinfo)

 (Hat tip: JM!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

New Divvy Docking Stations Popping Up in the Sloop

If you recall, we had a post a couple of weeks ago about Divvy's expansion in the Sloop and around Chicago.  Well looks like this most recent phase is well underway.  We had a couple people send us some pictures of the new stations located just west of Dearborn Station (Polk and Federal):

Keep on riding Sloopers, keep on riding...

(Hat tip: MK, TR, DW!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Work on New Roof at Chicago Firehouse Restaurant Begins

A reader writes and sends this picture:
New roof at firehouse. They started today.

As you may recall, the venerable Chicago Firehouse restaurant (1401 S. Michigan) unfortunately and ironically had a massive and damaging fire that severely damaged the entire building.  Almost immediately they announced that they would rebuild, but this looks like a major movement to actually doing that.  Seems positive to us!

(Hat tip:  AK!)

Monday, April 27, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Prepared and Ready

A reader writes:
Emergency preparedness drill at 14th and State on a rainy Saturday morning.
(Hat tip: JN!)

It's Shaping Up to be a Big Sports Week In & Around the Sloop

It was an exciting weekend for Chicago sports, but this upcoming week should prove even more entertaining.  The Blackhawks will open the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs later this week against the Minnesota Wild.  The Bulls seem destined for a major collision with LeBron and his Cavaliers.  Our baseball teams on the North and South sides are still alive in their respective divisions (albeit that's not a very big accomplishment normally, but given the past couple years IT IS!).

But maybe the most exciting unique thing going on this week is that the NFL draft is in Chicago and will finally start this week at Congress and Michigan for three days of football fun (and some major traffic inconveniences)!

If you are a football fan, it should be a pretty interesting event to witness.  You do need tickets for entrance into the actual NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theater (Congress and Wabash), but what you don't need tickets for is pretty much everything else.

New to the draft this year and one of Chicago's main selling points to the NFL is "Draft Town", which will consists of numerous NFL themed things to do (graphic via Chicago Tribune):

Activities at Draft Town will take place on:

  • Thursday, April 30: 4PM - 10PM 
  • Friday, May 1: 4PM - 10PM 
  • Saturday, May 2: 10AM - 7PM
The festivities will also apparently end on Saturday with a free concert at Draft Town by Phillip Phillips.  While he is a talented (yet relatively bland) artist, he did shoot part of a music video in the Sloop - so we automatically give him the benefit of the doubt.

There are a lot of resources and news outlets covering the draft, but in terms of a guide (run down of events, street closures, permitted items, etc), the Chicago Tribune has the best overview we've seen.  You can click here for that info.

Anyway, should be a great sports weekend in and around the Sloop if you're into that type of thing.

(Hat tip:  JP!)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Reminder to Get (and Rock) Your Sloopin "Hat tip" T-shirts

A friendly reminder that the Sloopin "Hat Tip" T-shirts are available for those of you who have recently submitted tips on 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:
  • ER
  • NS
  • DB
  • TM
  • JU
  • LE
  • TL
  • JJ
  • MOR
  • BS
  • KB
  • GM
  • KW
  • CS
  • JR
  • SK
  • PO
  • DN
  • TCG
  • DN
  • SW
  • RW
  • DN
  • CM
  • CG
  • JJ
  • GM
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!

The Sloopin Open House:
The Neighborhood Unicorn - A Single Family Home

The Sloopin Open House is a new weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right?

Single family homes in the Sloop are pretty much nonexistent (hence the title of our post).  Yes, they do exist but are hard to find and seem to be rarely on the market.  Given these factors it usually means they cost a pretty penny.

And with that, our weekly open house post highlights a newly listed $1.5 million single family home at 1417 S. Plymouth Ct (within the Dearborn Park II subdivision).  If you like city living, but need an abundance of space this is probably as good as your going get.  It clocks in at 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms and 10 rooms.  Yup...that's a lot for the Sloop!

While the pictures in the listing are nice, nothing blows our socks off (the kitchen and bathrooms actually look pretty dated).  The MLS listing notes that the house has been designed by Booth Hanson, so if that means something to you take note.

Anyway, if you're looking to see a neighborhood unicorn this weekend head on over to 1417 S. Plymouth Ct on Sunday (4/26) from 12:30 to 2:30pm.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Owner of Saca Tash Boutique Passes Away

A reader writes:
Not sure if this was mentioned. There's a note on the door of the boutique at 15/state that the owner has passed and what the funeral arrangements are. I had noticed there wasn't any activity for a bit and now they have a sign in the window.
Sorry to hear this.  Condolences to the family from the Sloopin team.

