Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
A Serene Green Courtyard View on Michigan Ave?

Living in the city usually means life is full of concrete - especially downtown and in many places throughout the Sloop.  However, today we stumbled upon a unit at 1430 S. Michigan (Unit #311) that is unique as it has a pretty nice courtyard view and sits right off of Michigan Ave:

This 2 bed/ 2 bath is pretty spacious and looks to be in pretty good condition.  The MLS listing doesn't have any furniture, so it's a little tough to visualize the 1200 sq feet, but it looks like it has some good space.

Anyway, if this sounds interesting to you, the unit is listed at $328 and includes a parking spot.  Pretty good deal for this much space in the Sloop.  The unit just went on the market and is having an open house tomorrow (11/1) from 2-4pm.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fun With Maps: Divvy Data Details Rides Between Stations

We love maps.  We love Divvy.  We love maps with Divvy data.

Have some fun with this interactive maps on DNAinfo:
Map showing where people ride their Divvy's from Roosevelt/Wabash station

Thursday, October 29, 2015

American Kidz Academy Apparently Not Opening at 1006 S. Michigan

This probably isn't a surprise to most, but it appears that American Kidz Academy is not opening at 1006 S. Michigan judging by this (blurry) picture we snapped recently:

It's hard to read, but "for rent" signs are now up in the windows as opposed to the pictures of kids that were there in the past.

As a reminder, we posted about this way back in September of 2013, but little information has come out since then.

Could "Gateway" Development Over Train Tracks West of Lake Shore Drive Actually Happen?

Train tracks where "Gateway" Project Could Rise?
All we can say is wow, wow, wow (via Crain's Chicago):
The developers of Central Station in the South Loop are seeking a partner for the first phase of another huge residential project next door that would overlook Soldier Field and the Museum Campus.  
Called Gateway, the $3 billion project would encompass 3,000 homes and 500 hotel rooms rising above train tracks on the west side of Lake Shore Drive from Roosevelt Road to McCormick Place, said Chicago developer Gerald Fogelson, who owns the site in a joint venture with Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises.  
The venture is exploring three options for the project's first phase: developing it by itself, selling the development rights or bringing in a partner, he said. Fogelson would prefer to team up with another partner.

It is frankly amazing the scope of some of these proposed developments.  Who are all these people who are going to move to the Sloop?

For whatever it's worth, this feels more like a PR play for Fogelson and his company.  While they could move forward with it theoretically, it seems like this could simply be them trying to drum up some publicity to unload the "air rights".  This is more of a hunch on our part, but would be curious what anyone else thinks.

What's the likelihood that this project would move forward?

Interesting to us is how these developments would impact all the current high-rises that have million dollar lake views.    

Finally, we've updated our Development Tracker with this info.

(Hat tip:  JG!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Acadia & Chef/Owner Ryan McCaskey Earns Two Michelin Star; Joins Rarefied Chicago Fine Dining Group

Ryan McCaskey at Acadia (1639 S. Wabash)
If you were hoping to get a reservation at Acadia, our South Loop fine dining option at 1639 S. Wabash, it may have become a little harder (via Chicago Tribune):
Acadia, Ryan McCaskey's fine-dining restaurant in the South Loop, was boosted to two Michelin stars, and Parachute and Dusek's Board & Beer received one star apiece, as the Michelin Guide announced its star selection for Chicago restaurants Tuesday.  
"McCaskey's got it all," said Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide. "He has great technique and produces elegant food that tastes great. For a restaurant to go from one star to two, that's what we like to see."  
Acadia's promotion and the first-ever star awards for Parachute and Dusek's were the happy surprises on a list that otherwise varied little from the Michelin list of a year ago.

This is a pretty remarkable honor for McCaskey and his team.  This essentially means that Acadia is one of the top 5 restaurants in Chicago according to the Michelin Guide (arguable in the #3-5 range behind Alinea & Grace).

