Friday, December 15, 2017

Half Sour (755 S. Clark) Opening Tomorrow Saturday, December 16th?

Looks like the gang at Printers Row Brewing (didn't really know that existed) has a potential scoop on Half Sour opening tomorrow:
This just in, Half Sour on Clark to open this Saturday December 16th! We are excited to share that we met the awesome team behind this new establishment and look forward to being featured on tap for their opening! You can also find Printer's Row Brewing 'Out of Sorts' creamy light brown ale with vanilla bean on tap at First Draft. Kasey's Tavern on Dearborn will also being releasing Out of Sorts this Thursday December 14th at 7 pm. Come have a beer with us. Cheers! 
Printers Row Brewing Team
First let's start with the Half Sour news.  Last we heard they were planning on a late November opening - but as far as we know that didn't happen.  Hopefully this is true, because their Instagram pics are simply delicious:
A post shared by Half Sour (@halfsourchicago) on

The other news here is what is Printer's Row Brewing?  We're not 100% sure, but don't think they have their own facility.  Their facebook page describes them as:
Printer's Row Brewing is another great, quality craft beer in the Chicago landscape of ever-growing micro breweries.
However, we think back to the days of small town or city breweries that cater to their direct and small population, such as our home of the historic, beautiful and unique, Printer's Row, Chicago.

It's an area of great local people, business, architecture and history which we love and hope to provide the finest beer for!

Looking forward to trying both of these spots!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

South Loop Holiday Lights - Where Are They?

A fun and festive post from the Greater South Loop Association's Facebook Page:
#SouthLoop holiday lights - where are they??? 
We took a little jaunt around the neighborhood and thought we'd share some spots where we noticed some really spectacular light displays! 
Areas with a blue outline indicate spots where an evening bike ride, drive, or walk might inspire some holiday cheer among the townhomes and stand-alone homes in the area.

And don't forget to look UP! The areas with red outline represent a few buildings where we noticed that quite a few high-rise dwellers took the time to share their festive holiday spirit with the rest of the neighborhood.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

World of Beers Not Opening at Roosevelt Collection

For those of you wondering, it appears the World of Beer is not going to be opening up at Roosevelt Collection.  As you may recall, we posted back in November of last year signs appearing at a prominent location at the shopping center:

Upon a recent trip to pick up some Nando's we noticed that the signage was down.  We did some searching and found confirmation via Hello South Loop and a comment from their facebook page:
Hi all! I work for the retail management office at Roosevelt Collection. World of Beer is no longer coming, but our leasing team is working on bringing a new restaurant option to that space ASAP that will be worth the wait! I'll share an update in this group when we have news!

So it appears that this is confirmed.  Hopefully RC brings something good to the spot!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Woman in Car Robbed at 1200 block of South Michigan

More scary stuff (via Tribune):
A woman was robbed at gunpoint in her own vehicle Saturday morning in the South Loop, according to Chicago police.

It happened around 8:35 a.m. in the 1200 block of South Michigan Avenue, police said.

The woman, 32, told police she was sitting inside her Mercedes-Benz sedan when an unknown man entered the car and demanded her purse at gunpoint.

After taking her purse, the man got out of the car and entered a black SUV waiting for him and fled, police said.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Developer CMK Buys Property on South Wabash from Columbia

Some real estate news for South Wabash (via Crains):
One of the busiest residential developers in the South Loop has found another site for a big project, buying a parcel just a few blocks west of Soldier Field from Columbia College Chicago.

A venture led by CMK paid $6.5 million in late October for the property at 1415 S. Wabash Ave., according to Cook County property records. It's a neighborhood the Chicago developer knows well: The site is just a block south of a 144-unit condo tower CMK built at 1345 S. Wabash and a new 305-unit CMK apartment building at 1333 S. Wabash.

At 32,400 square feet, CMK's new property could accommodate a large building as well, though it's unclear what the developer plans. CMK President Colin Kihnke did not respond to a call or email.

