Monday, February 29, 2016

Yikes! 3 Gunshots Outside of 1801 S. Michigan

A couple of readers sent us notes yesterday:
I saw broken glass from what looks like bullet holes in the front door of 1801 S Michigan this morning. The glass repair folks were just unloading when I walked by. Do you have any information on this?

Another reader writes:
Woke up just before 3:00 a.m. (2:50 exactly) to the sound of three gunshots. Didn't see anything outside and there were no subsequent sirens. But while walking my dog this morning I saw the glass door at 1801 S Michigan had three clear bullet holes in it. Talked to the guy replacing the door and he confirmed there had been gun shots. I got a picture after the plywood had been put up. Yikes!

Anyone know anything about this?  We couldn't find much on the interwebs...

(Hat tip: DT & AH!)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sloopin Open House:
2 Bedroom With Nice Northern View

We've always admired the condo building at 1516 S. Wabash for some reason.  We like conversion buildings even with all their warts and problems:

The living space in the building has always appealed to us.  Unit #504 (which has an open house today) faces North, has a ton of window and has a big kitchen and family area:

The only drawback we see is that the bedrooms are lofted, which is an immediate no-no for some people.

Unit #504 is listed for $289K and is hosting an open house this Saturday (2/27) and Sunday (2/28) from 11 to 1pm.   Parking is an additional $25K (indoor) or $10K (outdoor).  Also of note is that home owners association dues are listed at $599 per month - which is pretty high for this type of building.

Anyway, if this appeals to you, go check it out!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bespoke Men's Grooming Opens on Printers Row (529 S. Dearborn)

A reader writes:
New business opened up on Printers Row: BESPOKE MEN'S GROOMING 
One of the owners has been my stylist for a long time and she is the best. Highly recommended. Please join me in welcoming them to the neighborhood. 
Take a look at their website to get a feel of their MO.  Looks legit to us!

Welcome!  Glad to have you in the Sloop and on Printer's Row.

(Hat tip:  HS!)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

An Update on the Helmut Jahn High-Rise Proposed for 1000 S. Michigan

An update on one of the many high-profile high-rise's proposed for the Sloop (via Curbed Chicago):
Helmut Jahn’s combination condo/apartment tower proposed for 1000 S. Michigan Avenue was publicly introduced to its South Loop neighbors in October of 2015 as a 1001-foot futuristic supertall, joining a flood of other new proposals seeking approval ahead of a regulatory change to Chicago’s affordable housing requirements. Rumors of a height reduction surfaced in January with news of a shortened design confirmed immediately thereafter by individuals close to the project. 
The tower’s new height will reportedly fall within the 800-850 foot range which is both consistent with earlier rumors as well as the recently amended 900-foot height ceiling recommended by the Historic Michigan Avenue Landmark guidelines for new development. 
The size was pretty controversial and while we like the idea of new development, the building did stick out in our opinion.

The article goes on to say:
According to the office of Chicago’s 4th Ward, the next community meeting for 1000 S. Michigan will take place a week from today on Monday, February 29th at 6:00 PM at the Hotel Blake located at 500 S. Dearborn. The public presentation may very well be the last public appearance by departing Alderman William Burns before he leaves City Council to begin a new gig as senior advisor and director of Midwest policy for Airbnb next month. Developers are still looking to move quickly on this project which may go before the City of Chicago Plan Commission for approval as early as April.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More Information on Event Space Coming to Motor Row (2411 S. Michigan)

A reader writes:
You posted the below a while back, and I have some information about it that I thought you might be interested in knowing. 
Dana Louder is getting closer to finalizing the purchase of this building (2411 S. Michigan). She is expected to close in early or mid March and plans to develop it into an event space starting with her own wedding!

Although Dana's primary business has been a salon (Mane Space), she has had a lot of additional experience. Her other major business is Pin Me Up which is an on-site beauty service targeted towards weddings. So, she is very experienced with the wedding business. She is a young, energetic, entrepreneurial woman who is sure to make this new venture a success. 
I think this will be a great addition to the SLoop! One of Dana's partners is a SLoop resident, and I know that Dana and her team are very excited about what's in store for the Motor Row district and the Sloop as a whole and are looking forward to being a part of it.

