Friday, September 30, 2016

Menu Posted Outside for Armand's Victory Tap

A reader sends us this picture of the menu posted outside the new Armand's Victory Tap - looks like a pretty traditional italian menu:

As a reminder, back in April we learned that Armand's was coming to the former City Tavern and Grace O'Malley's spot.

(Hat tip: PO!)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Chicago Fire Filming in Printers Row

A reader writes:
Any idea what's going on at south Plymouth and Polk. Noticed a lot of activity over the weekend and this morning bar Louie was open before 6am and looked like people were applying make up. I'm assuming they're filming something.

Pretty sure it's the filming of Chicago Fire.

(Hat tip:  RL!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Akhirah's Praline Candy, Beignets & Coffee Opens at 1845 S. State

A reader writes:
With all the craziness that's happening in the south loop, I want to share some positive news. Last week, Akhirah's Coffee Shop finally open up shop.  
I stopped in a couple of times for a cup of Joe before work and their coffee is pretty good. Looks like they are open from 6am-8pm.
As a reminder, it was first unvieled that Akirah's was coming to this spot in May.  They had some delays (like most businesses seem to have), but glad they finally got their doors open!

(Hat tip:  KE!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

$54 Million Budget For New South Loop School

A reader recently sent us a link to the Chicago Board of Education's minutes from yesterday.

On page 26 it outlines that the South Loop School will have a budget of $54 million:
As a reminder the idea of a new school for the Sloop came out back in May of 2016.

(Hat tip:  EL!)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wing Stop Coming to Strip Mall at Roosevelt and Canal

Looks like Roosevelt is getting a Wing Stop:

We can't remember what was there before, but seems like a decent location - albeit kinda hidden in the corner.  

This is the second location for the chain in the neighborhood.  As a reminder, they opened a store on Harrison between State and Wabash back in 2010.

This area of the neighborhood continues to develop and seems to show no signs of slowing in growth.  We wonder if this move has anything to do with the Buffalo Wild Wings opening at Taylor and Clinton?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Sloopin Open House:
A Corner Living Room with Windows Everywhere

We're going south for today's featured open house.  This 2bd/2bth unit at 2035 S. Indiana appears to have a nicely oriented, window filled, corner living space:  

It caught our eye, so figured we would share.

The unit is listed at $350K (+$35K for parking) and has just under 1,200 sq feet of living space.  Not cheap, but it looks like it's well kept.

If you're interested in checking it out, head on over on Sat (1:30 - 3:30pm) or Sun (noon - 2pm).

Friday, September 23, 2016

18 Car Windows Broken in Garage at 24th and Michigan

Damn (via ABC7):
Thieves smashed 18 car windows and stole valuables early Tuesday at a South Loop condo parking garage.  
The thieves hit the private garage, located near South Michigan Avenue and East 24th Street, between midnight and 5 a.m.  
The driver's side of Lew Shank's white BMW was trashed.  
"It's a mystery," Shank said. "They didn't get in, but the damage is done."  
Residents headed to work made the discovery - long after the thieves were gone. But they still had to clean up debris left from not only the smashed windows, but also side mirrors and doors damaged during attempts to get into the cars.  
It is still unclear how the thieves got into parking lot, which is accessed by an opener or key.

(Hat tip:   ME, JL!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Retail Round-Up: Golfsmith Closing, Chopsticks Closed, Pizza Studio Not Opening

It seems like the Sloop is booming in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean all businesses succeed.

First up, a reader read an article in Golf Digest about Golfsmith's recent declaration of bankruptcy.  While the article talks about the reason Golfsmith needed to do this, it also outlines a plan to close 20 stores in the US:
The next big move involves the closing of 20 Golfsmith stores in the U.S., all in areas already served by other Golfsmith locations. (For example, the five Golfsmith stores in Houston will be cut to four, while the five Golfsmith stores in the Baltimore-Washington corridor will be cut to two. In addition, several of the closing Golfsmith stores compete directly in markets with PGA Tour Superstore outlets. Here are the Golfsmith stores set to close before the end of October
The list goes on to include "Chicago (South Loop)".  So looks like we're losing a golf option.  That being said, this store - while nice to have - always seemed strange to us.  While people in the Sloop may golf (my hand is raised), the location seemed strange to us.