Kihnke has shown a fondness for Wabash Avenue, but he's got even more going on several blocks northwest, on a riverside tract between Congress Parkway and Roosevelt Road. A CMK joint venture is building a 452-unit apartment tower at 726 S. Wells St. and plans a 340-unit condo-and-townhouse project nearby, the first buildings within Riverline, a residential development that could encompass more than 3,600 homes.

Should be interesting what transpires here.  Seems like it would be a complete tear-down...obviously.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Not Just Cookies Gearing Up for Official Grand Opening

Back in October we heard that a new place - Not Just Cookies - was moving into 901 S. Plymouth court where a longstanding cleaners had been.  It looks like they have had a soft opening over the past couple of weeks and are gearing up for their official grand opening this Saturday.

We stopped by last weekend and they're still working on the buildout:
Anyway, we grabbed some turtle cookies ($7 for a half-dozen).  They had pies and a variety of other cookies out, but last weekend their displays were probably a third full.  It looks like they'll also serve coffee.

It's a pretty unique business and we'll be curious to see how they do.  It's pretty easy to miss the spot, but for their sake we hope that means rent is lower as well.

Anyway, the cookies were pretty delicious.  Looking to try some more soon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

CPS Finalizes Plans to Convert National Teachers Academy to a Neighborhood High School; Chicago Board of Education to Vote on Plan in Early 2018

In case you missed it last week, some news on the National Teachers Academy being converted into a neighborhood high school (via Sun-Times):
An outcry from parents — and the highest possible academic rating— could not save the National Teachers Academy from being closed in favor of a new neighborhood high school serving parts of the South Loop, Bronzeville, Bridgeport and Chinatown. 
The Chicago Public Schools made that clear Friday, finalizing school closing and consolidation decisions previously on the drawing board and at least one new action.

Under the plan, the elementary school would be phased out over several years.

In October, protesters gathered outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house, voicing their opposition to the plan to close the school, located at 55 W. Cermak Road. Protesters have said the decision to convert NTA is “the definition of neocolonialism.”
There has been a lot of discussion around the neighborhood about the topic and we doubt this is the end of that debate (although it sounds like CPS has made their decision).

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Don't Miss the Holiday Train

Well folks - we are late our annual Holiday Train post and that means there is a decent chance you missed the festive activity rolling through our South Loop stations.  Sorry about that. 

Don't fret!  If you're really wanting to see it, the train will be on the Red Line in a couple of weeks (via Sun Times):

  • Green & Orange lines: Friday, Nov. 24
  • Green Line: Saturday, Nov. 25
  • Green & Orange lines: Tuesday, Nov. 28
  • Orange & Brown lines: Wednesday, Nov. 29 thru Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Pink Line: Tuesday, Dec. 5 through Wednesday, Dec. 6
  • Blue Line: Thursday, Dec. 7 through Saturday, Dec. 9
  • Red Line: Tuesday, Dec. 12
  • Purple Line: Wednesday, Dec. 13
  • Red Line: Thursday, Dec. 14
  • Purple Line: Friday, Dec. 15
  • Red & Purple lines: Saturday, Dec. 16
  • Purple Line: Thursday, Dec. 21
  • Yellow Line: Friday, Dec. 22

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pazzo's Open at 825 S. State

It was just a couple months ago when Pazzo's signs appeared on the vacant retail space that used to be for Jimmy Greens (825 S. State).  Fast forward to Sunday morning, and it looks like Pazzo's is officially open:

As you can see in the picture above, their windows were open and they were handing out menus.  We spoke to one of the people and they said it's a limited menu, but looked pretty good to us.

We also took a quick glimpse inside the place and it looked relatively familiar.  The orientation of the place hasn't changed at all, but it does look like some of the "modern sports bar" touches are no longer there.  That being said, it did look like many of the TVs were still operating.

Has anyone tried them out yet?  Let us know.