As you may recall we posted about this back in December for reference.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

City Moves to Seize Old Post Office via Eminent Domain

In case you missed this on Saturday, it appears that the City is trying to seize the post office from British rich guy Bill Davies (via ChicagoTribune):
Chicago officials plan to seize the long-vacant old Main Post Office using eminent domain and solicit bids to redevelop the West Loop property, according to city officials. 
The city will issue a public request for proposals “to identify a company to take over development of the site,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement issued Saturday. 
Officials plan to present the city’s request for proposals and eminent domain actions to the Community Development Commission on March 8 before moving to the City Council for approval. 
Along with Emanuel, Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development were highlighted in the statement issued by the mayor's office. 
The process should conclude with a developer chosen by this summer, officials said. 
“Today’s action will accelerate the process of transforming the old Main Post Office, which has sat empty for more than two decades, into an economic driver for the neighborhood and the entire city,” Emanuel said in the statement. “Development of this key gateway to the city can create thousands of jobs while rebuilding one of Chicago’s iconic structures.”
Not exactly sure if this is a good or bad thing.

Any thoughts?

(Hat tip:  CH!)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Shooting Outside The Shrine the Weekend Before it's Set to Close

Some unfortunate news from this past Saturday at the Shrine Night Club (2109 S. Wabash) - via NBC5:
Two people were shot outside a South Loop nightclub early Saturday. 
At 2 a.m., there was a fight inside The Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash Ave., and security escorted those involved outside. One of the men who was kicked out later fired shots from a car, hitting the two people, police said. 
A female, whose age was not immediately known, suffered a gunshot wound to the head, and a 36-year-old man working as a security guard was shot in the leg, police said. 
Both of them were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but their conditions were not immediately known.
Definitely an unfortunate turn of events.  This was actually the weekend before the Shrine was supposed to close:

From an email we received from a reader:
To the fans of The Shrine: We regret to tell you that The Shrine will be closing soon. The property where The Shrine is located was recently purchased by a local real estate development firm. They have introduced plans to demolish the building, build a hotel and apartment complex in its place, and lease over 30,000 sq. feet of retail space at street level.
Wonder if "The Last Stand" shows will happen...our guess is probably not.

If so, it was a good run...

(Hat tip: ND, JG, MC!)

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Purple Sky

(Hat tip: SS!)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
2bd/2bath Duplex at 1808 S. Michigan

It's been a couple of weeks since we've done a Sloopin Open House post and since it's supposed to be nice this weekend thought we would.

The unit that caught our eye this week was a 2bd/2bth duplex at 1808 S. Michigan ave (unit 32):

This unit seems to be slightly outdated, but the price is a respectable $285K so maybe you can afford to get it remodeled. Another nice feature is you actually get some personal green space (it's not a ton, but that's more than most units in our hood):

So if you're free this Sunday, head on over between 2-4pm

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Sloop is About to Feel the Bern

Yes, we realize this is not Bernie Sanders, but we love Larry David
Presidential politics is about to get local for us in the Sloop.  DNAinfo has the story:
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday will be the first presidential candidate to open a campaign office in Chicago, and former mayoral contender Jesus "Chuy" Garcia is expected to help him celebrate. 
The office will open at 5 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of a building at 600 W. Roosevelt Road, the Sanders campaign said. Though Sanders himself won't be there, Garcia will be.