Another reader writes (and we confirmed):
Looks like Chopsticks on Roosevelt has closed. Noticed the windows had been papered over last week.
While some may cry, honestly we were never fans of this restaurant.  It wasn't good.  As a reminder, Chopsticks opened in 2014 and replaced Yang's.  This seems like a great location for a restaurant given the immense amount of foot traffic.  Hopefully something good goes in.

Finally, a reader noticed (and we confirmed):
Looks like this restaurant is not opening and the signage has been removed. Website now shows the next location at Northwestern Hospital.
We were excited to try this place out, but let's be honest - the pizza scene in the Sloop is relatively well saturated.  While we never like vacant retail space, this probably won't be missed.

(Hat tip:  SS, AR, SB!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Orange Theory Fitness Opening at 1005 S. State

A reader writes:
Not sure if you already posted on this but looks like Orange theory is coming to the South Loop
We're not familiar with this franchise, but apparently they are popular (see article on and they have a lot of locations across the country.

According to their website, they're opening up in the new 1001 S. State high-rise apparently:

If you're like us and don't know much about them, here is a video explaining what they're about:

Looks like this new building is filling some of their retail with this spot as well as Bulldog Ale House coming in at the 910 S. State retail space.

(Hat tip: ZP, JD!)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Popular West Town Gumbo Spot, M Vie, Apparently Coming to the Sloop

A reader emailed us the link from Eater Chicago:
M Vie will close at the end of month at 1372 W. Grand Ave., ownership revealed via Facebook. They plan on moving to the South Loop, but a location wasn’t revealed. The restaurant, which serves gumbo, slings a variety of specialty cocktails and hosts live music, opened in 2013.

According to the facebook post it sounds like they took a vote to determine where their new spot should be and the Sloop won:
The vote count is in and we are happy to announce that the new home of the BEST Gumbo in town will be the South Loop. Before you ask OF COURSE we will bring those other yummy favorites

Seems like a slightly strange way of determining where to open a business, but guess it's a good thing for us?  Not sure if anyone has been to this restaurant, but it seems like they're reviews are relatively solid.

Anyone have any additional information or thoughts on this move?

(Hat tip:  NK!)

Friday, September 16, 2016

More Delays at Pizano's New Location at 21st and Indiana

A reader writes:
Quick update on the Pizanos being built at 21st and Indiana: more building delays as the sheet metal workers union on the project has gone on strike as of this morning. I came across their picket line as I walked past today.

As a reminder Pizano's started work back in June but they were hit with a stop order in August.  Hopefully they can overcome this and can this open.  Seems like it would be a good thing for this part of the neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  MP!)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Salvaging Trees at Ping Tom Memorial Park

A reader writes:
Noticed about 8 trees down but that still looked salvageable in Ping Tom Memorial Park. Sent an email with pics to the park district but no reply. Thought I'd put in on your radar. It'd be a shame to lose them...know anybody with a back-ho?


(Hat tip: DL!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crain's: University Center "Superdorm" Looking for Buyers

We know the "rental" market has been hot for some time now.  Whether it's young professionals looking for quick access to the their jobs in the Loop or in this case, students seeking close proximity to their downtown classes, it's been impossible to not notice all the housing options popping up.