Friday, December 1, 2017

More Residential Living Coming to Michigan Avenue: Ebony Building (820 S. Michigan) to be Converted to 150 Rental Apartments

Looks like more residential living is coming to Michigan Avenue (via Curbed):
Once home to Chicago-based Ebony and Jet magazines, South Michigan Avenue’s 11-story Johnson Publishing Building is preparing to start its transformation from office space to 150 rental apartments. Today, developer 3L Real Estate announced that it has acquired the old building from Columbia College and expects to start work on the conversion in early 2018.

Built in 1971, the tower was designed by John Warren Moutoussamy, an architect who studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The tower represents the first and only downtown Chicago high-rise to be designed by an African American. Vacant for the past seven years, Johnson Publishing was designated a city landmark earlier this fall.

Its new owners intend to leave the tower’s iconic Ebony/Jet sign at the building as well as add a new rooftop deck. The 150 unit mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments will average over 500 square feet and rent for between $1,200 to $2,700 per month, says the developer.
It's not a surprise that more and more residential living options are coming to the Sloop given all the reasons we love living down here.  That being said, it seems like an insane amount of inventory will be available in the next 3-5 years.

Even if there is a bubble, we favor this type of activity versus a more cautious approach.  Having more and more living options will naturally mean more people and more neighborhood amenities (shopping, restaurants, etc).

All that being said...traffic congestion is a huge concern...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lobo Rey Chef Teams Up for Cannabis-Infused Supper Club Coming in December

Ummm, this is interesting and with one of the neighborhoods newest chefs at Lobo Rey (via Eater):
Herbal Notes, a California-based supper club that serves cannabis-infused meals, is coming to Chicago next month. They’ll serve six courses with an infused beverage and a take-home bag — and no, it’s not “technically” legal. But that’s not deterring chef and founder Manny Mendoza, a High Times Harvest Cup chef finalist who started Herbal Notes to educate people about cannabis and break away from stoner culture.
Mendoza is teaming up with Chicago chef Daniel Espinoza from Lobo Rey to hold the meal on December 4. They’ve haven’t found a location yet, as Mendoza’s been scouring the city and said they “don’t want to attract the wrong attention.” The dinners, Mendoza said, create a safe space for people to talk about “changing the stigma about what marijuana is and what cannabis is and having a really meaningful conversation about what’s going on in the city.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Reader: In Search of a Natural Christmas Tree

A reader writes:
We live on 14th and Wabash and we are going to buy our tree tomorrow. Do you know where can we buy a natural tree this year? We were sad to see that Bob's is no longer in Printer's Row.

I hope you know other options like a local church or something. Thank you!
It's been a couple of years since Bob's closed down and frankly we haven't seen many spots pop-up since.  Any readers have any insights?

(Hat tip: FG!)

Monday, November 27, 2017

8 Robberies in the last Month? WTF!

More robberies (via ABC7):
Police have urged residents in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood to be on alert following eight armed robberies in the last month.

The two most recent ones happened just blocks from each other on Saturday.

One happened near 21st and Indiana. Police said two armed men jumped out of a black SUV and pushed a woman to ground and then took her purse.

In another incident, also involving a black SUV and another vehicle, four armed men robbed and carjacked the victims.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5th Robbing Incident In Grant Park Shakes the Community

A string of incidents in Grant Park cause for alarm (via Tribune):
In the fifth attack at Grant Park in two weeks, two Columbia College students were robbed at the skating rink early Wednesday, Chicago police said.  
The two men, 18 and 19, were in the 100 block of East Roosevelt Road when three men approached them around 12:20 a.m., police said. The men indicated they had a weapon and demanded the students' cellphones.  
The robbery occurred a little more than 24 hours after a man was robbed and beaten by four men just a few blocks away, in the 600 block of South Michigan Avenue.

If these are related - and it seems like they are - the robbers are clearly acting in a brazen manner.  It's not a discrete place and the repeated frequency in close proximity makes it seem like they will strike again.

Be careful out there...

(Hat tip:  AR!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

You Know It's Hard Out Here for a Pizza Eater...

From Sun-Times:
SEEN ON THE SCENE: Fans of “Empire” — and star Terrence Howard — were delighted to spot the actor dining at Lou Malnati’s South Loop location the other night.

Hopefully he got The Lou!

