Sunday, May 31, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Adler Circles

Thomas Campone also has an awesome video that he's working on.  Here is some shots (which includes some great shots of what the new Northerly Island will look like eventually):

If you like his work you can also follow him at Facebook, Instagram or his website.
(Hat tip: TC!)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Yup! It's time to Get Your Sloopin "Hat tip" T-shirt

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:
  • KP
  • JP
  • JN
  • AK
  • MK
  • TR
  • DW
  • JM
  • JB
  • DW
  • JG
  • BH
  • SS
  • JY
  • LK
  • MLW
  • HH
  • LG
  • JN
  • JY
  • PO
  • BZ
  • DL
  • Aweb
  • TB
  • JM
  • KM
  • JB
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:
1 Bedroom + Den Duplex on Wabash

The Sloopin Open House is a 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 week an open house at 1334 S. Wabash caught our eye (unit A).  We've probably walked by these 4-story buildings a ten thousand times and always was curious to understand how they were setup.

If you're like us and intrigued by the setup, then this open house might be worth a visit to.  The unit hosting the open house is a 1 bedroom + 1 den (which is listed as a potential extra bedroom) with 1 full and 1 half bathroom.

The unit looks like it's in nice shape, but seems relatively straightforward.

One feature that some people really gravitate to is duplex living and that is one thing that makes this unit standout.  It looks as if the first floor has a kitchen and small dining room that opens up to a small patio that faces Wabash.  Up the stairs is a living room with fireplace (nice touch), a den (or bedroom if you want to call it that) that then leads into the master bedroom and bath.
Dinning room that opens to patio facing Wabash
The unit is priced at $339K and includes garage parking.  If this seems interesting to you, head on over today from 10:30 to 11:30am.

One other thing to note is that it's pretty close to the El.  It faces away from it, but if you're a light sleeper you may want to pay attention to this characteristic of the unit.

Friday, May 29, 2015

New Dunkin Donuts to Move Into Roosevelt El Retail Space

A reader writes:
I noticed the attached today in the window of the former pizza place at the Roosevelt green/orange station this morning. There were a couple of guys in the space as well.

While it may not be the most interesting thing we could dream of, it probably is the most practical business to come into the space.  If you will recall, this space was originally Butterfield Kitchen, which was a local upscale breakfast and lunch space.  While in theory this seemed like a good fit for the neighborhood it probably wasn't the best location for this concept.

After that closed, Bacci Pizza, the popular home of the gigantic slice of pizza, opened up shop but faced a similar fate.

Clearly Dunkin Donuts has a proven business model, so we imagine they will likely succeed in this location.

In other business news that may have been negatively affected by its proximity to this CTA stop, we recently reported that Jersey Mike's closed up shop at 26 E. Roosevelt.  Dennis McClendon commented on the post that a 7-11 is actually taking over the space.  Again, maybe not the most sexy retailer we could dream up, but probably a pretty logical one that will probably do well at this location.

What do you think?  Two proven gigantic companies moving into these locations - good or bad?  Or whatever, this is a stupid thing to be discussing?

(Hat tip:  JB!)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chicago Magazine Checks in at Spoke & Bird

The patio at Spoke & Bird
Some nice pub for the new restaurant Spoke & Bird (via Chicago Magazine):
There is a lot going on inside Spoke & Bird (205 E. 18th St., 805-703-4081) but while the array of sandwiches, pies, and lattes are all tasty diversions, you can and should focus your attentions on one thing: Their large and lovely beer garden, which, with its wide open spaces and wrought-iron seating, feels like it could have been imported from a far more outdoorsy city. 
It’s an ideal place to set up shop for an afternoon (or evening–though the spot technically closes around dinnertime, when the weather’s nice on the weekends, they’ll stay open as long as people want to hang out) and sip on something local–the draft list prioritizes places such as the South Loop Brewing Company and Pollyanna Brewing Company. Even better, it’s cyclist-friendly: Co-owners Scott Golas and Alicia Bird are both on Chicago’s XXX-Athletico Racing Team, and there’s bike-related paraphernalia scattered throughout the spot.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fred Anderson Park Grand Opening Celebration Sunday, May 31st at 1pm

