Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
This 2bed/2bath Has Spacious Living Area

It's been awhile since we've done a Sloopin open house post, but since it's a little warmer today (mid-40's - Yay!) we figured you may actually get out of your place.

After perusing the good ole' MLS, a unit at 69 E. 16th St stood out to us.  The specific unit that caught our eye was #2 and is a 2 bed/2 bath that clocks in at 1,550 square feet.

All we're going to say is that this unit (or at least this picture) looks like spacious and lovely:

The bedrooms don't look as spacious, but if we had our choice we'd rather have a large living area.

The kitchen also looks recently remodeled and has some nice finishes (hey big fridge!):

If this has sparked some interest head on over today (1/30) or tomorrow (1/31) from 11am to 1pm.

Oh and the price is $384,900

Friday, January 29, 2016

"Descending to Heaven" Artwork Being Installed on Wabash Arts Cooridor

Looks like a new piece of art, that we've posted about, is being installed on the Wabash Arts Cooridor (Via ABC7):
The work of a Chicago photographer is now on display along the Wabash Arts Corridor in the city's South Loop neighborhood. The artwork is the creation of Darryl Schiff. 
He calls the piece "Descending to Heaven." Schiff launched a Kickstarter campaign asking members of the arts community to help fund this project.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New Proposal for the Old Post Office

Another major development announcement (via Curbed):
After months of silence, British developer Bill Davies has come forward with a new plan for Chicago's Old Main Post Office — rental units. The behemoth Art Deco building has been the focus of numerous plans, partnerships and potential sales since it was purchased by Davies in 2009 for $24 million. However, this week, a new plan for 1,500 apartments and a new tower addition have emerged for the Chicago landmark. According to Ellen Phillips, managing broker of Loop Apartments, Davies' International Property Developers North America Inc. is currently looking to gauge interest in the plan for new apartments at the site. If there is enough demand and interest in the proposal, Davies could start building rental units in the old post office building as early as this coming March. IPDNA is also seeking large-scale retail anchors for the major redevelopment, simply titled Olde Chicago Post Office. One suggestion would be a retailer like IKEA, which the post office building could certainly accommodate.

It appears to be a hot topic because the building was also featured in a recent article on  If you're not familiar with the situation, it's a good article that sums up the situation:
Is one empty building really that big a deal? Yes, when it represents 2.7 million square feet of premium real estate. The art deco leviathan sits on the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, right at the border of the West Loop and South Loop, two neighborhoods exploding with development. With Metra tracks and the Eisenhower Expressway running beneath it and Union Station only two blocks north, it also would make a desirable hub for a high-speed rail system. “Sitting and waiting for something to happen at that building was easier when the economy lacked traction,” says MarySue Barrett, president of the Metropolitan Planning Council. “Sitting and waiting is not acceptable now.”

It goes on to answer some other questions, but finishes with what's next:
So what happens next? Davies is going to have to do at least one thing soon: pay $350,000 in back property taxes or risk eventually losing the site. Martin Mulryan, his project manager, insists that the bill will be settled in April and that preliminary work—demolishing an old mail-sorting facility next door—could start in early 2016. Just don’t expect Davies to be easily intimidated by local politicians. Notes Mulryan: “The equivalent of an alderman in the U.K. doesn’t have as much responsibility or involvement in projects as they do in the U.S.”

Should be interesting if this gets any traction...we have our doubts

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon Officially Open

A reader writes:
Our family just had dinner at Belly Up on Wabash/near Roosevelt. 1132 S Wabash. This is their second day open. We really enjoyed the bbq Platter & the creative cocktails. The space is quite large with a bar towards the rear of space. BBQ is just what S.Loop needs! We'll be back.

We've been eagerly anticipating this one opening and are looking forward to trying it out.

