Wednesday, August 31, 2016

More Details About Shooting and Suspect; Overview of Ad Hoc Meeting on Shootings

The latest on the tragic murder of a South Loop a resident (via
Image from DNAinfo
The murder of 45-year-old William Smith, a South Loop resident heading out to get a cup of coffee at 10 a.m. Sunday, was a robbery gone wrong, prosecutors said Tuesday.  
And prosecutors say the killer's old Bears jersey helped tie him to the crime. Smith left his South Loop condo Sunday morning and was walking to Dunkin' Donuts when someone in a dark Hyundai pulled up alongside him near 18th Street and Michigan Avenue, according to prosecutors and a neighbor.
Definitely an unnerving story that hits home - especially as we've made a similar walk to get coffee many times.

DNAinfo also has a good overview of the impromptu community meeting about the recent spat of shootings in and around the neighborhood:
Neighbors at Meeting (via DNAinfo)
Sunday's murder in a South Loop alley has generated a new neighborhood group and a lot of questions for Downtown police.  
What was billed as an "informal" gathering Tuesday about rising violence here drew a much bigger turnout than expected, leaving one neighbor scrambling to get his daughter's karaoke machine so he could emcee the impromptu event.  
But the mood among guests was serious, and unified: that their growing neighborhood is changing, and not for the better.  
"The numbers tell a pretty compelling story that something is wrong," Dave Sudzus, who lives next to the alley where a 45-year-old man was shot dead Sunday morning, said. Sudzus and others have moved to create a new group dedicated to curbing rising violence in the area: the South Loop Safety Association.  
The ad hoc group solicited ideas from neighbors Tuesday at The Spoke & Bird, 205 E. 18th St., and seemed to arrive at one conclusion: more surveillance cameras from landlords and building associations.
While we wish the neighborhood didn't need meetings like this, at least it's comforting that so many people are vested in making sure we're doing all we can to tackle this problem.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Neighborhood Meeting at Spoke & Bird Patio Tonight in Relation to Fatal Shooting this Weekend

A reader sent us this pic:

As a reminder, on Sunday there was a fatal shooting in the 1800 block in the alley way between Indiana and Michigan.

(Hat tip:  ND!)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Fatal Shooting Yesterday in 1800 Block Alley Between Indiana and Michigan

Not good (via Chicago Tribune): 
A 45-year-old man was shot to death in the South Loop neighborhood Sunday morning.  
Police said witnesses heard an argument before gunfire, and police found the man in an alley in the 1800 block of South Michigan Avenue with a gunshot wound to his head.  
The fatal shooting took place in an alley between two, low-rise apartment buildings on 18th Street, between Michigan Avenue and Indiana Avenue. Police cruisers and yellow police tape roped off the scene, and red tape was strung around a smaller area about halfway down the alley.

If that's not enough, there have been a wave of daytime robberies smattered around the sloop (via DNAinfo):
Pedestrians are getting robbed at gunpoint during the day in the South Loop, police said. 
In the crimes, a man hops out of a black sedan and shows a handgun before robbing his victims, police said.  
The suspect is described as a 5'7"-5'9" black man between 20 and 35 years old with short hair, "medium" complexion and a gold chain necklace. His car's license plate ends in 2091, police said.

Keep your eyes open and be safe...

Friday, August 26, 2016

Pizano's Hit With a Stop Work Order at New Location in the Sloop

A reader writes:
Looks like the new Pizano's at 21st & Indiana has had a little setback. A stop work order went up the other day. Violation notes that they didn't have the proper licensing to build out a restaurant.

Hope this doesn't lead to a total project abandonment - was looking forward to them coming to the neighborhood.

Agreed and hopefully this is just blip on the radar.  

For those of you not familiar with Pizzano's moving into the area you catch our original post here.

(Hat tip:  TG!)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Checkout 1001 South State - Where Curiosity Lives

Sponsored Post

Inquisitive minds can finally satisfy their curiosity about the South Loop’s most innovative and inspiring new high-rise. After much anticipation, 1001 South State is open. Designed for those who love and live with technology at work and at play, 1001 is a pet-friendly, luxury apartment building located in the Wabash Arts Corridor.