For those unfamiliar with the Michelin Guide it is considered by most Chefs and Foodies to be the preeminent rating guide for restaurants worldwide.

This is the 4th year in a row that Acadia has been honored by the Michelin Guide, but the first year it earned a two star rating.  Interestingly enough, last year we were wondering if Acadia could potentially win that second star.  Well guess we were a little early in our prediction - but regardless congrats to McCaskey and team and glad you call the Sloop home!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

U of C Opening New Clinic at Southgate Market

South Gate Market (looking east)
In case you missed this last week (via DNAinfo):
The University of Chicago announced Thursday it will build a $8 million new clinic in the South Loop.  
The university said Thursday it had signed a 12-year lease for 18,000 square feet on the second floor of Southgate Market, 1101 S. Canal St. for clinic offering primary care, cardiology, orthopedic, sports medicine and obstetrics-gynecology, reproductive and other services for women.  
The clinic is expected to open in late 2016 with 15 physicians based in the South Loop and others rotating in for specialist care.  
“We listened to our patients who wanted our state-of-the-art care closer to where they live, work and shop,” said Sharon O'Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, in a statement.

The university also cited the rapid increase in the number of people moving to the South Loop as an enticement to look north of Hyde Park for the new clinic.
Seems like a good addition for the neighborhood and a nice boon for Southgate Market.  As you may remember this (presumed) space used to be an Office Depot but that closed back in 2008.  The space has been sitting vacant since then.

Business Counter is updated.

(Hat tip:  BR, LW and MS!)

Monday, October 26, 2015

PDNA Recaps the Roosevelt Road Reconstruction Public Meeting from August

Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance recaps a CDOT community meeting on the Roosevelt Road Reconstruction project:
Roosevelt Road Reconstruction Public Presentation - 9/22/2015 
As promised, we were able issue a FOIA to get a copy of the September 22nd presentation from the South Loop Town-Hall meeting at McCormick Place. 
At that meeting, CDOT Representatives were on hand to discuss the project, listen to complaints, concerns, and feedback from residents in regards to the Roosevelt Road project impact. CDOT also discussed what it has done (correct traffic light timing errors), and what they are reviewing to address, as well as provide and overview of the remaining work on the project.

They have a 20 page presentation on their facebook page, but honestly much of it was recap.  Of interest to us is this slide:

Worth a read if you're one of the people who questions why this was done.

And for those wondering, the street markings are supposed to be done by the end of the year.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Roosvelt (aka Wabash)

A reader writes:
Unfortunately, if you give people directions to the South Loop, they may get confused. Check out the picture below: 
I was driving earlier today, with my father, at about 1:30p.m., and we noticed that the sign was placed on the wrong street. I called 311 at about 3:30 to report it. I wonder how long they will take to change it.

(Hat tip:  PM!)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
2 Bedroom Townhouse with Some Nice Space

There tends to be a lot of similar types of units on the market in the Sloop.  We've only seen units in this townhouse complex (1616 S. Indiana) listed rarely.  With that said, figured we would direct some attention to it.

Unit C1 at 1616 S. Indiana is listed as a 2bed/2.5 bath at $539K.  A little expensive for a 2 bedroom in our opinion, but the space looks nice and has multiple floors.

Parking appears to be included and if it tickles your fancy, head on over tomorrow (Sunday, 10/25)
from 12:30 - 2:00pm to check it out.

Friday, October 23, 2015

'15 Michelin Bib Gourmand List Out: Kurah & Opart Thai Off

The Dinning Room at Kurah
In a bit of a surprise, it appears that Kurah and Opart Thai has fallen off the prestigious Bib Gourmand list (via Crains):
Three 2015 Bib Gourmands closed: Azzurra EnoTavola, Browntrout and Nightwood. Lao Hunan, one the restaurants Tony Hu sold in the wake of a 2014 raid by the FBI and IRS as part of an investigation, also was left off the 2016 list. Hu has said he sold the property, along with a handful of others, to focus more on his Lao Sze Chuan franchise. Homestyle Taste, Kurah and Mixteco Grill also were dropped.
If you're not sure what the Bib Gourmand list is here is an overview:
For the second year in a row, Michelin trimmed its list of Chicago restaurants honored with Bib Gourmand designations for 2016, reducing the number of restaurants to receive the designation to 58.   
The sixth annual Bib Gourmands, which are released a week in advance of the guide, are awarded to restaurants that deliver quality food for an affordable price (two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less, excluding tax and tip).