(Hat tip:  CDL!)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Nice Reminder From Some Local Kids on Earth Day

A reader writes and sends us some photos they captured yesterday on Earth Day:
These are posted on Cullerton between Michigan and wabash. A nice reminder for our neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  SA!)  

La Haven Coffee Officially Open at 1240 S. Michigan

In case you're walking down Michigan Avenue today and need a coffee fix, it looks like La Haven Coffee is officially open at 1240 S. Michigan (former Crave Cafe space):
If an open sign on the window and lights on is still not proof enough for you a reader posted this comment yesterday on our original post about this coffee shop:
They are open!! Finally good coffee in our neighborhood. Did I mention they are selling drinks at $1 for a limited time. Staff seemed friendly. Even asked for feedback on the taste of the coffee.
From what we can tell, they're an independent coffee shop (as mentioned in a post by Eater Chicago):
They aren't run by La Columbe but they will serve its coffee. 
We're looking forward to trying them out.  Welcome to the Sloop!

And the business counter has been updated.

(Hat tip:  ER!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

An Interactive Look at Zoning in the Sloop

You know we love interactive maps here at Sloopin and yesterday stumbled upon one that details city zoning (via the website

While most things are relatively predictable in relation to the Sloop, one thing that we found strange was that the swath of blue in Grant Park where the uncovered train tracks currently run.  Apparently this is zoned DX-16:

In case you're having a hard time reading the image above DX-16 is described as:
Downtown high-rises - offices or apartments - with ground-floor stores. Prevalent on the edges of Loop: east of Dearborn Ave, in River North, the South Loop, and the West Loop.
While we doubt we would see a high-rise go in here, it still seems strange.  Do we have any zoning aficionados who have some perspective on this?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

611 Eatery Going to be Open 7 Days a Week for 24 Hours?

As an update to our post last week about 611 Eatery opening at 611 S. Wells, a reader writes:
Exciting news on 611eatery in the South Loop. As a resident of the Vetro building I noticed more banners being put up on Wells St. side today and was able to speak to owner Mr. Lam. He is hoping to open June 2015. The restaurant will have 6 different stations (featuring an oyster bar), offering a variety of upscale food choices. 
The name "eatery" is meant to invite customers to a place where many taste buds would be satisfied at a reasonable price. Their website should be up in 2 weeks time. 611eatery will be open 7 days a week/24 hours!! For those that can't walk over can find FREE parking at Buddy's Parking lot located at 650 S. Financial Place. There will be 50 parking spaces reserved for 611eatery customers. I'm excited and can't wait to try this new restaurant!

Hmmmm....those hours seem a little aggressive to us.  You don't hear of many "upscale" places that are open 24 hours (outside of Vegas).  This should be interesting.

(Hat tip:  NS!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Carters and Golfsmith Open on Roosevelt Road

Two major national retailers are officially open on Roosevelt Road.

First off, Carter's has opened at Roosevelt Collection (150 W. Roosevelt).  The popular baby and kids
indoor putting green at Golfsmith (not the South Loop store)
clothes store has a pretty good reputation (from what we've heard) and given the amount of strollers we notice around the neighborhood it makes sense that they've opened up shop.

Second, just in time for golf season, Golfsmith has opened up at 627 w. Roosevelt.  The space they're at is 14,000 sq feet which seems like a big store for a specialty retailer.  However, if you're a golfer you're probably pretty happy about them coming to the neighborhood.

Anyway, good to see some more businesses opening up in the Sloop!

Business counter is updated.

(Hat tip: DB & TM!)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
Exposed Brick, Lots of Windows and Mucho Mucho Space!

The Sloopin Open House is a new weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right?

This weekend, a 2bed/2bath unit at 1631 S. Michigan has caught our eye.  We've looked in this building before and have always admired the spacious layouts it offered.