The Fred Anderson Park has been open for use since late last year, but the official grand opening is apparently this weekend.  A reader writes:
Members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) will perform live on the Fred Anderson Park Stage during the official GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION for this new Chicago Park District Park named in honor of Chicago’s beloved musician, mentor and composer Fred Anderson.
The program will feature the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble conducted by Mwata Bowden. Hamid Drake and Joshua Abrams will open the concert with a duet (frame drum and guimbri).
Parking and food will be available at a modest cost from True Rock Ministries.
Please join in the celebration!
1 p.m. Sunday, May, 31, 2015
Fred Anderson Park
1611 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60616

For those interested in Mr. Anderson, the Chicago Tribune has a good read:
Anderson "was one of the Chicago's most creative, acclaimed and beloved musicians," reads the park's plaque, which features musical notation for a few bars of Anderson's tune "The Strut." "Inspired by Charlie Parker's music, Anderson developed his own unique method of playing jazz. As an original member of Chicago's world-renowned Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, he performed in the first AACM concert in 1965."

For some musical enjoyment here is a video of Fred doing what he does:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Villains Officially Reopens on South Clark

There have been a couple false starts on the opening of the new Villain's (730 S. Clark), but it appears that the doors are finally open.

We received a variety of emails from excited readers as well as noticed that the official announcement was made on the Villain's facebook page.  

And frankly the wait has probably been worth it!  While we liked the dark dungeon feeling of the old Villains, the new location's is open, airy and industrial:

For those newer to the Sloop, Villains was one of our favorite bar/restaurants, but lost their lease back in late 2012 after some issues with their landlord.  The space at 649 S. Clark eventually became the bar/restaurant First Draft.

Welcome back Villains and thanks for calling the Sloop home.  Business counter updated!

(Hat tip: JM & KM!)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
Living at The Historic Trevi Square

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?
Trevi Square at 1439 S. Michigan is one of our favorite buildings in the Sloop.  For those who are into the historic thing, the building used to be Saint Lukes Hospital and actually is on the US National Registry of Historic Places.

We've seen a lot of units in the building and each one seems to have a relatively unique layout and feel.  Today, we noticed that there is an open house for a 1 bed, 1 bathroom unit from 11-1pm.  The unit seems to be in nice shape and have some nice finishes (we liked the backsplash in the bathroom).

The unit is priced at $315K which seems a little high for similar space in the neighborhood, but then again this is one of the more sought after buildings in the Sloop.  Regardless, if you're in the market it may be good to stop on by and see what this building looks like.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mark for Your Calendar for this Seasons Movies in the Park

Ahhhhhhhhh spring!  With this lovely time of year also comes some lovely outdoor activities.  We'll be doing our best to capture these so you are aware and can take advantage.

First up, it came to our attention that DNAinfo has a lovely interactive map showcasing all the "Movies in the Park".  We'll let you play around with it yourself, but did want to call out the dates and movies for the two parks in the South Loop that will be partaking in the program:
Daniel Webster Park 1357 S. Indiana Ave.
July 21: Paddington
Aug. 11: The Princess Bride 
Chicago Women's Park & Gardens 1801 S. Indiana Ave.
July 28: Big Hero 6
Aug. 27: The Incredibles
We loved The Icredibles and have heard some glowing reviews for Big Hero 6:

Millennium Park also has numerous showings and while it's not in the Sloop it's damn close.