While this isn't good news for Kurah, we've been recently and we can confirm the quality of food is still stellar.  If you remember, we've called their wrap a "Sloopin Fave".

We were curious to see if the new Villain's may get included in the Bib Gourmand list, but it wasn't.  Maybe that was a function of opening this year?  Maybe it wasn't up to par for the picky Michellin reviewers.  We sure liked their food.

Similar to years past, next week is a big one for fine dinning in the city and the Sloop.  Acadia is hoping for their 4th consecutive Michelin star.  Good luck to them!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

3rd Annual WAC Crawl Happening This Friday (10/23)

The "Harmony" Mural by Ben Eine
One of the more emerging and exciting areas of the Sloop, named the Wabash Arts Corridor, is hosting their third annual event.  The Sun Times outlines the event:
Creating an arts district in Chicago has been no small feat. Wicker Park has attempted to do so, unifying the assembly of galleries along Milwaukee Avenue. And for years Pilsen has hosted the popular Second Friday series with monthly open houses of working studios. Yet with the establishment of the Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) in 2013 another picture is starting to be painted, one that pits the South Loop as the city’s newest “living urban canvas.”  
Unifying the creative resources of eight educational institutions, 19 galleries, 14 performance spaces, 40 restaurants and 5 hotels along Wabash from Van Buren to Roosevelt, “the district is starting to come alive and understood for what it represents,” says Mark Kelly, chair of the WAC and vice president of student success at Columbia College Chicago. The school was the first to spur the initiative and now partners with a long list of supporters from Roosevelt and DePaul Universities to the Hilton Hotel, the Elephant Gallery, Harold Washington Library and the Auditorium Theatre, among others.  
The idea comes together in the annual WAC Crawl, now in its third year, a free public event that highlights the various attractions and brings together hundreds of artists — both student and professional — with special programming for one night. Voted as a “Best Event” by the Friends of Downtown in its inaugural year, the WAC Crawl is “gaining momentum,” says Kelly, and “will be bigger and more compelling than even a year ago.”
The event details are as follows:
When: 4 to 10 p.m. Oct. 23
Where: Various locations along Wabash, between Van Buren and Roosevelt
Tickets: Free

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Case for the South Side Lakefront Bike Trail

Ok - so it's not the most hard hitting piece, but a Tribune sings the praises of the South Side lakefront bike trail (via Chicago Tribune):
The city's North Side-South Side rivalry is always in play, most prominently in the baseball version that this year has been so decisively settled.  
But in another category, I am casting my vote differently. When it comes to the lakefront bike trail, the South Side rules.  
Ah, South Side lakefront! How I have come to love you, with all your new goodies. The Chicago Park District has been pouring in money and improvements — over $160 million in new projects in lakefront parks south of Roosevelt Road since 2011 — and it shows.  
Crickets sing amid wildflowers in the Burnham Centennial Prairie. Boats bob in season in the new 31st Street Harbor. The relatively new Oakwood Beach and beach house beckon. It goes on for mile after mile, beaches interspersed with prairie and savanna, crisp concrete walls providing countless spots to gaze at the lake — and all of it bathed in peace and tranquillity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Does Anyone Get Irked About Shoddy Road Work?