PS - if you didn't get the headline, watch this:

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Nice Write-Up about the Area Around 14th and Michigan

A little bit of a puff piece, but it's always nice to read about the neighborhood (via Tribune):
Fossils at the Field Museum, beluga whales at the Shedd Aquarium and Bears touchdowns at Soldier Field — the stretch near the South Loop’s lakefront is home to many of the city’s treasures.
Head slightly southwest, near the corner of 14th Street and Michigan Avenue, and you’ll happen upon a trove of a different kind.

Part of the city’s historic Motor Row District, the area rose to prominence in the early 20th century. Most automotive businesses have left the stretch, but with easy access to Lake Michigan, museums and plenty of locations for food and drink, it’s still a strip worth driving — or calling home sweet home.

Sink your teeth into this: For a dining experience that will appeal to foodies, historians or anyone with an affection for firefighters, try Chicago Firehouse Restaurant (1401 S. Michigan Ave.). Once home to Engine Co. 104 of the Chicago Fire Department, the restaurant, which made a comeback after a fire in 2014, preserves its Romanesque revival architecture and honors firefighters in both design and mission.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

New Devices Help Monitor Pollution and Those Don't Paint a Good Picture for the Sloop

This is...troubling (via Tribune):
With an array of palm-size devices strapped across her chest and connected wirelessly to her smartphone, Gail Merritt discovered the air in the South Loop might be a lot dirtier than expected.

Merritt and her group of volunteer pollution hunters had assumed the low-cost sensors they carried during daily walks would confirm their fast-growing neighborhood had relatively decent air quality, at least when compared with the gritty industrial corridors in other parts of Chicago.

Color-coded graphs that popped up on Merritt's screen during an unseasonably warm October afternoon told a more complicated story. Something as common as a CTA bus or city garbage truck passing by caused the amount of lung-damaging particulate matter in the air to temporarily jump off the charts.

Just as concerning were spikes of pollution that turned up when the group reviewed data from a different air monitor stationed for three weeks in Dearborn Park, a quiet, tree-lined square framed by high-rise condominiums.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Team Rehabilitation Coming Soon to 2100 Block of South Michigan

Looks like Team Rehabilitation is opening up a new location on the 2100 block of South Michigan next to the Bar Method:

From their website:
Team Rehab is a network of therapist-owned outpatient physical therapy clinics in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Georgia. 
Our mission is to provide the best outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. We want our patients to enjoy therapy and experience clear improvements in their health. Our clinics receive the highest levels of patient satisfaction and our patients receive the best objectively measurable outcomes. Our strategy, based on excellent quality and patient satisfaction, is gaining momentum.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Scary Road Rage Incident Comes to the Sloop

Ummm...yikes (via Tribune):
38-year-old man got out of his car to confront another driver in the South Side's Bronzeville neighborhood when he saw the motorist flash a handgun Friday morning, Chicago police said.
The 38-year-old hurried back to his car to drive away from the 3700 block of South Indiana Avenue. That's when he heard several gunshots about 10:40 a.m., police said.

Responding officers, who had a description of the suspect's car, arrested a man in the 2000 block of South Michigan Avenue in the South Loop, police said. A firearm was located.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Kome "Now Open" at 1303 S. Michigan

It looks like Kome Japanese Eatery is now open according to the sign in their window.  Additionally, their Yelp profile has 12 reviews and currently a 5 star rating.  Seems like they're off to a pretty good start. 

As a reminder this has been in the works since June (see old Sloopin post).

I'd like to eat this:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Columbia College New Student Center Breaking Ground on 11/13

Via Curbed Chicago:
Announced in May, a new five-story student center for Columbia College Chicago is gearing up to break ground in the coming days. Headed to a school-owned lot at the northwest corner of Wabash Avenue and 8th Street in the heart of Columbia’s South Loop urban campus, the modern structure will be the school’s first dedicated, ground-up student center since its founding in 1890.