While it's listed on the higher end of the 300's ($385K to be exact), it does provide exposed brick, an abundance of windows and generally speaking a lot of space.  If this sounds appealing to you, it's probably worth a visit to this unit.  According to the web, they are hosting an open house on Saturday (4/18) and Sunday (4/19) from 1-3pm.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Beware of "Canine Cough" if You're a Slooper with a Dog

Image from DNAinfo
Although this is slightly old news, we wanted to provide a link to what a reader wrote us about:
Since a lot of Sloop residents are dog owners, maybe you should warn them about the Kennel Cough epidemic going around town. Thanks:
In recent weeks we have seen a large number of coughing dogs here in Chicago. Most of the affected dogs have a history of frequenting day care, boarding facilities, and dog parks. At this time I recommend avoiding these facilities to help protect your dog, even if he/she has been vaccinated for “canine cough.” Why isn’t vaccination sufficient protection? Let me explain a little about canine cough.
"Canine cough” (also called “kennel cough”) is a broad term to describe infectious tracheobronchitis. This highly contagious condition results in inflammation of the trachea and bronchus. Many viruses and bacteria can result in canine cough. Currently the intra-nasal vaccine recommended for dogs here at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic covers the three most common causes of canine cough: Bordetella (bacteria), Parainfluenza (virus), and Adenovirus (virus).
Due to the outbreak I recommend avoiding any direct dog-to-dog contact and vaccinating dogs at high risk, such as those that attend day care, boarding, grooming, or dog parks and dogs that live in high rises. Although the vaccine does not 100% prevent infection, it should reduce the number of affected dogs. The canine influenza virus can survive 48 hours on hard surfaces and 24 hours on clothing, thus it is very important to be cautious in elevators, hallways, and dog relief stations. 
(Hat tip: LE!)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CMK Companies Begins Work at 1333 S. Wabash

A reader writes:
Thought you would like to know that bulldozers were busy excavating at 1333 Wabash, next to the condo under construction at 1345 Wabash. I believe they started today (April 1st)…definitely didn’t start last week.

As you may recall (and can see in the pics above) CMK properties is well underway on their 1345 S. Wabash building.  Just to the north is going to be a taller building at 1333 S. Wabash (28 stories) that they've just begun to excavate per the picture above and email from the reader.

Below is a rendering of how the final tower will look:

CMK has been one of the more prolific developers in the neigborhood and looks to continue to be.  As you may recall they recently acquired various lots along the Chicago River just north of Roosevelt.

(Hat tip: TL!)

Signs Go Up for 611 Eatery at Vetro Condo Building

611 Eatery looks to be coming to Vetro Condo Building (611 S. Wells)
A reader writes:
This signage just went up at the Vetro condo building at 611 S. Wells. The website on the sign doesn't seem to be up, and I don't know anything else about it. Maybe another reader has. 
The space, at Wells and Harrison, has been empty since the building opened, so it would be nice to have something there.
If the pictures in the windows are true, this could be a great restaurant and a great addition to the Sloop:

Does anyone have any additional info on the spot?

(Hat tip:  JJ, MOR, BS, KB!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mountain Dew Skate Tour to Launch Season in Grant Park

Image from grand opening of Grant Park skate park
(via DNAinfo)
We had our doubts about the new skate park on the south end of Grant Park, but in our opinion it's been a nice and unique addition to the neighborhood.  We've had a couple fun walks where we've stopped at the park and spent time admiring the skills that these kids (and some adults) showcase.

That's why we were surprised and excited to see this news yesterday come through on DNAinfo:
The Dew Tour, a nationally televised skate and BMX biking competition, is set to kick off its 2015 season June 20-21 at the new $2.7-million Grant Park Skate Park, said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy. The tour, which will be broadcast on NBC, would be the first major event for the skate park since it opened in December.
Even if this might not be your cup of tea, it's another event that brings more people to the neighborhood and ultimately supports our local businesses.  It will also probably be a nice way to showcase our beautiful city and skyline to a national audience.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing this event and some of the craziness that the "pros" will bring to this new park.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Brick-Paver Crosswalk and Street Re-Striping Coming to Dearborn/Polk Intersection

A reader writes:
As a frequent user (as pedestrian and driver) of the Dearborn+Polk intersection, I have looked forward to painted cross walks and lane lines ever since repaving happened last fall. Today I got this update from Dean Argiris in Ald. Fioretti's office that explains the situation. I thought your readers might be interested. I personally am looking forward to the brick-paver crosswalks. 
Last year our office funded the installation of brick-paver crosswalks at Polk/Dearborn. These are high visibility crosswalks that are safer as motorists can see them from farther. They are scheduled to be installed sometime this year, CDOT should circle back to us with a time frame.  
As for the street re-striping, I believe this was put on hold because there was a small stretch of Polk that remained to be completed. Last I was informed, there is some underground utility work expected to be done and when that is completed, they will resurface that section and do a complete lane marking.  
Once I get the time frame for those projects, I will let you know. In the meantime, ... I have asked CDOT to throw down some temporary markings.
(Hat tip: GM!)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Is Today the Day the 18 Street Bridge Reopens?