While it seems like a slightly strange spot, it's probably relatively inexpensive.  Maybe they're just trying to open up shop close to Manny's Delicatessen - which has long been the scene for political photo ops.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

City of Chicago Ask Judge to Let Construction of Lucas Museum Move Forward

We're no legal wizard, but this seems like a bold (and probably unrealistic) move by the city of Chicago (via Chicago Tribune):
The city of Chicago is asking a judge to lift an order barring "Star Wars" creator George Lucas from starting construction on a $400 million museum along Chicago's lakefront while litigation plays out. 
The filing argues that letting the suit move ahead doesn't mean museum opponents will eventually prevail. 
It says leaving an injunction in place prohibiting construction "now puts the entire project at risk" because the museum "may choose to leave Chicago and relocate to another city." It argues that would deprive Chicago of major economic benefits.

What do we know...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Cautionary Tale of "Deconverting" Condos to Rental

We recently posted about Marc Realty Capital wanting to deconvert River City condos to rental.  It garnered a lot of discussion in our comment section.  The one below was very interesting, so we wanted to post about it.  A cautionary tale:
I feel sorry for all the people who live in this building and what they are about to go through. 
I live a few blocks away and just went through this with Marc reality. Unfortunately the whole process is a con. We were also offered 225 a sq ft from an initial letter of intent to buy. The first vote was approved, then they started doing their research and all the sudden the price per sq ft. turned into a bulk offer that was wayyyyyyy less, and of course it was "best and final", yeah right you will hear that a few times!! 
That vote got declined without contest. A few days after the NO vote, there was a new higher offer, which again required a vote. This one passed with significant margin. From that point on, we were told this was a done deal on the base offer. Then we moved on to the point of letting them walk through all the units to decide on upgrade credits, up to 20k.   Kind of a joke, without outline as to how that would be decided and what the qualifying values were. 
To complicate matters, they brought on board another partner company which was now running the deal. They also offered a discounted rent back formula so people could rent back their homes if so desired. It was a fixed formula based upon purchase price.
Well that was B.S. too. After walking through the units, that rent back formula disappeared and now a random list of rent back prices came out. No one could figure out a new the formula since the values were all over the board. If you had an upgraded unit, you were screwed since they wanted going rate for the neighborhood. 
Anyway, the process struggled its way forward and more than 75% were on board with the new values, upgrade credits, and rent back prices. All that was left was a final vote to ratify the deal and it would have been done. Well that's when everything fell apart. Just before the day of the vote, a new offer was submitted that was drastically lower than what was proposed the second time around. 
By this point, months had passed and people were making plans to move out and buy / rent new homes. I even heard that some people bought and signed leases. Basically, they waited until people were near or past the point of no return without options and gave everyone the shaft. They also tried to say that at least 50% of people were required to rent back from them at their non discounted going rate prices. 
Needless to say, The new vote did not pass and the whole thing went down the drain.
Lesson learned; This process takes months, and during that time no one can sell units, start new leases, or basically do anything. If you are a land lord in river city this is your worst nightmare. Who wants to rent in a building that's for sale. While the deal sounds great, don't be fooled the end value will not be 225 a sq ft. or even close. 
Good Luck,
Long Time S. Loop Resident

Monday, February 15, 2016

Bar Method Coming to the Sloop?

Not sure what to make of this one, but we're posting regardless.  A reader writes:
The Bar Method in the South Loop - no idea when or where exactly...
We did some quick googling and did find a facebook page for Bar Method South Loop.  They also have a mention on the company website.

However, no address or any other information.  Facebook does have a map (but this doesn't look like it's close to the Sloop):

So either this is wrong, or this is a new business trying to claim "South Loop" but really no where close.

Anyway, what is Bar Method?  Well it's not a drinking establishment, so don't let the name "Bar" throw you for a loop.  Here is their mission statement:
To give consistently top quality, full-body workouts to the students who attend our classes and who use our DVD and online workouts. To make every workout safe, challenging, expertly taught, fun, empowering and highly effective at toning and slimming down our students’ bodies. To make every Bar Method studio welcoming, beautiful and life-renewing.

Anyone have any intel?

From the owner:
The map is something Facebook automatically generated since we're still finalizing the exact address (which will definitely be in the South Loop!) I should have a signed lease in a few weeks and will keep you posted!