Featuring 114,000 square feet of flexible space, the complex will include educational offerings such as dance studios, study lofts, and maker labs as well as recreational spaces like a fitness center and dining area. Designed by global architecture firm Gensler’s local Chicago office, the building will be wrapped in glass to showcase the activities within.

This should provide another nice shot in the arm to Wabash and the surrounding area.  This likely will mean a substantial amount of buzz for the area.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

South Loop Market Opens at 9th and State

A reader writes:
South Loop Market (9th/State) is open - While they don't have every SKU on shelves, their doors opened yesterday morning. While their produce was meager, they had a surprisingly large booze section and a counter in the back for pastries and (I believe?) sandwiches.

(Hat tip:  DS!)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New Listing: Who Has $8.1M?

Looks like some rich person is going to have some nice digs in the Sloop (via Curbed):
Still months away from breaking ground, Chicago’s 832-foot-tall 1000M condo tower is steadily ramping up its marketing efforts. Over the weekend, the first residential unit in the upcoming skyscraper—a nearly 5,500-square-foot penthouse on the 71st floor—hit the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for an eye-watering $8.1 million.

Featuring four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a private terrace, and higher than standard ceilings, the unbuilt residence is seeking nearly $1500 per foot. It would be located directly below the tower’s 72nd floor resident lounge and wrap-around outdoor terrace.

Interestingly, this would more than double the highest condo sale in the Sloop:
The current record for a South Loop condominium sale stands at “just” $3.2 million. It was set in July of last year by a five-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot unit overlooking Grant Park’s southern edge, reported Crain’s.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 Appears to be Coming to 1325 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
I noticed there’s movement at this spot, which used to have “The Vault” signage. Looks like we’re getting an I Love Kickboxing chain just a couple doors down from UFC. Perhaps they’ll have a battle royale for South Loop supremacy?

We're not familiar with but apparently there is a strong desire for cardiovascular activities in the Sloop.

(Hat tip:  JC!)

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Worse than a Porta-Potty at Lollapalooza"

Because we like to laugh and Lollapalooza is in our backyard and this rings true (via SNL at 5:40 mark):

Friday, November 3, 2017

Soldier Field in the Running to Host Some 2026 World Cup Matches

In case you missed this, a big sports event might be coming to our hood...well in 8ish years (via Sun Times):
Chicago’s bid to host games during the 2026 World Cup looks strong.
The city has extensive experience with major conventions and international events. There also has been no shortage of prominent soccer games, notably during the 1994 World Cup and the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Infrastructure wouldn’t be an issue. Centrally located, Chicago is flanked by two international airports and has more than enough hotel rooms, restaurants and attractions to satisfy the influx of guests from around the world.

But it's not only Chicago's to lose.  It's a part of a bigger multi-country bid:
Chicago is one of 25 U.S. cities — and 32 total — left in contention to host games as part of the United Bid Committee’s campaign to bring the tournament to North America. The United Bid Committee is a combined effort between the soccer federations of the United States, Canada and Mexico, and it’s expected to beat out Morocco to win the rights to the 2026 tournament.

“It’s really nice that there is the collaborative bid with the three nations,” Bachman said. “I think it’s just a good message, a good vibe. It’s a different and unique approach they haven’t really seen before, and that just brings an even greater positive impact.”

Would be fun even if it's a long ways away.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Woman Gives Birth to Twins at Roosevelt L Stop

We must have just missed this yesterday - crazy stuff (via Sun-Times):
The Wednesday morning rush took a serious detour for a Chicago woman who gave birth to healthy twin girls at the Roosevelt CTA station.

About 7:30 a.m., Chicago Police officers on patrol in the subway portion of the South Loop L stop heard a commotion from upstairs. They found a woman in her 30s going into labor just past the turnstile, authorities said.

By the time Chicago Fire Department paramedics Maire Shields and Rosa Perez got there, the woman had given birth to one girl with the help of the officers and CTA staff.

After a few pushes, Baby No. 2 showed up right on schedule 6 minutes later, but showed some signs of possible distress, the paramedics said. Shields tapped the girl’s foot and rubbed her chest, trying to get a healthy response.