In the same creative spirit that energizes the neighborhood, 1001 seeks to provide residents an ideal balance of work and play by offering amenities unlike any others available in Chicago.

1001’s unique Makerspace is the perfect resource for residents whether they need to prototype their new ideas or just need space to complete a project. In addition to the stimulating atmosphere, the Makerspace offers cutting-edge technical tools to bring ideas to life, including the easy-touse Nomad 833 Pro CNC milling machine and the Glowforge 3D Laser Printer. Residents will also enjoy the Living Biowall which features a vertical garden of fresh herbs and the Aqua Lounge located near the pool and fitness areas.

Venturing throughout the city is made easier with charging stations for electric vehicles and custom-branded shared bicycles with a compatible reservation app. 1001 will also save residents travel time by providing refrigerated storage for grocery deliveries as well as dry cleaning and package delivery notifications, which are sent automatically, allowing for 24/7 pick-up.

Exciting apartment features await residents such as keyless entry, stainless steel appliances including a full-size washer and dryer, a Wi-Fi and smartphone-compatible thermostat, and 1GB internet connectivity.

All of this combined with stunning views of the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan, and the South and West loop neighborhoods make 1001 South State a matchless choice for creative thinkers looking for a like-minded community. Apartments are renting fast, so act quickly to find your new home. Contact the leasing office at 312-283-3776 or

The Nook Openning up at 1929 S. Archer

Looks like we're getting a new daycare spot called The Nook:

Looks like they already have a location in Bucktown and according to them are officially opening on August 29th (but are accepting applications/tours now).

Best of luck and welcome to the Sloop!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Coming Soon Signs Appear for Aligned Modern Health at 1335 S. Michigan

It appears that more and more businesses are coming to South Michigan.  Yesterday we posted about a business called "Vault" and today, we got a picture with signage suggesting a Aligned Modern Health is coming soon to 1335 S. Michigan:

We don't know much about this business, but according to their website they offer a variety of services ranging from acupuncture to fitness classes.  They also have numerous locations in various neighborhoods around the Chicago.

What's not clear is where they're moving in within the building.  As you can also see in the picture, PianoForte owns and occupies this building (as far as we know).  Not sure if they aren't using the entire space or whether they are downsizing.

As you may recall the first floor is full of pianos, so not sure if they're moving those to a higher floor or if Aligned Modern Health is simply taking one of the other floors.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Another Opinion on the Proposed Bike Lanes for Polk / Plymouth Ct / 9th Street

Last week we posted about a proposal for new bike lanes and a public meeting to discuss them.  It appears that there are some strong opinions on the topic (which we appreciate).

A reader writes:
Hello. I’m a resident of Plymouth Ct. in Dearborn Park II. I am extremely familiar with the traffic issues and patterns - pedestrian, cyclist, and auto - of the area under discussion. Today (last week) you posted something from “a reader” that had a VERY strong bias against the proposed bike lanes on Polk, Plymouth, and 9th. The reader was flat out wrong about the increased collisions between cyclists and other users. And also wrong about ‘ruining’ the neighborhood. Well designed cycling infrastructure always improves traffic flow (including with pedestrians, who in any case do not tend to walk in the street in Dearborn Park) and add tremendous appeal to any area. This is born out in many, many studies, but also aligns with common sense since the streets in question clearly need improvements due to their already being used by various modes of transport.
I won’t have the option of attending the public meeting next week, so I had to put in my two cents. I hope common sense dominates.
Clearly there are some strong opinions with this.  Hope people can continue to voice their thoughts and attend the meeting tonight.

(Hat tip: LN!)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Signage for "Vault" Appears at 1325 S. Michigan Retail Space

A reader writes:
Looks like a new business is coming to 1325 south Michigan. No luck with accessing the website. As I recall, this spot has been vacant for a while.

Not really sure what this is.  Does anyone have any insight?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
Two Similar Townhouses; Two Differing Prices

Real estate listing prices can be a tricky thing.  This weekend, we noticed two townhouses in the same complex with relatively similar layouts (as far as we can tell) but with drastically different pricing.