Moral of the story is to mark your calendars and take advantage of these fun events in the parks.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Some South Loop Public Art Registers in Curbed Chicago's Most Iconic List

We like maps and we like lists.  That's why we liked reading a recent post on Curbed Chicago that lists out downtown Chicago's most iconic pieces of public art.  While it might not be the most surprising list, our fair neighborhood had two specific pieces that registered on the list:
Head south of Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain and you'll find yourself standing face to face with Union Army General John Logan. The tall bronze statute was completed in 1897 and remains a powerful monument to Logan's role as a general in the Civil War and later as an Illinois State Senator, a U.S. Congressman, and a U.S. Senator 
#20: AGORA
Tucked away on the far south end of Grant Park is a series of nine-foot tall bronze, steel, and iron torsos. The 106 sculptures were designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz and installed in Grant Park in 2006.
In our opinion Buckingham fountain is also in the Sloop, so we will lay claim to that also which registers in at #6 (although in our book it's probably #1 or #2 with the Bean if we're ranking them as most iconic).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tall and Strange Bus Stops Erected at Roosevelt El Stop?

The Roosevelt Road streetscape improvement work is still in full swing.  We're excited to see what the finished product will look like, but until then it hasn't been super smooth.  Yesterday we posted about some spelling issues with some of the pavers and benches.

Today a reader sends us a photo of some massive structures that have been installed on the south and north sides of the Roosevelt CTA stop:

While we're not 100% sure what these are, our guess is that these structures are two fold:

  1. It looks like it's forming a shelter, so we think it might be a bus shelter of some variety.
  2. We also are pretty sure these will be "neighborhood signage" which is something we read about during this project.  As you can see in the rendering below, there are some huge yellow structure that resemble what is currently being built:

Can anyone confirm what these are?  Or have seen renderings of what the finished product will look like?

(Hat tip:  TB!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Celebrate Craft Beer Week with Three South Loop Breweries at Flo & Santos Tomorrow (5/20)

A fun and what we would expect to be a delicious time (click here for ticket info):

Spellcheck Alert!
Words on New Roosevelt Rd Bench & Pavers Have Errors

The word Jupiter is misspelled on a granite paver installed on the new Roosevelt Road pedestrian pathway project in the Loop. (via Redeye)
We all make mistakes.  Here a Sloopin we occasionally misspell wurds words.  At least we have the ability to update our digital content relatively easy.

Unfortunately that wasn't the case for some of CDOT's recent work on Roosevelt (via Redeye):
Looks like someone forgot to press the spellcheck button. Two words—Jupiter and Cassiopeia— were misspelled on public art installations that went up on a new Roosevelt Road pedestrian pathway in the Loop, and now the Chicago Department of Transportation, which commissioned the project, is busy trying to fix the problem.
On one of the granite pavers, the word Jupiter appears as "Jupitor." Words are sandblasted into the granite pavers.
On one of the benches, Cassiopeia—a constellation—is spelled "Cassiopedia." Words are either sandblasted or cut into the benches.
The benches and granite pavers cost approximately $4,000 and $180-$300, respectively, said landscape architect Jane Chen of Altamanu Inc., the firm hired to design the project.
The word Jupiter was misspelled on original construction documents obtained by RedEye from project designer Krivanek. But the word Cassiopeia, which appears both on pavers and on one of the benches, was spelled correctly, signaling a problem during fabrication.
The good news is that this apparently won't cost the city anything to fix (except maybe pride).
The word Cassiopeia is misspelled on a new bench installed on the new Roosevelt Road pedestrian pathway project in the Loop. (Lenny Gilmore / RedEye)
(Hat tip: Aweb!)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Big Developers Place Bets on Huge South Loop Projects

Last week was quite the real estate week here at Sloopin with two announcements of potential massive developments.  Early in the week it was announced that local developer CMK Co. had inked a joint venture deal on a huge $1.5 Billion development plan along the the Chicago River north of Roosevelt.