Eater Chicago has the synopsis:
The new barbecue spot from the owners of Bellwether is open and intent on giving South Loopers a honky tonk good time. Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon isn't only focusing on barbecue—and its not the first place with this combination—but there's also country music, so patrons have something to listen to while they gnaw through their meats. 
The menu includes nods to Kansas City thanks to burnt end chili. Forget beef ribs, as they're serving pork baby backs here. There's also pulled pork and chicken, along with smoked brisket. For those just not into meat, there's a grilled cheese with pimento and tomato coulis. Browse the full menu here.
Here are some more photos we received:

(Hat tip:  LMK & TC!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Zillow Predicts Sloop to be Chicago's 2nd "Hottest" Neighborhood of 2016

Looks like Zillow thinks are neighborhood's home values are going to increase (via NBCChicago):
Looking for a place to live in Chicago? A new report has predicted the hottest neighborhoods in the city for 2016 and it appears the West Loop Gate will be the place to be.
The report was revealed by Zillow Tuesday, naming the popular downtown neighborhood for its projected increase in home values.
The Sloop comes in at second:

  1. West Loop Gate – 6.3 percent forecasted home value growth 
  2. South Loop – 5.8 percent forecasted home value growth 
  3. Phill Hill – 5.0 percent forecasted home value growth 
  4. Budlong Woods & Belmont Terrace – both with 4.9 percent forecasted home value growth 
  5. Gage Park – 4.6 percent forecasted home value growth

Sure beats the alternative!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Popular Create Your Own Pizza Chain, The Pizza Studio, Coming to University Center (545 S. State)

It looks like we're getting "The Pizza Studio":

We've heard about the create-your-own-pizza trend, but haven't ever tried one.  We read this on wikipedia about the franchise:
Pizza Studio is a Los Angeles-based pizza franchise founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and former venture capitalist, Samit Varma. The fast-casual concept allows diners to create their own pizzas using four types of dough and a number of vegetables, meats, and cheeses that employees help put together in front of the customer. The pizzas are cooked in about 3 minutes in a self-ventilating conveyor oven.

So think Chipotle, but for Pizza.

We know Lebron James is an investor for Blaze Pizza (a similar type of concept).  Has anyone tried this franchise? Looks like Yelpers like it!

Seems like a good addition to the Sloop.

(Hat tip: CD & EF!)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

One Man Shot, Another Suspected of Sexual Assault it Two Separate Saturday Morning Events in the South Loop

Scene at Hyatt Regency in McCormick Place
Yikes (Via Chicago Tribune):
A 26-year-old man was shot to death inside a Hyatt Regency hotel at McCormick Place in the South Loop neighborhood early Saturday morning, police said. 
About 2:20 a.m., the man was in a group of several men during a birthday party in the lobby of the hotel, at 2233 S. King Drive, when a male attacker pulled out a gun and fired shots, police said.

Double yikes (via Chicago Tribune):
A 33-year-old man is accused of molesting a girl on a CTA platform Friday morning in the South Loop, police said.  
Travis Smith, 33, of the 500 block of West 14th Place, is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, police said.  
Smith is slated to appear for a bond hearing Saturday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. Smith was arrested in the first block of East Roosevelt Road about 8:20 a.m. after he was identified as the person who grabbed a girl’s breast on the CTA platform, police said.

Please keep your eyes open.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Developer Wants to Deconvert River City into Apartments

What is up with all the desire for apartments (via Crains):
A Chicago developer wants to buy all 448 condominiums in the eccentric South Loop complex called River City and convert them back to apartments, an unusual type of deal that is catching on in Chicago.  
Marc Realty Capital has offered to buy the entire residential portion of the mixed-use complex at 800 S. Wells St., according to a Jan. 19 letter sent to condo owners on behalf of the buildings' homeowners association. Marc is offering $225 per square foot for the condos; the association will hold an owners meeting Jan. 26 to discuss the offer, the letter said.  
If approved, the sale would reverse an early-2000s conversion to condos at the pair of Bertrand Goldberg-designed buildings, which opened as apartments in 1986. It also would be the biggest downtown condo building to “deconvert” to apartments, an emerging trend fueled by the hot multifamily rental market. With investors paying up for apartments and prices in some condo buildings still depressed, developers are trying to arbitrage the two markets and profit from the gap in value.

Seriously, can some one explain this to us?