These two townhouses are listed as 3 floor units with 2bd/3bths.  Both have roofdecks as well.

The main difference is one is remodeled:

And one is not:

So what's the difference in price?

  • 1434 S. Federal St - $769K
  • 1341 S. Clark St - $550K
That's a whopping difference of $219K!

Now we understand a remodel can be worth a good chunk of change, but that seems like a lot.  

Should be interesting to see which one sells faster and what they end up selling for.  

If you would like to check out these units head on over

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Bike Lanes Proposed to Connect Dearborn Route to Grant Park

A reader writes:
There is a South Loop Neighbors meeting being held on August 23 at 7:00 pm at Grace Place on this topic where CDOT will discuss this proposal. We are hoping that 4th Ward - Alderman Sophie King plans to attend.  
The proposed bike lane will connect Dearborn St. at Polk, to Plymouth Court until 9th Street, turn East bound on 9th all the way to Grant Park. This will go through the Dearborn Park 1 RESIDENTIAL area, and increase bicycle traffic through this neighborhood.  
The potential for collisions between Bicyclists and 1) children, 2) dogs, dog walkers going to the Park, 3) the aged residents from The Oaks, and of course, the considerable foot traffic Of the residents…  
This will actually ruin the nice, quiet gated community that is there today…

(Hat tip:  MW!)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Riverline Project Phase 1 Set To Break Ground Mid-September

It looks like the first phase of the Riverline project is about to get started (via Curbed):
It’s been a long time in the making, but now we have a more approximate date for the Riverline mega-project’s groundbreaking. According to developers CMK Companies and Lendlease, workers are expected to break ground on the ambitious project in mid-September. The development, with a master plan designed by Perkins+Will, will span 14 acres and will deliver 3,600 new residences to the greater South Loop area when completed. The first phase will focus on two towers, 60 townhouses, and a 3.5 acre riverfront park.
As you may recall back in late 2015, this massive project was announced.  It's a an ambitious one and a doozy that if realized will dramatically transform the west side of our neighborhood.

While it's a big project, it does seem to make a lot of sense.  This land seems highly attractive as it will provide quick access to the loop and various other desirable neighborhoods (such as the West Loop).  Couple this with the plans for the gigantic old post office and it's easy to see why they're moving forward.

The curbed post has some additional renderings.  Take a look!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Some More Info on Rylon's Smokehouse (67 E. Cermak)

Back at the beginning of the month we posted about a new restaurant called Rylon's Smokehouse that is proposed for Cermak.  The Chicago Tribune has some more information and what we found interesting was that it's taking over for another restaurant on Cermak:
To open Rylon's Smokehouse, the chef is partnering with owners of La Cantina Grill, the 10-year-old Mexican restaurant at 1911 S. Michigan Ave. The smokehouse will replace Pizzeria Brandi, also owned by the La Cantina group. It will include not only the former pizzeria but a small adjoining space that will be converted into the bar area, said La Cantina President John Mauro.
As you can see by the google maps shot below, we assume this means they're taking over the never opened Pretty Donkey Coffee space:

The article also goes on to talk about what we can expect:
Rylon envisions the new restaurant — a 2,400-square-foot, 40-seat space — as a sit-down place with barbecue, side dishes (including baked beans set in the smoker to catch the dripping brisket juices), brisket salads, pulled pork tacos and more, plus a full liquor license.  
His barbecue will be a combination of pit grilling and smoking, he said. He doesn't want the flavor of the meat to be overwhelmed by smoke. The sauces will be a medium consistency — not thick but not watery-thin. It's a style he hopes to define as Chicago-style barbecue, he said.

Sounds pretty delicious to us!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Does Fence Coming Down Mean "Micro-Apartments" Coming to Polk/Dearborn Corner?

A reader writes:
Have not seen this corner fence-less in about 8 years? 
I know there are plans to develop this corner with micro-condos...could it actually be happening? Or did they finally realize that the fence and lot look as horrible as everyone else has been thinking.