While there was speculation and excitement when they did their land grab earlier this year, this was the most concrete news.  A day after the joint venture was announced, they also let it be known who was going to be the master architect for the 10-year project (via
Ralph Johnson, the prolific Chicago architect behind such familiar buildings as the Boeing headquarters, the Skybridge condominium tower in the West Loop and the Rush University Medical Center that overlooks the Eisenhower Expressway, will master-plan a 13-acre project on the South Branch of the Chicago River.
We weren't familiar with Mr. Johnson, but do like the Rush University Medical Center and that project.
South Loop Construction Maps via Crains

If that wasn't big enough news, the real bombshell came when this doozy of a project was announced (via Crain's):
Residential developer Related Midwest is moving in on one of the biggest vacant tracts of land in the city, 62 acres in the South Loop once controlled by now-imprisoned power broker Antoin “Tony” Rezko.  
Chicago-based Related Midwest, one of the busiest developers in the city, has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with the property's owner that would develop the site, which stretches a half-mile south from Roosevelt Road to Chinatown along the Chicago River, according to people familiar with the transaction.  
The parcel is big enough for a project that could include several thousand homes and a major shopping center along Roosevelt, the South Loop's main retail strip. Rezko's Chicago-based development firm, Rezmar, unveiled ambitious plans for the tract about a decade ago but failed to get a project going and eventually sold the property a decade ago to its current owner, General Mediterranean Holding, a Luxembourg conglomerate.
While this presumably has a long way to go still, Related Midwest (and for that matter Related Properties) is probably one of a handful of US developers who actually has the experience to pull off a development of this magnitude.

If you don't believe us just read this fascinating story about Stephen Ross, a midwestern born lawyer turned billionaire real estate developer (among other things), who founded Related Properties and is currently in the process of developing New York's $12 Billion Hudson Yards project.

The news of the deal for the "Rezko property" is just one of a slew of Chicago projects that Related has recently had its hands on.  As some Sloopers may remember, this is the company that decided to double down on the neighborhood and buy up 500+ condos in three South Loop towers during the housing bust.  It appears that the bet paid off as last week there was an article in Crain's saying that they've pretty much sold all of those units.

And while the 62-acre south loop land has a lot of transformative potential for the neighborhood and city, it probably wouldn't even be the companies most high-profile project in Chicago.

If you recall, Related Midwest now owns the land at 400 N Lake Shore, home to the amazingly ambitious but now defunct Chicago Spire project.

The moral of the story is that the South Loop real estate development market appears to be red hot again.  Hopefully this round doesn't end up like 2008.

What do you think about all of this?  Good?  Bad?  Scary?  Impossible to really know?

(Hat tip: PO, BZ, DL!)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
What A $2 Million South Loop Condo Looks Like

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?
Ok.  So $2 Million is probably out of your price range (it is ours), but hey we've said it before and we will say it again - it's fun to look.

If that sounds intriguing to you, then head on over this Sunday (5/17) from noon to 2pm to Museum Park One (1211 S. Prairie Ave.).  This 3 bedroom / 3 bathroom unit is deluxe (even if the decor isn't that stylish)!  But let's be honest, you're really paying for the views at this place.  Essentially you have amazing and different views out of any and every window.

Anyway, you're probably not going to buy this place, but the doors are open this Sunday so stop on by.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A South Loop Squirrel Story

A reader writes:
The story of saving six baby squirrels from Cottontail Park in the South Loop this past weekend.

Pretty interesting and strange video.  We now know what a "rat king" is and it's not pretty:
(Hat tip:  JN!)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Akhirah's Praline, Candy, Beignets & Coffee Shop Coming to New Retail Space at 1845 S. State

A reader writes:
I live in the south loop and was walking my dog the other day, and noticed this sign at 1845 S State:
We did some quick digging on the interwebs and couldn't find much, however our sweet tooth is already excited about this new addition to the neighborhood.  Pralines, candy, beignets and coffee sounds good to us.

Anyone have any info?