(Hat tip:  NK!)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

That Car is on Fire

A reader writes:
We were laying in bed this evening and heard something that sounded like a gunshot. We poked our head out the window and saw a car on fire next to Coliseum Park. CFD was on the scene VERY quickly. Attached are some photos from our condo.

(Hat tip: MS!)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Could Raising Retail Rents in West Loop Help Motor Row?

Interesting read on about the West Loop's increasing retail rental rates and how it's pushing out art galleries:
The West Loop has long been synonymous with Chicago’s avant-garde culture, especially the visual arts, which have benefited from the neighborhood’s empty warehouses and historically cheap rents. But as Chicago reported in its February issue, the West Loop is quickly becoming one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, with trendy new offices, high-end real estate, and incredible restaurants—and it’s not without consequences for the artists and galleries that paved the way. 
So what does this mean for us?  Not surprisingly, artists are looking for new places to go that aren't quite as expensive.  Apparently Motor Row is one of those "types" of neighborhoods:
Over time, Mars watched as blue chip galleries moved to places such as West Town, and Motor Row in the South Loop. He himself found a way to keep his doors open by adding a framing shop and cafĂ© to his space. It’s an unusual but profitable business plan for an art gallery, and one that Mars says reflects his community’s tenacity. No matter how the landscape changes, the arts endure. Because, as Mars puts it, “We’re survivors.”

Not exactly sure which gallery he's referring to, but we've definitely seen an upswing in Motor Row.  As you may remember we posted about Shane Campbell Gallery and Motor Row Gallery opening last year.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Report: Sloop Condo Prices Grew 4% Year-Over-Year

Some good news on the real estate front (via Chicago Business Journal):
Chicago's condo real estate market appears to be coming out of a eight-year sleep.  
According to a new report, there's been a recovery in condo prices, with prices now above their peak level prices in 2008. The average condo cost per square foot in downtown Chicago has reached $421, which is 1.7 percent above 2008's levels, according to a report by Appraisal Research Counselors.

Specifically related to the Sloop:
"On a year-over-year basis comparing the third quarter of 2014 with the third quarter of 2015, the greatest price increases were experienced in the Loop survey buildings, which rose 11 percent in price, with the West Loop buildings at 9 percent, Gold Coast buildings at 7 percent, South Loop buildings at 4 percent, and Streeterville and River North buildings both having 2 percent price increases on a year over year basis."  
Expect to see new condo construction in the near future, as the report's authors write "with the strengthening of prices seen in the resale market, the number of resales taking place, and the lack of new condominium product available for sale, the feasibility of new condominium development is improving and is expected to continue to strengthen."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What's This Rainbow Tube in Grant Park?

A reader writes:
Any news on what this rainbow tube with names on each square between 11th and 9th on Michigan is?

Does anyone know the backstory on this?

(Hat tip: ER & JH!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Employee Dishes on La Haven Closing

To follow-up from our post last Thursday about La Haven, a former employee writes:
La Haven cafe closed over night.  The owner sold it to someone else within 24 hours of losing the place due to a huge amount of debt he never paid several bakeries, rental, employees, and other services.  They also didn't notify any of the employees and the owner is not speaking! He left 5 great staff baristas jobless!  He never paid out the rent, bakeries such as Fritz, Do-Rite Donuts, or even filed taxes for any employees for the 2015 year! None of the equipment was at the cafe as we walked in to begin our shifts.

Sorry to hear.  Hopefully the new owner can revive this or at least run a better business.

(Hat tip:  Barista!)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Demo Begins to Make Way for Hilton Hotel at 11th and Wabash

A reader writes:
Demo begins on the old parking garage at 11th and Wabash. Makes way for the new Hilton Hotel.

As you may recall, back in October 2015 we posted about a Hilton hotel coming to this piece of land.  Looks like things are moving forward.