Anyone know?
In case you don't know, about a year ago we posted about a "micro-apartment" building that was proposed for this little but high-profile spot.  Not sure this means it's happening, but curious if anyone knows.

(Hat tip:  TR!)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Akirah's (1845 S. State) Launches a GoFundMe Page

We've had a bunch of emails from readers regarding the status of Akirah's (1845 S. State).  It sounds like they're short on money and have launched a gofundme page:
We didn't have a ton of info about this place when signs went up back in May of 2015.  It appears they need $20K and have a long way to go.
Best of luck to them...hope to see them open!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Two Worthwhile Events at Park Community Church (1347 S. State)

A faithful reader writes:
First, I just wanted to thank you for this blog. I am the pastor at Park Community Church's South Loop Campus on S. State Street. I'm always pushing my folks to get deeply involved in the community, so your blog is a main way I stay up to date with happenings around the South Loop. Seriously great job! 
I have two questions for you. There are a few things I would love to share with the larger South Loop community.
  • South Loop Food Pantry - The first is our Food Pantry and Consignment Store that takes place every Saturday morning. We currently serve about 200 people from the neighborhood and we would love to be a great resource to anyone in the neighborhood who might be under resourced and could use the food. There is also a really wonderful consignment store for folks to by good and clothing at a really low price. 
  • Alpha Course - We run the Alpha Course a few times each year. I think a lot of folks in the South Loop could really benefit from just knowing that this course is actually offered in their backyard. The next one is beginning in September and thought I'd reach out now just for planning sake. (Here's a link to more info about Alpha if you're interested)
(Hat tip:  RC!)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Old L'Oreal Institute Building (2101 S. Wabash) Being Converted to Residential Units

A reader writes:
Not sure I've seen this mentioned anywhere. But I walked past this building today and it has a change of use permit posted in the window.  
Looks like it's going to be converted into a 43 unit residential building with ground floor retail.
As a reminder, the L'oreal moved out of this building back in June of 2014.

After first getting this email we initially thought that this was a project that was first announced back in September of 2015.  However, upon further review, it looks like that plan (see rendering below) will be just south of the L'Oreal building - which is visible on the left side of the pic.

If anyone knows anything else let us know.

(Hat tip:  DVS!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bulldog Ale House Coming to South State Street?

A reader writes:
One of these just opened by my office out in the burbs (they've got a great beer selection) and while I was checking out their website, I saw that they are planning a new location in the South Loop - but the address seems to be wrong. Since the old UFC space is taken, maybe it's going to be in the new 1001 S State tower? Have you heard anything about this?
We did some searching on the interwebs but couldn't find much.  Has anyone heard anything?

(Hat tip:  MK!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Conclusive Evidence that Former South Loop Storage Building Was Razed for Additional Parking at Mariano's

A reader writes:
Conclusive evidence that the old storage building got replaced by a parking lot for Mariano's...
It's a shame, it's clear from the picture that there's already too many parking lots in that area.

As a reminder, there was some debate back in February whether the former South Loop Storage building would become a renovated building for other businesses (potentially a CVS) or whether it was simply going to become a parking lot.

Looks like we know what happened...

(Hat tip: DK!)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Fit-Results Moving from South Dearborn to State/9th (Old UFC Gym Location)

A reader writes:
Fit-Results ( at 620 South Dearborn just signed a lease at the old UFC gym space on State Street, south of Jimmy Green's (825 S. State) and have begun renovations in hopes to open by the end of September. 
The owner, Lou, has a photo of him holding the keys to the new space on the Fit Results Facebook page
We have the keys 
Posted by Fit-Results on Monday, August 1, 2016

As a reminder, Fit Results opened on South Dearborn in June of 2014.  Nice to see that they're expanding into a bigger space.

UFC Gym actually moved from the location at E 9th Street and State to 1331 S. Michigan back in March.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
Outdoor Space That's Bigger Than the Living Space?