A reader doesn't like the shoddy road work:
It's not a big deal, but why can't the new crosswalk they just painted, after the construction at Harrison & Wabash, be lined up straight? I think it looks sloppy and unprofessional. I'm sure the cost of the project was pretty significant. Not significant enough to get the finishing touches right? It's really the only part that of the construction that anybody will actually notice. It is right out my window where I spend all day on my laptop(complaining). Am I the only one, or is this wrong? Just wondering. 

(Hat tip: JP!)

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Comprehensive Refresher on the Proposed Lucas Museum

We've spend a lot of time recently posting about the proposed Lucas Museum, but if you're not up-to-date or want a refresher, Curbed Chicago had a great comprehensive read on the plan, the controversy and likely outcome:
Yesterday afternoon, the Chicago Plan Commission held three separate votes to approve the proposed Lucas Museum. The controversial site selection is an empty surface parking lot just south of Soldier Field, stretching from roughly 1801-1931 South Lake Shore Drive and is used only a handful of days throughout the year, primarily by tailgaters during football season. The controversy is primarily derived from the fact that the site is presently located east of Lake Shore Drive, where as according to the Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance and Corresponding Lakefront Plan, no private development may occur.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
Room For Your Baby Grand

Ok ok - $719K for a 2bed/2bath isn't super practical.  But in this unit at 910 S. Michigan, you have enough room for your baby grand piano and some other nice features:

This elegant and big 2,200 sq foot condo has a ton of nice features.  Beyond a lot of space, it has a great master bathroom:

Oh and that view:

Even if you can't afford this place it would probably be fun to check it out.  Head on over to unit #1801 at 910 S. Michigan on Sunday, October 18th from 1-4pm.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Public Notices Appear for Crescent Heights High-Rises at Michigan and Roosevelt

A reader writes:
Saw this as I was walking home last night. A sign things are moving along with the development?

As you probably know (if you come here often), this is most likely a necessary step to inform the public about changes to the zoning for the new high-rise proposal at Roosevelt and Michigan.

As a reminder, Crescent Heights recently unveiled renderings for two massive 70+ story high-rises at the southeast corner of Michigan and Roosevelt.  Still has a way to go, but these would dramatically change the neighborhood if they are built.

(Hat tip:  JG!)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Buffalo Wild Wings Opens at The Maxwell (Taylor/Clinton)

A reader writes:
Didn't see it in the counter, but BW's is open at the Maxwell. Looks like there is 2 stories of seating and was full of people watching the cubs win.
Good to see it open!  Business Counter is updated.

Also, this is across the street from the proposed South Loop Portillo's.

(Hat tip:  DF!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What's That Noise at 1345 S. Wabash?

A reader writes:
I live near the construction site at 1345 and for this entire week, there's a drone noise that corresponds to the construction activity.  
Does anyone know what's causing this drone-type activity? It's worse than an airplane engine on a long-haul flight.  
And, aren't there rules/laws about this type of noise?

We haven't heard it, but aren't that close to this spot.  Anyone else hear anything?

An Idea - Add the Lucas Museum to the Lakefront, But Get Rid of the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place

A fun read by one of our favorite journalists at the Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin.

He has a novel idea:
It's time to start a civic conversation about getting rid of the shoreline's Berlin Wall — the Lakeside Center of the McCormick Place convention center, a powerful work of steel-and-glass modernism that is one of Chicago's worst urban design mistakes. 
Set on a massive brick podium and rising just south of the Lucas museum site, this black 1971 behemoth is a brutally divisive presence, though it has no watch towers and barbed wire like the Berlin Wall that was the focus of President Ronald Reagan's 1987 "tear down this wall" challenge to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. 
The giant Lakeside Center blocks views of — and, to a large extent, access to — the shoreline from the west. On the lakefront itself, it visually divides north from south, a holdover from the bad old days of a separate and unequal shoreline that favored affluent whites on the north at the expense of poor blacks on the south. 
Parking lots and expressway ramps were built to serve it, further blighting the lakefront and Lake Shore Drive. It has never been easy to reach by public transportation. And it has long been an effective killer of migratory birds.  
Life and politics are about trade-offs. The mayor is hellbent on building the Lucas museum despite Friends of the Parks' federal lawsuit and warnings from this quarter that the museum will further clutter an already overbuilt stretch of Chicago's lakefront. So be it. He can make amends — and make history — by undoing the blunder of the Lakeside Center, which is the byproduct of an era that wrongly prioritized commerce and transportation over the traditional lakefront touchstones of nature, recreation and culture.