(Hat tip:  NP & SE!)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Article on Prix-Fixe Menus Gets Us Dreaming of McCaskey Casual Restaurant Concept

Acadia featured in Crain's article talking about Prix-Fixe Menus:
Chicago's diners increasingly are willing to hand over a few hours, a few hundred bucks and total control of their dining fate to chefs.  
In the aftermath of the long-running “casualization” of fine dining in Chicago, a phenomenon marked by the proliferation of high-end restaurants pushing small plates made to share, loud music and a dressed-down vibe, a cadre of well-known chefs is embracing the sine qua non of fine dining: the prix fixe meal.  
Celebrity chef Tony Mantuano took his 30-year-old Spiaggia to a tasting menu format late last summer. Ryan McCaskey made the switch at his two-Michelin-starred South Loop restaurant Acadia in November.
It's a fun thing to do every once in awhile, but honestly it's a little much for us.  It's definitely an experience, but in terms of sustenance it leaves us yearning for something else (but that's clearly not the purpose of this style of dining, right?).

Another interesting quote was this:
McCaskey, for instance, wants to open a more casual restaurant in the next two years that pumps out more volume at higher margins and provides him with more financial cushion. “I wish I had a better car and a better house and a new jacket for winter,” he says. “I never had people trying to give me money before. I had nobody. Now it's to the point where it's happening all the time. People want to be part of (my) next success.”

Could a new McCaskey casual dining restaurant be in the work?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Has Rahm Lost All Political Capital for DePaul Stadium?

City whistleblower, Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader, pens an article with the current political situation the mayor faces and some of the issues his DePaul stadium faces (via Chicago Reader):
The first time the City Council had a chance to vote on funding the Marriott/DePaul boondoggle, Mayor Emanuel gaveled the deal so fast that most aldermen didn't even know what happened. 
Not that many of them would have defied the mayor then if they had. 
This was back in summer 2013, when the mayor was feeling so mighty he thought he was free to take $55 million from our broke schools and parks and use it to buy land in the South Loop for an arena and hotel that no one asked for or needed. 
Obviously, things have changed in the wake of outrage over the mayor's handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

It's an interesting read (although hard to follow at times).  Anyway, if your not a fan of Rahm then you will probably like reading this article.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New South Loop Mall Means Boom Times Again

In case you missed it another retail "mall" is coming to the Sloop (via DNAinfo):
A new boutique mall is slated to open next year in the South Loop, one that would compete directly with The Maxwell shopping center about a block away. 
There's no name yet for the four-story, 120,000-square-foot mall planned for the northeast corner of Taylor and Jefferson streets, said Jim Schutter, who's handling leasing for the property. But construction is expected to begin in March as the mall's developer eyes an opening in the spring 2017. 
Schutter, a senior managing director in the Chicago office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, said no tenants have been signed yet for the project, but he's "close" to a lease with a furniture store and is also talking to restaurants, home goods stores and clothing shops. He thinks about 10 retailers would fit in the development, and plans also call for 209 parking spaces.
That's exciting - although we're curious to see what retailers they actually have in mind.  Seems like we're getting pretty saturated with retail, but maybe this is just the tipping point.  Should be interesting.

Beyond this news, we got a kick out of a post on Curbed Chicago that states:

Got us thinking about a similar sentiment from 2007 when Chicago Magazine wrote on their cover "South Loop Rising".

(Hat tip:  MK & EP!)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Words of Wisdom From Martin Luther King Jr.

Love reading this mans words of wisdom:
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Lining Up for Donuts

A reader writes:
Thought you guys might be interested in this... Woke up at 5:30am (an hour before opening) to get in line for Stan's Donuts' grand opening this morning and the line was already wrapped around the block! Looks like the neighborhood is doing a great job welcoming them.

(Hat tip: NG!)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jahn's Michigan Avenue Tower To Be Scaled Down

In case you missed it from earlier in the week (Crain's Chicago):
Current rendering of Jahn's tower all the way on the right.
Will be scaled down according to reports.
Architect Helmut Jahn is scaling back an 86-story residential tower planned on South Michigan Avenue.  
A zoning attorney representing the project's developer confirmed today that the architect is redesigning the proposed skyscraper at 1000 S. Michigan Ave., which was originally slated to be 1,001 feet tall. 
"Helmut and Phil Castillo (a partner in his Chicago-based firm) are working on it right now," said attorney Jack George, shareholder at Chicago-based Schuyler Roche & Crisham. "I haven't seen the latest rendering with an exterior height, but it's going to be shorter than what we filed for" last year.