A reader writes:
I've been interested in status updates regarding the 18th street bridge and found the info below on the city's transportation website. Here's to hoping they hold true to the 4/13 end date for the closure. It's legitimately been a long road.

We were looking around on the interwebs to see if there was an update, but couldn't find much.  Does anyone know if this is complete and open?  Let us know.

If so, this should help relieve some of the traffic issues in the Sloop (or at least on paper should help).

(Hat tip:  KW!)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shots Around the Sloop: See You Around

A reader writes:
Good morning - I saw this on my walk to the train this morning. It's dated from yesterday (Tuesday). Any idea what it's for? Southwest corner of Archer and Clark on the walls of the metra train rails.
(Hat tip:  CS!)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
The Rare 4 Bedroom Duplex

The Sloopin Open House is a new weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right?
There aren't a ton of 4 bedroom units in the Sloop, so we slightly felt like we were looking at a real estate unicorn when perusing the open houses for this week.  This 4bd/3bth unit at 1530 S. State is in in a building that we've always liked.

This building has some of the best northern views of the city in the neighborhood, but this unit appears to face south.  It also looks like it has some "soft loft" bedrooms, which we know some people aren't huge fans of.  However, these small negatives should be easily overlooked given the awesome living space, the huge open living room with high ceilings and 22ft terrace - pretty sweet if you ask us.

Anyway, if this unit looks interesting to you, they're hosting an open house on Sunday (4/12) from noon to 2pm.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Shots Around the Sloop: April (Lightning) Showers

(Hat tip: JR!)

Mailboxes Come back to Printers Row

A reader writes:
Just as mysteriously as they disappeared, several South Loop mailboxes have reappeared! The boxes at the corner of Plymouth & Polk and Dearborn & Harrison have been returned. However, the one that was in front of Sandmeyer's Bookstore is still MIA. So happy to have them back because going to the post office was often a hassle during the winter months.
If you recall, this was a topic discussed on the Sloopin message board recently.

A reader gave this background as to why they might have been removed:
From the horse's mouth, or to say the nice guy who runs the UPS store at Polk & Dearborn, the City took out three boxes, Polk & Plymouth Ct, 700 S Dearborn, and Dearborn & Harrison when there were protesters in town, and at the time it was anticipated that Polk & Dearborn was their parade route. Turned out not to be, I do not recall even which desent it was attributed to, but for sure the boxes did not return.  
There are still boxes to west on Clark Street, and even one to the south on 1000 S Plymouth Ct., so I assume business and post office policy has not changed. We just lost our boxes. Funny how the City can take out all those unused newspaper boxes for the same event and return them, but not my mail box!!
(Hat tip: SK!)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Church of Scientology's Proposed Location at 650 S. Clark Making its Way Through the Legal System

It's been awhile (back in 2010) since we've heard about the Church of Scientology's plans to open up a new facility at 650 S. Clark (via Timeout Chicago):
The new HBO documentary Going Clear has put Scientology at the center of the national conversation. The church is huge in Los Angeles, and the notion of the religion being active in Chicago seems alien (pun intended) to most locals.  
There is already a Scientology church here, a rundown location in Lakeview with the sign "Hubbard Dianetics Foundation." The church is also in the process of opening another, grander location in Printers Row at 650 S Clark St. The city filed a $2,000 housing complaint against the owners of the location in 2013, which is still making its way through the system. The church is being represented in the matter by local law firm Pedersen & Houpt.
We just finished the Going Clear documentary on HBO and definitely makes you question the origins and acts of the Church.  However, we live in a city and in a relatively diverse neighborhood so will respect their rights and their beliefs.

South Clark has seen a lot of development lately ranging from rental buildings, condos, bars and restaurants.  Looks like you can add a controversial religion to the changing face of South Clark.

(Hat tip:  PO!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Harvey Stop By For "Coffee" at Manny's

The internet is full of great things and one of our favorites is Jerry Seinfeld's web series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."  If you're not familiar with the show, we HIGHLY suggest watching it (we love Larry David and as expected, his segment on the show with Seinfeld is awesome!).