(Hat tip:  HH & LG!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

212 Handcrafted, Pink Bunny Slippers Installed on Agora Statues in Honor of Mother's Day

Love them or hate them, the Agora statues at the southwest corner of Grant Park (Roosevelt and State) are pretty impactful.  And that's why it's surprising to see the picture above.  A reader wrote us with more of the background on a pretty cool "MomBomb" act that happened this past weekend in honor of Mother's Day:
On Saturday, May 9, 2015 @ 6:00 am, Team Agora installed 212 handcrafted, pink bunny slippers on the feet of the Agora statues in Grant Park (at Roosevelt and Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL.)  
This “Leave No Trace” MomBomb - YarnBomb event was created by a team of 35 knitters, from 15 states, using more than 250 pounds of yarn, and working more than 2,000 hours over the course of the past 5 months. The slippers will offer Agora a much needed rest.  
“This action is intended as a gesture of respect and appreciation for this marvelous sculpture by Magdalena Abakanowicz, and what it represents. We hope the slippers will offer Agora well-deserved rest." Team Agora  
May 9, 2015 - May 17, 2015  
Goodnight Agora,  
We’ve come to offer you rest. A deep, beautiful rest, so that you can rise again and continue your work. You came here to teach us. To make us remember what it is to feel small, without power, overwhelmed by the weight of oppression. You teach us to meet oppression by looking up and standing tall against it. You insist we amplify the voices of those not seen or heard. You remind us to remember our humanity and to love each other. We are humbled and strengthened by your presence.

Happy Mother’s Day, Agora. We know who you are and we thank you.  Happy Mother’s Day to ALL who mother. 
Team Agora

Nicely done ladies.  Nicely done!

(Hat tip:  MLW!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

CMK Confirms Joint Venture to Develop $1.5 Billion Project on the Chicago River

A view of one of the empty lots that CMK bought next to the Chicago River - looking north from Roosevelt
Some big development (and big money) news has been buzzing around the interwebs recently.

First off, on Thursday last week Chicago Real Estate Dailey had a blurb about a business agreement to development a large swath of prime South Loop land:
Australian construction giant Lend Lease Group confirmed that it has entered into a joint venture with Chicago-based developer CMK to develop 13 acres of land in the South Loop along the Chicago River. The $1.5 billion development will include apartments, condominiums, retail and commercial space and community facilities, Lend Lease said in a statement. The site, which runs on the east side of the river from Harrison Street south to Roosevelt Road, will be developed over 10 years, the statement said. The venture aims to file plans with the city “over the coming months” and break ground in early 2016, according to the statement.
We've spent some serious (digital) ink on this website talking about CMK's recent land grab along the Chicago river.  While they've shown that they can develop properties, a project of this magnitude requires some help which is why bringing on Lend Lease makes a lot of sense.

The same story was featured on the Chicago Architecture Blog yesterday and provided more information on the city's "River South" TIF district.  In the article, they seem to suggest that the CMK/Lend Lease Group are also developing the huge piece of land south of Roosevelt between the the river and Clark (aka the Rezko Land).
Wells/Wentworth Connector Plan
While this may be the case, this is the first we've heard of this and would assume it would have received more "mainstream" news.

Before the lot south of Roosevelt is developed, the city needs to provide some infrastructure to this urban wasteland (which has been coined the Wells/Wentworth Connector project by the city).

Anyway, the point of this post is that more news has emerged on CMK's intentions for their land along the Chicago River.  Seems ambitious, but looking forward to seeing what they have in the works.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jersey Mike's - Closed Permanently or Remodeling?

It would appear that the Sloop has spoken and they don't like sandwiches from New Jersey.  A reader writes:
I would assume that your logo wouldn't come off your building if you're just remodeling.

We tend to agree with this reader.  Seems strange that they would remove the sign if they were really renovating.

If we had to guess, they're going to try out a new franchise (which is probably a good thing).

Unless someone knows something, we are going to chalk this up to being closed and will update the business counter accordingly.  

Hope something new is opening and here is to hoping it's something good!

(Hat tip: JG, BH, SS, JY, LK!)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
That's An Interesting Ceiling

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?
If you look at real estate listings often, units easily start blurring together.   Oh there is a bedroom...oh and a bathroom...oh and it has a nice kitchen....all day long...