“I just said, ‘Baby, wake up! Baby cry!’ And she did. She listened,” said Shields, who cut the umbilical cord.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Group Fighting to Keep National Teachers Academy (NTA) as an Elementary School Gets in the Halloween Spirit

A reader writes:
Spotted in the South Loop Elementary School neighborhood today. I know the group fighting against the high school proposal is very active - picketing at Rahm's house and speaking at the School Board meetings. I hope it doesn't turn to school versus school. Everyone would lose.

(Hat tip:  SLM!)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

President Who Didn't Collude with Russia Holds First Ever Foundation Summit Tomorrow in the Sloop

A big event starts today in the Sloop (via ABC7):
Former President Barack Obama will return to Chicago Tuesday for the first-ever Obama Foundation Summit, a two-day event that aims to inspire a new generation of leaders. 
The summit will feature about 500 civic leaders from around Chicago, the United States, and the world who will host lectures, workshops and interactive events. Summit participants will attend five main stage sessions with talks on topics ranging from motivating young people to choose a civic path to technology's role in creating equitable and inclusive communities.

Along with a star-studded array of special guests, the summit will end with a concert features Chicago's Chance the Rapper, Gloria Estefan, and The National. The concert will be open to the community, but only about 1,500 tickets will be distributed. The concert will be live-streaming on YouTube. The summit will take place at the Marriott Marquis McCormick Place, the concert will be at the Wintrust Arena on East Cermak Road in the South Loop.

Heads-up - traffic might be a little tighter - especially in the south side of the Sloop!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tribune: Man in Custody After Sexual Assault on Sunday

Another scary one (via Tribune):
One man is in custody after he sexually assaulted a woman in a South Loop building Sunday morning, according to Chicago police.

Police responded to a report of criminal sexual assault in the first block of East 16th Street just before 6 a.m. Sunday. When officers arrived, a 31-year-old woman told them a man had sexually assaulted her after somehow gaining access to a residence, police said.

The man fled when a witness interrupted the incident, police said, but he was placed into custody soon after by the responding officers.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Last Printer in Printers Row

A fun read on the last printer in Printers Row (via WTTW):
In its heyday, Printers Row was home to some of the most famous printers in the United States.

The magazine and catalogue publisher R. R. Donnelley & Sons, prominent mapmaker Rand McNally and children’s book publisher M.A. Donohue & Company called the area home during the first half of the 20th century.

But today, there’s only one printer left on Printers Row: Palmer Printing.

Founded in 1937 by German immigrant Everett Palmer, Palmer Printing uses offset lithography, a printing technique in which an image is burned onto an aluminum plate that’s then fed into a press where rubber rollers transfer that image onto paper.

The company also uses the CMYK color model, which is built on cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.

There is also a good segment if you're interested:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Half Sour (755 S. Clark) Shooting for Late November Opening?

We stumbled upon a piece of information we weren't aware of (via Chicago Tribune):
Steingold’s is the first of a growing number of new Jewish-style delis. Others expected to open soon include Milt’s Extra Innings in Wrigleyville on Oct. 30, and Half Sour in the South Loop in late November. Jared Leonard, best known for The Budlong Hot Chicken and BBQ Supply Co. restaurants, plans to open Norm’s Deli in Uptown next year in his food hall project Beacon St. Market. Leonard currently smokes meat for Steingold’s.

The article focuses on Steingold's, but gives us a hint of an opening date for the Sloop's new deli - Half Sour (755 S. Clark).  As a reminder, we wrote about Half Sour back in late September.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Thief Breaks Into Gioco and Opens Safe with Pots & Pans

A strange story (via NBC5):
Like something out of a heist movie, surveillance video caught a thief breaking into a South Loop restaurant's safe last week using kitchen items and a large file, ultimately making off with thousands of dollars. The suspect tried to break into two businesses early Friday morning on the 1300 block of South Wabash, police said. He managed to get into Gioco, an Italian restaurant on the block, by smashing in the front door.