While not as spectacular, it still would be a big addition to the neighborhood.  Stay tuned to hear how this one progresses.

(Hat tip:  NR!)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon Close to Opening

Looks like we have a new restaurant opening soon (via Eater Chicago):
SOUTH LOOP— Belly Up Smokehouse & Saloon is close to opening, as the restaurant passed a license inspection and is hiring staff for the upcoming spot at 1132 S. Wabash Ave. The barbecue restaurant and bar comes from the owners of the Bellwether.
Looking forward to this one!

If you want some more info, check out their Facebook page.  Also get a taste for some of their food porn pictures.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Plans Emerge for 33 Story Tower at Polk and Financial

And it continues (via Chicago Business):
Atlanta-based developer Wood Partners has landed a $96 million construction loan for an apartment project north of the Roosevelt Collection, according to Cook County property records. In December, the city approved a 33-story building with 496 units that Wood had proposed on the vacant site along the Metra tracks south of Polk Street.  
A Wood venture took out the loan from JP Morgan Chase Bank and paid $15.5 million for the property in December, buying it from a joint venture between Chicago-based McCaffery Interests and Los Angeles-based Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, county records show. A Wood representatives did not return phone calls.

We've updated our development tracker with this tower.  Feel free to click around to see the wide variety of projects happening in the Sloop!

(Hat tip:  NR & SE!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"30 East" Development Coming to NW Corner of Balbo and Wabash

Looks like this is actually happening (via PRweb):
Development is getting underway at “30 East”, a brand new, modern apartment community designed for students and millennials in the heart of Chicago’s South Loop. Located at the corner of East Balbo and South Wabash Avenues, the site is just one block west of Grant Park and among seven colleges and universities comprising more than 26,000 students.  
The new, 16-story, 150,000 SF building, designed by Chicago-based architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz, will feature 255 beds within 134 apartment units. It will be completed for August 2017 occupancy.

If you will recall we posted about this potentially happening back in early December last year.

More and more people are coming to the Sloop - like it or not...

Monday, January 11, 2016

Group Seeks More Representation on Future of Grant Park

A reader writes:
Dear Neighbor,  
We write seeking your help in creating a group of neighbors who want to gain greater resident representation on the boards of the Grant Park Conservancy and the Grant Park Advisory Council. The Conservancy and the Advisory Council provide input to the Chicago Park District when it makes decisions on how Grant Park will be used and developed.  
The resident population of the South Loop has grown in the recent years and will increase substantially in the next few years because of proposed development. Because the resident population is becoming a larger factor in the use of the park, we believe a coalition of residents and neighborhood organizations would be effective in obtaining greater neighborhood input into the decisions of the Conservancy and the Advisory Council as they inform and advise the Chicago Park District.  
If you or your building are interested in the future of Grant Park, please contact the undersigned at your earliest convenience so we may begin to build a coalition of neighbors who are concerned about the use of Grant Park not only as a regional park for the City of Chicago, but as the park for local residents. Our first meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, January 18, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.  
We will meet at the home of Elaine Soble, 910 S. Michigan Ave., #1401. We look forward to seeing you. Please r.s.v.p. to either of the undersigned.  
Elaine Soble
910 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605  
Julia Packard
910 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
Double Sky Terraces

The weather outside is freightful, but this terrace outside is delightful:

Or maybe this one:

Yup, this penthouse at 1101 S. State street has two 20'x22' patios!

The unit itself is pretty snazy, but come on, these terraces are crazy.  This 3 bed/3bath is listed for $995K and we're not going to list all of the things it has because you should just check out the listing if you're curious.