Crain's recently had an article about one of the biggest housing options for students - located in the Sloop at Congress and State - potentially being sold (behind a paywall):
Real estate investors that want to place a big bet on Chicago's downtown colleges now have their chance: by buying a 1,729-bed dorm in the South Loop.  
Twelve years after building the University Center student housing complex, three Chicago schools—Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University and Roosevelt University—have put the 18-story building at 525 S. State St. up for sale. Also known as the Superdorm, it's the biggest student housing complex in Chicago and one of the largest in the country.  
The schools have hired the Chicago office of CBRE to market the property amid a wave of dealmaking in the student housing market, which has evolved from a fragmented industry populated by smaller investors into one dominated by big national companies backed by institutional investors. Many investors like the sector because it's tied mainly to school enrollments, making it less vulnerable to the ups and downs of the economy and real estate market.  
The schools that own University Center still could keep the property and just refinance its debt, DePaul spokeswoman Carol Hughes wrote in an email. The property secures about $127 million in bonds.

Stay tuned to see what happens with this one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What's Going on at SW Corner of Clark and Archer?

We've received a couple emails inquiring about pre-construction activity at the corner of Archer and Clark near Chinatown.  A reader writes:
Any idea what is going in on the southwest side of the Clark and Archer intersection, just east of the Metra? A fence has been up for a couple weeks and it looks like some sort of excavation.

Another reader did some more digging and found this:
Over the past week it looks like actual activity is happening in the Southwest corner of Archer and Clark right next to the Metra tracks. A sign had been up for a while talking about a retail project but this is the first hint of progress on it.  I found this on the internet (from Chicago Architecture back in mid-2015).

Unfortunately we don't have much more information and this looks plausible in our minds.

If you're a history buff you may recall that there was a "beautiful" hotel planned for a lot right around here (see Sloopin post from 2009).  That ain't happening obviously.

Anyway, does anyone know anything else about this?

(Hat tip: JT and MG!)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hackney's on Dearborn Closing Doors to Make Way for New Concept in 2017

Some big news on the Printers Row restaurant scene as a stalwart is reconcepting:

It's a rather interesting development as Hackney's always seemed to be busy and doing well.  Maybe it's just time for something new?

That being said, it still appears that the owners are committed to the neighborhood and especially south Dearborn.  As you probably know they own the Flacos Tacos (725 S. Dearborn) and are opening Gordo's Homemade Ice Cream Bars just north of the Hackney's location.

Sad to see Hackney's shut down, but excited to see what's next.

(Hat tip:  EF!)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

2016 Festival on Prairie Avenue Happening Today from Noon to 6pm

If you're looking for something to do today:

The Sloopin Open House:
6th Floor Penthouse with Big Terrace

As someone who lived in the building we're featuring today, the units on the "penthouse" floor were always intriguing to us.  First off, penthouse is generous as this is a 6-story building - but we get it - it's on the top floor.

That being said, we've been in some of the units and they all feature pretty large terraces.  This specific 2bd/2bth unit is PH7 in the 1440 s. Michigan building has one of the more unique ones:

It's pretty sizable and has a nice access point right off of the living room.  While the divider being held up by cinder blocks seems clunky, some creative decorating can hide those pretty well we'd imagine:

This unit is listed at $449K and includes a parking spot.  If you'd like to check it out, head on over on Saturday (9/10) between 2-4pm.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Some Updates from Acadia - Our Local Fine Dinning Spot

Looks like Acadia is welcoming back two former employees (via Eater):
After one left to open his own restaurant and the other bounced around at multiple restaurants and bars, two high-profile staffers have returned to two-Michelin-starred Acadia. According to a news release, Jason Prah is back at Ryan McCaskey’s gem as sommelier following his opening and closing of Bascule Wine Bar (plus his joining of Fork and its forthcoming sister restaurant Knife as general manager), while oft-traveled cocktail guru Michael Simon has also rejoined as beverage director following stints at ROOF at the Wit, State & Lake, Celeste, Charcoal Bar, Qui in Austin, Carriage House, and The Bedford. The restaurant has unveiled a new bar menu that includes a banh mi with "pho" hoisin glazed pork belly and "Kentucky fried" Jidori chicken with kimchi collard greens and honey. Look for changes in the beverage menus too.
The big news here is the new bar menu - banh mi anyone?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Architect Hired to Guide Design of 62-Acre "Rezko" Lot