The suspect tried to break into two businesses early Friday morning on the 1300 block of South Wabash, police said. He managed to get into Gioco, an Italian restaurant on the block, by smashing in the front door.
Also sounds like the thief tried to get into Flo & Santos next door but was scared away by an employee who was inside.

(Hat tip:  JM!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Look at the Pros/Cons of the Sloop Sites Listed as Potential Spots for Amazon HQ2

Rendering of The 78 from Related Midwest

The Amazon HQ2 speculation is high.  All proposals were due to the tech behemoth last week and more and more details continue to emerge.

As reported, in the Chicago proposal ten different sites were posed for Amazon.  Three of the locations are in or very close to the Sloop (depending on your definition of the neighborhoods boundaries) - via Chicago Tribune:

The 78 
Related Midwest has not disclosed specific details of its plans to bring Amazon to a 62-acre site along the river in the South Loop. In May, the firm said it wants to build more than 10 million square feet of residential, office, retail and hotel space on the vacant land. The plan includes a half-mile-long riverwalk. An early name for the project is The 78, signifying plans to create the city's future 78th community area.
A proposed University of Illinois-led innovation center on the site, called Discovery Partners Institute, could have synergies with a tech-savvy office tenant. The huge riverfront parcel offers spectacular views of the Loop skyline. The developer's parent company, Related Cos., has experience with huge projects -- including Hudson Yards in New York.
The area is currently is viewed more as a residential market than an office destination. Extensive funding could be needed for transportation upgrades, including potential CTA Red Line and Metra train stations.

Burnham Lakefront plan from Farpoint Development

The Burnham Lakefront

A group of developers led by Farpoint Development and Draper & Kramer wants to bring residential and office towers to a sprawling parcel just south of McCormick Place and west of Lake Michigan, extending the downtown skyline south. The Bronzeville project includes the former Michael Reese Hospital site, as well as marshaling yards where trucks load materials for McCormick Place conventions.

Large sites near Lake Michigan are scarce. Some of the nation's best high-speed fiber-optic cable runs beneath the site -- a plus for technology companies.

It's in an undeveloped void between downtown and South Side neighborhoods. The development will likely require more transportation options. That includes a proposed new 31st Street station on the South Shore Line.

The Downtown Gateway District
Space would be combined in several nearby buildings, including the city's tallest, Willis Tower, and another of its largest, the old main post office. The long-vacant post office at Congress Parkway and the river is being redeveloped into 2.5 million square feet of offices, plus a food hall and other retail and a 4-acre rooftop park. The Union Station redevelopment and other buildings in the area are also part of the proposal.
Unlike ground-up developments, the existing buildings would easily meet Amazon's need for an initial 500,000 square feet of office space, as well as subsequent phases of growth. CTA and Metra trains are easily accessible.
Amazon would need to negotiate with several landlords for space. Existing buildings provide less flexibility in designing a campus to meet Amazon's needs.

If Amazon actually came to Chicago and chose one of these sites are neighborhood would be radically changed forever. 

This surely could be good and bad, but curious to hear thoughts.  Let us know.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Acadia Retains Michelin Two Star Rating for Third Year

In case you missed, on Friday the Michelin stars were announced and Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) retained it's two star rating for the third consecutive year.  It's a pretty special honor and puts them in a top tier of Chicago restaurants.

It's been awhile since we've been to the dinning room, but man o man we love the bar both for their food and drinks.

Anyway, congrats to Chef Ryan McCaskey and the crew at Acadia.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mai Tai Officially Open at 614 S. Wabash

We posted about the impending opening of Mai Tai at 614 S. Wabash, but the Tribune has a quick blurb on it and it appears it's open (tribune):
SOUTH LOOP — Pad thai and sushi come together at Mai Tai, which features lunch specials for those working downtown. Other menu items include curries, fried rice and other pan-Asian favorites. 614 S. Wabash Ave. 312-583-9633,
Has anyone been?  Good?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Governor Rauner and University of Illinois Proposing "Discovery Partners Institute" on Related Midwest's 62-Acre South Loop Land

The latest and most concrete news on some of the intended plans for Related Midwest 62 acre vacant South Loop lot (via Tribune):
Gov. Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois are pursuing a sprawling innovation center in the South Loop with two other research universities, but the project’s backers have yet to forge a political consensus and a lack of detail about how it would be funded has created uncertainty about the project.