Anyway, why are we talking about it on Sloopin you may ask?  Well Seinfeld and Chicago funny man Steve Harvey recently filmed a segment at the South Loop's iconic Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli (via Eater Chicago).  One can only assume they will have some good observations and things to say about Manny's.

While it has not been announced when this will air, whenever it does it should be fun.  While some of Harvey's schtick is a little predictable at this stage of his career, he is genuinely a funny dude (does anyone remember his standup in the Original Kings of Comedy tour?).

We will keep you posted on when this show airs, but in the meantime do yourself a favor and watch this web series.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

City and Sloop Getting More Divvy Bikes and Stations

The Red Eye had a recent article talking about the expansion of the Divvy bike sharing program.  This also includes some new stations (as seen on the map).  

The new locations in the Sloop are at:
  • Cabrini and Clinton
  • Canal and Taylor
  • Financial and Harrison
  • Dearborn Station
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • Field Museum
  • 21st and Cullerton
  • South China Place (just north of Archer and Cermak intersection in Chinatown)

This expansion will double the programs current footprint:
More Divvy bikes and stations are going to be installed beginning in April, doubling the footprint of Chicago's bike-share program yet falling short of covering the entire city. 
The addition of 176 stations and 1,750 bikes will extend Divvy's reach south to 75th Street in South Shore, north to Touhy Avenue in Rogers Park and west to Pulaski Road in Little Village and Avondale. The installation is expected to be completed by early summer, according to city officials.  
Divvy will be doubling its service area from covering 19 percent of the city's geographic area to more than 38 percent of the city's geographic area under the expansion, said Sean Wiedel, assistant commissioner in the city's department of transportation, at the recent Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council meeting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Where to Watch the Badgers in the NCAA Championship Tonight

We've talked about good times we've had at Kroll's (18th and Michigan) watching the NCAA tournament in the past and if you're looking to watch the championship game tonight, we'd suggest heading over there tonight.

The Tribune actually had an article about Chicago rooting for Wisconsin tonight and gave a shout out to Kroll's:
Kroll's a great place to watch the NCAA Tournament
In the Chicago area, excitement for the Badgers goes well beyond the cardinal-and-white-donning Wisconsin alumni and even beyond basketball fans, according to Danielle Nicholas, assistant general manager at Kroll's South Loop, which hosted about 200 people during Saturday night's semifinal.  
"A bunch of staff members who have never watched basketball are getting incredibly excited about basketball," Nicholas said. "You find yourself weirdly rooting for this team you have no affiliation with."
Should be a good and fun game tonight!

South Loop Cafe Apparently Opening at 2336 S. Wabash

A reader writes:
Spotted this new cafe buildout happening at 2336 S Wabash, opposite the Wabash Club Townhomes development.  
Looks pretty far along with furniture in, the counter in place, and what looks to be a patio out front.

It'll be a good addition to this part of the Sloop as right now there are no cafe options in area. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, spurred on by the new El station and the development commitments the city has for the immediate area.  
Here's hoping they do a good breakfast at the weekend....I'm tired of having to wait 45 mins for a table at the usual Sloop suspects!
Seems a little generous to call a place at 2336 S. Wabash the "South Loop", but we won't hold that against them (although we imagine many might).  As most of you probably know there isn't a ton of activity south of Cermak yet, but this is a good sign.

It seems like business owners are starting to understand that the city is really investing in this area (see Cermak CTA stop and DePaul Arena).  Only time will tell if we've reached the tipping point on the greater Motor Row area.

(Hat tip: DN!)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Sloopin Open House: The Million Dollar View

The Sloopin Open House is a new weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right?

The South Loop is home to some of the best views in the city of Chicago and if you need evidence just look at the picture above.  While the interior looks nice, the view is simply to die for.  The Grant (1201 S. Prairie) is one of the newer high-rises in the Sloop and literally sits on the south end of iconic Grant Park.

The unit above is a 2bd/2bth + den model and comes in at 1,700-square-feet.  It features a private balcony as well as top-of-the-line appliances and finishes. If that's not interesting enough, the building has a full suite of amenities, including a state-of-the-art fitness center with indoor pool, hot tub and his and hers locker rooms; a private screening room; and a reservable entertainment suite with catering kitchen.

While all this is nice, it does come at a price.  Current pricing for the unit above is $949,000 to $999,000. They also have other units that are less and more expensive for sale.  Regardless of whether or not your in the market, it's worth a trip to check them out.  They are holding open houses every Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m.

We checked one out last weekend and all we can say is it must be nice to live this way.