Some new news on one of the Sloop's most transformative proposals (via Crains):
After years overseeing the design of skyscrapers in China and other Asian countries for Skidmore Owings & Merrill, architect Michael Pfeffer has moved to developer Related Midwest to take on two potentially iconic projects in his hometown.  
The Chicago-based development firm has hired Pfeffer, 38, as vice president of architecture. Pfeffer will guide the design of developments on the former Chicago Spire site at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive and a vacant 62-acre property along the Chicago River in the South Loop.
Aerial shot of 62-acre vacant lot in the Sloop (via Curbed - Google)
It's been pretty quiet recently on this project, so any news is welcomed.

Most interesting was some of the info on what's next:
Earlier this year, Related Midwest struck a deal to develop the 62-acre parcel that connects the South Loop to Chinatown. Previously, Antoin "Tony" Rezko—the former fundraiser and adviser to imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich who himself served a prison sentence after being convicted of fraud and money laundering—planned to build more than 4,000 homes on the site. 
That sprawling project, a virtual city within the city, is expected to include residential, retail and office space. 
Related Midwest expects to start conducting public meetings to outline plans for both projects in 2017, Bailey said.
So we guess we will hear more next year.  Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Development Planned for Vacant NW Corner of Polk/Dearborn Cut Down to 7 Stories

About a month ago a reader sent us an email wondering if the fence coming down at the NW corner of Polk and Dearborn could mean the 15 story "micro-apartment" project was moving forward.

Didn't seem like anyone had any intel on that, but yesterday Curbed Chicago had a post outlining a scaled down version of the plan:
A long-discussed apartment proposal slated for an empty lot at the northwest corner of Dearborn and Polk Streets in Chicago’s Printer’s Row neighborhood looks to have been slashed from its original height of 15 stories down to just seven. The latest images come from LG Development’s website which also mentions an updated unit count of 60 — a considerable reduction from the 130 micro apartments and extended stay units presented to neighbors earlier this year.

Seems like a relatively ho-hum update.  If anything it seems like good news that there are still plans to build something here. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Underground Exploration Begins for 48-Story High-rise at 1320 S. Michigan

A reader writes in regard to the proposed high-rise at 1320 S. Michigan:
Earlier this week construction vehicles from the company Strata appear to have started underground exploration of the lot. Spoke with the parking attendant, he says he expects to be out by the end of September.

As you may remember about a year ago, this rendering for a 48-story building came out:
(Hat tip:  NS!)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

PDNA Information about South Loop Neighborhood Watch Groups

Given the recent spat of info on shootings, figure we would post about PDNA's efforts to keep the neighborhood informed:
SOUTH LOOP NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH INFORMATION For the last few years, the PDNA has promoted crime incident communication...
Posted by Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016

Signage Goes Up for Victory Tap at 1416 S. Michigan

Judging by this pic, looks like signage for Armand's Pizzeria and Victory Tap is up:

As a reminder, back in April we posted about this new restaurant opening at the former City Tavern/Grace O'Malley's spot on south Michigan.

Looking forward to trying this one out.

(Hat tip: GK!)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

5-Story Mall Gets Construction Green Light from City

In case you missed this one last week, it appears like the new mall at Jefferson and Taylor is close to moving forward (via Curbed):
A new retail development is ready to make its way into the quickly developing South Loop neighborhood. A permit has just been issued allowing developers to start construction on a new five-story retail complex at 909 S. Jefferson Street. Unveiled earlier this year, the project is expected to deliver over 100,000-square-feet of commercial space along with two levels of below-grade parking with 209 spaces. However, the proposal presented earlier this year was for a four-story development while the permit indicates that the project being built will be a five-story complex.

Spring of 2017 seems optimistic, but we will see.

As you may recall we posted about this back in January of 2016.