While those attributes are consistent with this week's Sloopin open house feature, the ceiling of this particular unit stood out to us.  According to the MLS listing it's made of "terra cotta ceiling tiles".

It definitely is unique and made us do a double take to find out more information.  Looking beyond that, the unit looks to be in great shape and has nice finishes:
Anyway, if you're looking for a condo with some character then maybe you should head down 120 E. Cullerton Street on Sunday (5/10) from 10:30am to Noon to checkout this open house.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Two More Businesses Opening Up in the Sloop: Webpass, Inc. & Restaurant Solutions, Inc.

Wanted to share some news about two new businesses that are coming to the Sloop.

First off, we recently receive an email from Webpass, Inc. (who is an Internet Service Provider) letting us know they are opening up 2130 S. Michigan:
2130 S. Michigan - soon to be occupied by Webpass, Inc. 
We plan to open late this Summer. Ideally we'd move in towards the end of July but it really depends on when construction is completed. 

The reason why they chose the Sloop?
One of them being the location. It's commuter friendly which is important since many of our employees live outside of Chicago proper and we really needed a space that was both industrial and office. Another added benefit was the owners of the building were also able to handle our build out so we were able to bid on the work at the same time we were bidding on the property. We also feel that South Loop in on the rise and we want to be a part of watching the neighborhood unfold and gain additional popularity from residents and businesses.

In other business news, Restaurant Solutions, Inc is apparently opening up at 1811 S. Wabash according to a press release we read:
Restaurant Solutions, Inc. (RSI) will be opening its third office at 1811 S. Wabash Ave. in the redeveloped historical district of the South Loop in downtown Chicago. 
Restaurant Solutions, Inc. is headquartered in Littleton, CO with additional offices in Austin, TX, and soon to open Chicago, IL, backed by a solid team of knowledgeable sales representatives interspersed throughout the country. RSI serves over 1,000 independent restaurants across the nation from the Pacific Northwest to the entire East Coast and everywhere in between. 
RSI area of expertise includes but is not limited to: Hospitality Industry Operations, General Accountancy Practice, Federal/State/Local Taxes, Bank Reconciliations, Compliance and Information Technologies. Restaurant Solutions, Inc. enables independent restaurant operators the ability to Focus On Food, Not Finances.

Although you can't buy a beer at these types of businesses, we will still welcome them with open arms - welcome to the Sloop!

(Hat tip:  JB!)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Slow Down...or Fund the City!

DNAinfo highlights some pretty staggering information about the cities speed camera program:
The riskiest place to speed Downtown is near Jones College Prep, where two speed cameras have doled out more than $400,000 in fines since they were installed, city data shows. 
Collectively, the eight Downtown speed cameras have slapped motorists with $818,635 in fines since January 2014, according to data provided by the Chicago Department of Transportation. 
Two cameras at 629 and 630 S. State St., near the Blue Ribbon school, sourced the bulk of the tickets with $444,105 in fines issued. At 629 S. State, that means 38 violations and $1,345.69 in fines per day. 
The cameras near State and Harrison streets are on from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, longer than other Downtown cameras. However cameras are on longest — 6 a.m.-10 p.m. — at 319 E. Illinois St. and 449 and 450 N. Columbus Drive in Streeterville, which together have collected $328,880.

Moral of the story - drive slower in general or maybe drive slower on the 600 block of S. State street.

(Hat tip:  JB!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Former Grace O'Malley's & City Tavern Space Up For Sale or Lease

Mainstay Hospitality, the South Loop based restaurant group, has a lot of things going on.  As we posted about last week the Chicago Firehouse is apparently rebuilding their roof as well as trying to win a lawsuit against the city for their restaurant Park Grill in Millennium Park.  Clearly they most be busy.

So maybe those things are contributing to this picture:

Apparently they're not going to reboot a concept for the space at 1416 S. Michigan (was formerly Grace O'Malley's and most recently City Tavern).

Both bar/restaurants had mixed results.  At times they were excellent, but both seemed to lose their way as time went on.