This week we found a 1bed/1bth loft at 1503 S. State (unit #307) that may seem like a conventional South Loop listing until you realize that it has a massive, 1500 sq foot private terrace

The pictures inside look fine.  Nothing crazy one way or another.  It does appear to be clear that these owners probably have outgrown the space given that there looks to be a crib in the bedroom - so not sure where the parents are sleeping :)

Anyway, the unit is listed at $299K (+$35K for parking) and is hosting an open house on Saturday (8/6) from 11-1pm.

If outdoor space is your thing, head on over.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Nando's Chicken and Lenscrafters Open at Roosevelt Collection; World of Beer Also Coming to the Complex?

A reader writes:
Nando's Chicken and Lenscrafters have opened at Roosevelt Collection.

They (Roosevelt Collection) have also listed something called World of Beer as coming soon
We knew about Nando's and Lenscrafters and have updated our business counter, but the real news is that World of Beer is apparently also coming to Roosevelt Collection.

Before we posted this, we actually went over to confirm this was the case and according to the directory it's true:

Looks like World of Beer has opted for one of the most high-profile spots at the shopping complex (the prime southeast retail spot facing Roosevelt).

So what is World of Beer?'s pretty obvious it's a place to get beer, but according to their website:
At World of Beer, we’ve got 50 craft beers on tap, over 500 in the cooler and a menu of tasty tavern fare that’s crafted to go perfectly with beer. And whether you’re a beer master or just beer curious, our insanely knowledgeable staff is here to guide you through every last pint, pour, and pairing. So c’mon. Let’s go. Because there’s no better place to go around the world, one sip at a time.
As far as we can tell there are two other locations in Illinois all in the suburbs (Evanston and Naperville).  The concept is actually a chain that was created in Tampa, Florida and has over 50 chains in 16 states.

We also found an article about their expansion plans for downtown Chicago that was in the Crain's back in 2015.  Interestingly, the article states that the franchise owner had signed a contract for South Michigan.  Not sure if that fell through, but regardless good to see them coming to the Sloop.

That being said, we just spent a post-Lollapalooza evening at Villain's and still reckon that they have one of the most unique and interesting beer lists in the city.

Regardless, good to see that RC snagged another solid tennant.

(Hat tip:  JY!)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What If the Chicago Olympics Were Kicking Off Tomorrow?

What Northerly Island Could Have Looked Like if Chicago Hosted the 2016 Olympics
It's hard to believe, but tomorrow is the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

While you would be hard-pressed to find many Chicagoans who still think hosting these games would be good a thing, the loss still feels bittersweet.

One of the most demonstrative reactions to defeat I ever witnessed in Chicago occurred when we learned the city lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympics. 
It was Oct. 2, 2009, and thousands of us gathered at Daley Plaza to await the big announcement from the International Olympic Committee's vote in Copenhagen. Satellite trucks from 15 news organizations parked on Clark Street. October optimism — the rarest of things in Chicago — reigned. Anticipation filled the autumn air. One mother pulled her son out of elementary school to experience what she expected to be historic event. And it was.  
It was the day the IOC saved Chicago from itself. 
At exactly 10:32 a.m., then-IOC President Jacques Rogge forever became part of the city's sports landscape with a stunning declaration: "The city of Chicago, having obtained the least number of votes, will not participate in the next round.'' Given Chicago's status as the favorite, this was the equivalent of a No. 1 seed being ousted by a No. 16 on the first day of March Madness. A shocker. 
After hearing Rogge's words coming off the large TV screens, onlookers consoled each other with hugs. Some people cried. Others just shook their heads, amazement matching their disappointment. The Picasso sculpture appeared to be frowning. One local politician, prone to hyperbole, even compared the spirit Chicago would need to recover from this setback to its resilience after the Great Fire of 1871. 
Having originally supported the idea of the 2016 Olympics, this is what I wrote after walking back to Tribune Tower with a sense of dismay: "You have every right to be mad, Chicago. Something smells rotten in Denmark. … This was the most frustrating defeat in Chicago's recent sports history." 
Fast forward to now, days before Friday's opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, and that "most frustrating defeat,'' looks more like it was a fortuitous victory for Chicago. 
In retrospect, those groans in the plaza should have been cheers and any rancor toward the corrupt IOC replaced by relief. In texts documenting the city's first decade of the new millennium, you can find the IOC vote indexed under Blessings In Disguise.
Could you imagine what would be happening in Chicago and the Sloop if we were hosting the opening ceremony tomorrow night?