There has been so much talk about adding the Lucas Museum to the lakeshore, but what about if we add this and get rid of a worse building.  Seems like a good tradeoff to me.

Probably unlikely, but a fun thought nonetheless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Hilton Hotel Proposed for 1101. S Wabash?

A reader sends us a application notification:

In case you can't read the notice above, the key point takeaway is:
The applicant proposes construction of a new mixed use tower of 29 stoires, containing on-site parking (150 spaces), Hotel/Hilton (196 rooms) and extended stay (85 rooms), structure height 298' (maximum), ground level commercial of 3,000 s.f.+/-, ground level site 13,678 s.f., total building 233,587 s.f.
While this would be big news normally, these days it seems like a typical announcement.  Regardless, in our opinion a new hotel/extended stay building is definitely a welcome addition compared to a parking garage (which is currently there).

FYI - development tracker updated!

(Hat tip:  SH!)

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Schooling Question and Its Impact on the Sloop

A reader writes on a very pressing and needed conversation:
Is there now, or will there be adequate public school space for continued development and population growth? It would be very interesting to hear if anyone has knowledge of new public schools in the pipeline? Or ideas for where new schools could be built? Granted the neighborhood has many excellent private schools (The British School, Old St. Mary's, etc.) but not all parents choose to, or can afford to, send their kids to private schools. Thoughtful planning of public schools is imperative in anticipation of continued development and population growth. 
The South Loop is a fantastic place to live, and if these proposed developments actually happen, we should be poised to provide quality education to welcome the future children of the neighborhood.
It appears that the Sloop is going to grow both in terms of development and in return inhabitants.

The South Loop elementary is known to be a good public school, but it is also apparently bursting at the seams.

So sound off - what do you think?

(Hat tip: MS!)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
2bed/2bath in Printers Row for Under $300K

We're going to be brief today, because frankly this one is pretty straight forward.  Living in printers row isn't cheap, but this 2 bed/2bath is about as cheap as it gets.  Unit #702 at 608 S. Federal is officially listed at $289,000 but does not include parking.

We've never been in the building, but have looked at pictures numerous times and from the outside seems interesting and massive:
Anyway, if you're out an about head on over tomorrow (10/11) from noon to 2pm to check it out.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Last Chance to Get Advance Tickets for Tomorrow's South Loop Loft Walk

One of the more popular events in the Sloop is upon us and act now to get in on the fun:
Friday's the last day to get advance tickets for South Loop Neighbors' Loft Walk. This year's urban housewalk features 16 amazing lofts with unique designs and amazing views, all over the South Loop from 235 W. Van Buren to Motor Row. Two trolleys will shuttle folks from the starting point at Dearborn Station. The walk is Saturday, October 10, from noon to 5 pm. More at

Event Space Coming to 2411 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Dana Louder who owns Pin Me Up and Mane Space is under contract to buy 2411 south Michigan in the Motor Row district. She is opening an event space.
We're not familiar with either of those places, but sounds like it's going to be a different type of business than her Salons.  Does anyone have any info on this?

For more info on her other business you can click here for yelp info - Pin Me Up (5 stars on yelp) and Mane Space (4.5 stars on yelp).  Clearly people must like these, so hopefully she can translate that business acumen to an event space on Motor Row. 

(Hat tip:  TS!)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Time for the Chicago Marathon; Beware of Street Closures (and People)

Here is a link to the website if you want more info.