(Hat tip: HJ!)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

More Uncertainty About the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art And Whether it Will Get Built

The saga continues in the will the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts get built just south of Soldier Field (via Curbed):
A motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to block the construction of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on Chicago's lakefront was denied today by US District Court Judge John Darrah. The suit was filed by non-profit advocacy group Friends of the Parks who argued that site, formerly part of Lake Michigan, belongs to the public land trust and therefore cannot be legally transferred or leased to the non-profit group that plans to operate the museum.
While this isn't a no, it's another hurdle the museum has to clear.  Next steps?  Wait a couple weeks:
Construction on the 300,000-square-foot museum and park cannot proceed until the lawsuit is settled. The next update on the on-going legal saga should arrive after a status hearing scheduled for February 18th.

Friday, February 5, 2016

New Harold's Chicken Opens at 612 S. Wabash with Modern Digs

A reader writes:
Just wanna give you the heads up on a previous clip you ran on sloop the Harold's chicken on 636 s wabash moved over to 612 s wabash is now open. It's a new modern very nicely put together Harold's ! Here are some pics


Wowsa - that's quite the improvement from their old digs.  Nice work Harold's!

In a related story, we noticed the demolition of their old building is underway.

(Hat tip:  MA!)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

La Haven Coffee Closed at 1250 S. Michigan?

A readers write:
La Haven Closed! Just passed it! Closed! :(

Another writes:
Did La Haven close? All of the windows are covered with brown paper. It doesn't seem like anything in that space is successful!

We just walked by La Haven two night ago and it had a good amount of people inside.  Slightly strange that they closed (but then again, maybe the business model didn't make sense).

This space has had a tough go - Winestyles (closed in 2010), Karamela Cafe (closed in 2013), Crave Cafe and Lounge (closed in 2014).  Are we forgetting anything?

(Hat tip: MG & CO!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New Gym, Big Shoulders Chicago, Coming to 1449 S. Michigan

From a reader:
Just dropping a quick note to let you know that you'll have a new South Loop neighbor soon! Big Shoulders Chicago will be located at 1449 S. Michigan and open it's doors this summer!
On their website this is "WHAT THEY DO":
Big Shoulders Chicago's applicable approach to fitness bridges the gap between the gym and your life. We offer a balance of small-group classes, one-on-one personalized training, massage therapy, yoga, mobility work and special courses. We have what we all know we need to live life to the fullest: strength, community and passion.
There are a lot of gyms, crossfit spots and yoga studios in the Sloop, but seems like we can never have enough.

(Hat tip:  AS!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

South Loop Storage Closing. Could it Become CVS?

A reader writes and sends us a picture:
Just passing along some intel, we have space at South Loop Storage (1601 S. Federal by Mariano's) & received this letter this week. It confirms rumors that the business has been sold & the buyer is ceasing operations. We heard that the buyer is CVS but not sure if that is true.

Anyone hearing something similar?

(Hat tip:  EW!)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Construction Trailer Means Portillo's is Coming Soon?

You're probably familiar with this (if you read Sloopin!), but Portillo's is coming to the corner of Taylor and Clinton.  A reader writes:
Not sure if I saw this mentioned before, but the lot directly to the North of The Maxwell mall is going to be a Portillo's. No mention of any other occupiers on the site billboards so given the lot size, it'll likely be a drive thru with plenty of parking too. If the popularity of their Gold Coast restaurant is anything to go by, they'll need a traffic plan in place as the drive thru tailbacks there are crazy at the weekend. A good addition though.

So maybe that isn't new news, but the picture the reader sent us makes it seem like construction is happening soon:


Lululemon Closes at Roosevelt Collection; LensCrafters Coming Soon

A reader writes:
Looks like Lululemon closed at Roosevelt Collection, but a Lens Crafters is coming soon to replace the old Haberdash space.
That's unfortunate.  Lululemon was one of the highly regarded brands to open in the Sloop recently.  What do you think?  What does this say about the Sloop?  Is this a reflection of our neighborhood or issues with Lululemon?

Oh and also, our 2016 business counter is up-to-date.

(Hat tip:  BV & MC!)