Given the current dialogue in our country and the world we can only imagine the headlines:

"Donald Trump blames Obama/Clinton for $15 billion Olympic Budget Overage"
"Fearing for Their Lives Olympic Athletes Won't Step Outside of Olympic Village"
"Want to Attend an Olympic Event?  ISIS Threat Means Waiting in 4 Hour Security Lines"

and on and on and on...

In hindsight, we still have problems in this city, but hosting the Olympics were only going to exacerbate them.

At the time, we thought the Olympics would have supercharged development in the Sloop (which it probably would have done).  Obviously the Olympics didn't happen, but the development pace has again reached a frenzied pace.

If you've been reading Sloopin for awhile you can attest that we spent a ton of time talking about the Olympics (this is officially our 158th post having to do with the Olympics).  And it's kinda fun to see what we were talking about back then.

But lucky for all of us, most of the "Olympic" posts stopped after 2009.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Some New Details on the New Proposed South Loop Elementary School

Some news on the new South Loop elementary school (via
Although on its way, the space is still a long way from being ready. Ground may not even break on the project for another 18 months, and construction would likely take just as long, officials said. 
But even in the earliest stages of planning, leaders were able to offer a glimpse of how the school will likely look. 
Planners envision a four-story building with 53 classrooms and 111,000 square feet of total space, according to Felicia Davis, executive director of the Public Building Commission, which will oversee the project. 
The space will include three science labs, three special education classrooms, two music rooms, two art rooms and a "nurse's services suite," Davis said. 
As an indication of what the school might look like, Davis pointed to the new annex at Lincoln Elementary School in Lincoln Park and recent renovations at Edgebrook and Sauganash Elementary Schools in Edison Park, which were also overseen by the commission. 
It's unclear what would happen to the existing South Loop Elementary building, Dowell said.
Some interesting nuggets to digest.

In our mind the most interesting questions are when will this actually happen and what will happen to the old school.

(Hat tip:  NS!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Riverline Project Slightly Delayed Due to Bond Process with City

A reader writes:
This email came through via Property Solutions via a fellow resident at my building, Paper Place Loftominiums at 801 S. Wells (across the street from River City):  
The Riverline project has been delayed because they are currently working through the Bond process in order to start the infrastructure. The timeline is dependent on the City process and is not something they can control. They hope and anticipate that work would start in first quarter or second quarter of next year (2017). In the meantime, they have been working with the Mayor’s Office regarding ground breaking for the first building which is anticipated to start in mid-September. The early earth work which was started in the spring was simply pot holing in order to make sure they did not run into any obstructions when first building.
As a reminder, back in late 2015 the Riverline masterplan project was announced and it's massive.  It originally consisted of 5 skyscrapers, 3 mid-rises and a variety of townhouses.

Hopefully they get this smoothed out and can start soon.

(Hat tip:  KD!)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Rylon's Smokehouse Coming to 67 E. Cermak

In case you missed it last week, Eater had a post about a new barbecue spot coming to Cermak:
The owner of Batter & Berries, the beloved brunchy black-owned Lincoln Park restaurant, is opening a barbecue spot in the South Loop. Chef/owner Derek Rylon is partnering John Mauro, the owner of La Cantina Grill, which is also in the South Loop. They're opening Rylon's Smokehouse at 67 E. Cermak Road and are looking at a late-September opening date, according to a news release.  
Rylon said he wants to deemphasize smoke, as he feels it often overwhelms the flavor of meats at many barbecue spots. Instead of starting brisket in a smoker, he'll start it on a pit grill and then move it in the smoker. Meats will be finished with a house barbecue sauce, and Rylon is also working on sauces from different regions in the U.S.

Sounds promising - oh and we apparently will get some whiskey here as well.

Also, this probably isn't going to come to a shock to you, but Pretty Donkey Coffee isn't opening (as a reminder we posted about this spot way back in May of 2013).