And if you don't want more info at least be aware of the street closures:
(Hat tip: RW!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Inclement Weather? Boats Down!

A reader writes:
Attached are two pictures of sail boats that have perished after a couple days of harsh waves. There was a third one but I don't know if that boat sank or someone got it out.

Oh man that sucks!

(Hat tip:  MK!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Quantitative Look at Whether the Sloop Can Absorb All the Proposed Real Estate Developments

We know real estate development is a hot topic around Chicago.  And while there has been a lot of conjecture, we haven't really seen much quantitative rationale assessing the impact of these new proposals.

Obviously this is still not a definitive answer, but it's a more informed piece than many we've read (via a Chicago Now real estate blog - Getting Real):
If you recall the South Loop became a real wasteland during the housing bust and it wasn't until Related Midwest bought 504 condos and remarketed them that we were able to put that whole series of unfortunate events behind us. But according to a May article in Crain's it took Related Midwest just about 3 years to sell all those condos. So how long will it take the South Loop to absorb 1123 new condos and 2061 new apartments?
Let's review the historic data for the South Loop in the graphs below. Most importantly there is the inventory spike and recovery that the South Loop went through. At it's worst the inventory of condos and townhomes hit slightly more than a 28 week supply. When Related came in they initially took a lot of that inventory off the market, but it was really still there, so the numbers appeared to plummet. Eventually they sold through that "shadow inventory" and now we're sitting at a fairly authentic 3.2 month supply, which is low by anyone's standards. This level is fairly typical of the more popular Chicago neighborhoods and it's considered a seller's market.

So what does the blog conclude:
So, on the surface, this endeavor is probably doable provided the Chicago economy doesn't fall out of bed in the meantime or everyone decides to leave the city because of skyrocketing property taxes. 
Then again there is all that other new supply being built around the city and not just condos but all those rental units. At some point if the supply of rentals keeps rents down renting may become cheaper than buying and undercut the demand for condos so who knows? Once the results are in we can all claim to have seen it coming.

Chicago Tribune:
South Loop Poised for Big Residential Building Boom

In case you missed it on Friday, the Chicago Tribune weighs in on the flurry of residential projects being proposed (behind their paywall):
The South Loop, which has worked to reinvent itself in fits and starts, is poised to become the next big thing in Chicago's housing market. 
Four developers announced plans recently for high-rise apartment buildings at the south end of Grant Park along South Michigan Avenue, including a striking 86-story tower designed by star architect Helmut Jahn that would be the 6th tallest in the city. 
Other lofty rental projects include a 76-story tower and two nearly 50-story buildings that, if approved, will flood the South Loop with some 2,000 upscale apartments over several years. On top of that, hundreds of condominium units also are on the drawing board. 
Once home to rail yards and printing presses, the South Loop saw its last wave of residential development dry up as a result of the recession. With the new proposals, developers are placing even bigger bets that the neighborhood bordering the Museum Campus can rival pricier downtown locales and become the city's next residential hot spot.

While it's a pretty long article (which is great) there probably isn't much new news if you're a reader here or are actively involved with neighborhood news.

However, it does have some good historical background for people unfamiliar with the neighborhoods development.

It also has some interesting quotes about the developers perspective on the market and their projects.  Here is one from John Murphy who is behind the 48-story building at 1326 S. Michigan:
"If you play the economy game and you're a renter, every dollar is important," said Murphy, CEO and chairman of Murphy Capital Management. "So you start looking around in Chicago, you're in River North, you're looking for a significant amenity building in a great location. It's just natural, if you look at the dynamics of the South Loop, that this will be the next one to go and you're seeing a huge propagation of properties being developed now to capture that."
While it's a good read, it doesn't even really reference all the other projects that are actually being built or have been proposed throughout the neighborhood (and as a reminder you can check those out at our development tracker).

Some good PR for the Sloop across the broader Chicagoland area!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
A Cool Building and a Nice Place to Eat

It's slim pickings on the open house front this week.  While there are a decent amount, nothing unique really stood out to us.