This unit is hosting an open house from noon to 2pm on Saturday (1/9).  We will probably see you there because this is a pretty amazing unit.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Go See A Legend While You Can: Buddy Guy Performing 16 Shows at His Club in January

For awhile now, legendary blues-man Buddy Guy has been showing up to his South Loop club, Legends (700 S. Wabash), for a variety of shows throughout the month of January.  This year is no different (via ABC7):
Chicago Blues legend Buddy Guy will perform 16 shows in January 2016 as part of his annual residency at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. 
The "Buddy Shows" will run Thursday through Sunday every week from January 7 - January 31. 
The six-time Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer only does schedules performances in his namesake club in January and the shows consistently sell out.
As of this morning there was still availability (although some shows are sold out).

We went back in 2010 and had quite the experience.

Go see a legend on his home turf at Legends.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hertz Equipment Rental Coming to Wabash and 24th

We've gotten a couple of notes from readers regarding a new business coming to the Motor Row area:
There's a new Hertz Equipment Rental location at Wabash and 24th, for all your industrial machinery needs :)
(Hat tip:  RY & KB!) 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Stan's Donuts & Coffee Opening on January 16th; Offering Donuts for Life for Lucky Customer

Looks like we have an opening date and quite the promotion (via Time Out Chicago):
In the same spirit as its debut in Lakeview, Stan's Donuts & Coffee will be celebrating the opening of its newest location in the South Loop (28 E Roosevelt Rd) with a giveaway at all four of its stores. Prize envelopes will be given to the first 100 people in line at each location, with prizes ranging from a free coffee drink to free doughnuts for life.  
If you want to enjoy gratis fried dough for the rest of your days, you'll need to line up at the South Loop location before it opens at 6:30am on Saturday, January 16, where one lucky winner will never have to pay for a glazed treat again. The top prize at the other three Stan's shops will be free doughnuts for a year—not too shabby.

Looking forward to this one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Haberdash Store to Close Concept and Store at 600 block of N. State Street

Founder, Jerry Kahmi, at Haberdash on State Ave. 
To revisit a story about Haberdash, a business that closed at Roosevelt Collection in June of 2015, we read yesterday about difficulties they ran into and as a result are shutting down the whole concept (via Chicago Tribune):
Haberdash, a men's clothing store in Chicago's River North neighborhood, is closing its doors after 10 years.  
The end will come by late January, according to a sign on its window. Haberdash was founded in 2005 on Wells Street in Old Town but moved to Tree Studios in the 600 block of North State Street about five years ago.  
Last year, Chief Executive Jerry Kamhi talked to the Tribune about the challenges of running a men's clothing store.

While Haberdash had the look of a big, reputable brand and was ambitious in it's nature, the reality is that their concept was a classic example of a mom/pop store trying to compete with large conglomerates.

Anyway, while we never like to see things like this happen, there was a sentiment that the Sloop wasn't equipped to handle a high-end clothing concept.  Maybe we can take some solace in the fact that maybe it wasn't us, maybe it was just their concept.

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Free February" at the Field Museum for Illinois Residents

Like years in the past, the Field Museum is holding "Free February" for Illinois Residents and last we checked if you live in the Sloop that MEANS YOU (via NBC Chicago):
Chicago’s Field Museum will once again host “Free February” for Illinois residents. 
The museum will offer free basic admission to all Illinois residents for the entire month of February, a spokesman confirmed. Visitors will need to show proof of residency.

Go See Sue!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
Remodeled Town House with Grass Patio

It's January so it's not surprising that the open house listing are slim (according to the MLS we only see 3 open houses this weekend).

With that said, one of these is a pretty nice looking townhouse.  The address is 1438 S. State and is listed as a 2bed/2bath for $470K.  While that seems pricey for a 2 bed, it does have a 1st floor extra room which we would assume could serve as a bedroom if desired.

What stood out about this unit was that it looks like it's been recently renovated (just look at the kitchen):

Another nice thing is that there is actually a patio with grass.  While it's not a lot of grass, it's at least some and that's better than we can say for most places in the Sloop:

Anyway, if you're willing to brave the cold weather and this unit seems interesting to you, head on over Saturday (1/2) from 11am - 2pm.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year from Your Friends at Sloopin

Welcome to 2016 & Happy New Year - looking forward to spending it with you!