The building is a really nice building and according to Jameson's website can be yours for $2,850,000.  As you can see by the picture below the remodel for City Tavern was really well done:

While it's cozy, it does feel a little cavernous (especially in the back in the dinning area).

Regardless, it seems like a good opportunity for a new restaurant or bar.  We will eagerly wait and see what happens.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

CDOT Work to Begin on May 11th to Improve South State from Roosevelt to 18th St.

Get ready for some traffic!

Via Alderman Dowell's Website:
As part of the the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Arterial Street ADA Ramp Project, CDOT is tentatively scheduled to begin work on State Street from Roosevelt to 18th Street starting May 11, 2015. All work on this corridor is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2015, weather permitting. Work will include minor sewer work, ADA sidewalk improvements, curb and gutter removal and replacement, minor milling of the existing asphalt pavement at the intersections of affected ramps, asphalt paving and striping. The sewer work will take place first following by the concrete work and milling and paving of the intersections.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Old St. Mary's Church Breaks Ground on New Parish Center

Old St. Mary's Church (1500 S. Michigan) just officially broke ground on their new Parish center (aka Phase III) according to their Facebook page.

We also found some information on the project for those of you who are interested:
Phase III is a 17,000 square foot Parish Center that will house some Parish offices closer to the front Michigan Avenue entrance, have multiple meeting/classroom spaces, and a gymnasium/social hall with a retractable performance stage. The project is estimated to cost $3.4 million. This cost includes demolition, construction, and facility equipment. If important milestones and fundraising deadlines are met, we hope to open the doors to the Parish Center in Fall 2014.
If you're not familiar with the church and how it's grown, the website also gives some other information:
Old St. Mary’s move to its current location in the South Loop has occurred in phases. In 2002 – in Phase I- we built our beautiful new church. Then, in Fall 2004, we welcomed 18 preschool students into our “new” school that was housed in a 100 year-old revamped furniture warehouse adjacent to our Parish offices.  
Our strategic plan prioritized the building of a new school in Phase II. In 2011, a brand-new Old St. Mary’s School opened with more than 200 students. With the start of the 2013 school year, there are over 350 students enrolled in preschool through 8th grade.  
In 2013, the third phase of the strategic plan began to take shape – completing the vision with a Parish Center. Phase III marks an important step for the Old St. Mary’s community as there is a pressing need to respond to the continuing rapid growth of the parish and school.
Good luck to them and thanks for enriching the neighborhood.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Sloopin Open House
A Towering Unit

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 week we noticed that a nice big corner 3 bed / 3.1 bath townhouse at 1721 S. Prairie just hit the market.  While we've never actually been in one of these units, the "tower" design has always intrigued us.  While it might seem like a slightly awkward space inside, it does make for some nice covered outdoor space:
If you have $850K burning a hole in your pocket or if you're like us and are just curious to check out this unit, it looks like they're having an open house on Sunday, May 3rd from1-4pm.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Why No Dollar or Thrift Stores in the Sloop?

A reader writes:
Why are there no dollar or thrift stores in the loop or Sloop? There must be a reason because a dollar store would absolutely 'clean up', being the only one. I would think both would do quite well with the college kids. I, myself, am disabled on Social Security, so it would benefit me quite nicely as well. What's up?
We're not intimately familiar with the business model of dollar stores, but would imagine retail real estate costs in the Sloop would make it a hard go for them.  In terms of thrift stores, since some consider that a "trend" that seems more realistic for the neighborhood.  However, it probably would be one of the annoying thrift stores that charges an alarmingly high rate for someone else's garbage.

The only thing we remember hearing on this topic was from a post we did back in January of 2014.  There was some talk about "lower-priced retailers" potentially opening up in the vacant lot just north of Target (1000 S. Clark).

However, that plan has apparently been altered as construction on a new big 29-story rental building is well underway at that space.

Anyone have any thoughts on this topic?  Do you agree, that this would be beneficial for the neighborhood and the business?

(Hat tip:  JP!)