With that in mind, we default to one of our favorite old buildings in the Sloop - 1322 S. Wabash Ave - aka the Coca Cola building:

The unit that's having the open house is #903 and is a 1bed/1bath listed at $275K (which presumably includes parking).

While the unit is nice, nothing is that unique or amazing.  However, this picture struck a chord with us - it looks like a nice dinning area with the big pictures in the background:

So if you're out and about looking for something to do, swing on by and at least check-out the building.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Target & Freshii Team Up for In Store Cafe Test:
Sloop Target First Location To Be Built & Opening Oct 12

Pic of Freshii in South Loop Target
Looks like we're getting a Freshii...but maybe not in the location you would expect (via Crains - behind paywall):
Fresh food will be on offer in nine Target store cafes around the country, and the change is starting in Chicago.
The Minneapolis-based retail giant is testing a new cafe concept in 14 stores nationwide. In nine of those stores, the cafes that offer ballpark food such as nachos, hot dogs and slushies will be replaced with health-food chain Freshii. Eight of those nine Freshii locations are set to open in Chicago-area Targets starting next month.
Forty percent of Target customers use the cafes, which are the first thing they see after walking into the store, a Target spokeswoman said in an email. The company hopes to reshape its customers' first impression and push healthier options.
The first two Target Freshii locations—in South Loop and Arlington Heights stores—are set to open Oct. 12
While we probably would have prefered to see a standalone Freshii in the neighborhood, the fact that we're getting one is still pretty good.

If you're not familiar with Freshii, here is some background from Wikipedia:
Freshii was founded by Matthew Corrin in Toronto, in 2005.  Originally called "Lettuce Eatery", the store opened to large queues and ran out of food on the first day before the end of lunch. Corrin's vision of fast, fresh food, custom-built, inspired Freshii's reputation for healthy, environmentally sustainable meals and snacks served quickly in a cool, clean setting for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

We imagine it will probably do pretty good in the Sloop even if it's in a Target.

Bigger question - does this count for the business counter?  Let us know if you think it should.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Public Hearings on Proposed Lucas Museum Unsurprisingly Provide Varied Perspectives

One thing is certain about the proposed Lucas Museum - people are passionate about their opinions.

And that certainty apparently rang true during public hearings on the proposal (via Chicago Tribune):
Opinions about the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art ranged from excitement to distaste as residents got their first chance to speak about the proposed addition to the lakefront at two public hearings this week. 
"I'm here absolutely enraged by them taking away public land for private enterprise," said Jim Purgatorio, 72, before a hearing Wednesday. "My major concern is that if we allow them to do this, that there's no end to the land grab that people are going to make beyond this." 
Others, like Martin Thaler, 60, a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, came to the hearings just to learn more about the project. 
"I'm fascinated by George Lucas and the idea behind the museum," Thaler said. 
The Chicago Park District sponsored the hearings Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss museum plans for architecture, landscaping and traffic.

While this debate isn't necessarily new news, there were some new details that came out of the meetings.

Specifically, it looks like some engineers believe that the museum wouldn't impact traffic:
The most anticipated portion of the presentation was about traffic and the impact the museum would have on drivers. Chris Hutchinson, senior traffic engineer with Terra Engineering, said during Tuesday's hearing that most people would be using East 18th Drive to get to the museum and that analysis shows there would be little effect on traffic. 
"Most of the traffic entering the area is going to be using the interchange at Lake Shore Drive and 18th, and really what we found evaluating these new trips that are coming to the Lucas Museum is really 18th, Museum Campus (drive) and this area right now is very underutilized," Hutchinson said. "The signals currently run flash, they don't really run unless there's something going on because there's just no traffic down there."

Not sure if we're buying that, but such is life.

While the museum by no means is a guarantee at this point, it seems likely that it's going to move forward.  This is just intuition on our part, so obviously take it with a grain of salt.