Rauner is backing the University of Illinois-led Discovery Partners Institute, a public-private facility for conducting specialized research in an array of fields, including computing and big data, food and agriculture, and health and wellness.
Seems like the Tribune is pretty skeptical on this one.

Anyway, another interesting tidbit is that Related is said to be "donating" the South Loop land:
Killeen said the university wants to recruit 90 new faculty members and up to 1,800 students to the center, whose total cost has not been finalized but potentially would attract hundreds of millions in investment. No opening date has been set, but a location has emerged in the South Loop on highly coveted land to be donated by the development company Related Midwest.
We'll be curious to understand what "donating" really means, but regardless it would certainly provide this development with a nice, high-profile anchor that they could build around.

For the broader Sloop neighborhood, this would also add more students to the neighborhood (in our opinion a good thing!).  Cynics will first question how this development - and the density it could bring - would be handled from a traffic standpoint.  Roosevelt road is often a parking lot of traffic and this undoubtedly would make it worse.

With that said, the renderings are drool worthy.  If this materializes how it's drawn up above, it would really make for a new dynamic development in the Sloop.

So Sloopsters - what do you think?

(Hat tip:  AR, CH, GM!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Hotel & Arena on Cermak a Step in the Right Direction for the Neighborhood

Yesterday we posted about some retail openings on Cermak and today we post about Blair Kamin's take on the new Marriott Marquis and the Wintrust Arena.  All in all, he's not super impressed with the architectural additions, but did note that simply building these structures were a step in the right direction for the area (via Chicago Tribune):
However one comes down on the issue of whether the hotel and arena were worth building, it’s likely that they will advance McPier’s goal of creating a vibrant convention and entertainment district. But achieving that goal will require the endurance of a marathon, not the short-burst energy of sprint. There are good steps here and they could some day help lead to a buzzing South Loop version of the city’s revitalized Near West Side. But it will take much more, particularly the restoration and re-use of historic buildings in the nearby Motor Row district, to make the area around McCormick Place walkable and an authentic part of Chicago — in short, a place with a there there.

We were recently down in the area and while it still lacks the buzz of Roosevelt or some of the streets north of that, it does feel like it's moving in the right direction.  We'll see if it can be sustained.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Steve's Bite Opens at 80 E. Cermak

Looks like a new diner type of restaurant has opened at 67 E. Cermak (between Michigan and Wabash).  We can't find much online in the form of a website or yelp reviews.  A reader sent us the following pic of their menu:

Additionally, we noticed that Chef Luciano has done some additional renovations and has opted for a very clean, modern look for their restaurant.

This stretch of Cermak continue to evolve.  Should be curious if the momentum continues.

(Hat tip:  NL!)

Monday, October 16, 2017

No Sloop Restaurants Earn Michelin Bib Gourmand Ranking

The Michelin Bib Gourmand rankings are out again and again no South Loop spots make the grade.  If you're not familiar with these rankings, here is how they're classified (via Eater):
The Bib Gourmands reward "quality restaurants that have menu items that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (excluding tax and gratuity)." Restaurant owners, including the owners of San Soo Gab San, have said the honor often attracts new customers.
As far as we can tell, the last restaurants in the South Loop to earn the classification was Kurah and Opart Thai during the 2015 awards.  Why they fell of in subsequent years - your guess is as good as ours.

As of now, it doesn't seem like the Sloop has many "Bib's" on the horizon.  Maybe Lobo Rey could be considered for next year?  Outside of that not sure...

The "Bib's" are awarded the week before the more prestigious Michelin stars come out.  So expect to hear some news on that front this week.  The venerable South Loop fine dinning spot Acadia likely will earn stars again.  For the past two years, it has earned two-stars which puts it in a rarefied dinning class in the city.  Curious to see if they can make it three years in a row.