Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Walgreen's Plans to Move into Old Post Office

Pretty big news from last week (via Chicago Tribune):
Walgreens plans to relocate 1,800 employees to Chicago’s former main post office, including 1,300 workers who will move from its north suburban headquarters campus.

The Deerfield-based drugstore giant on Friday confirmed it has leased about 200,000 square feet in the building at 433 W. Van Buren St., a day after the Tribune first reported the deal. Walgreens Boots Alliance said it will move into the massive riverfront building, now known as the Old Post Office, in fall 2019.

In addition to the 1,300 jobs moving from Deerfield, about 500 employees working in a downtown office in the Sullivan Center — the former Carson Pirie Scott building on State Street — will move to the new space. Walgreens will maintain its headquarters in Deerfield, which will house 3,200 employees.

There have been some rumors about this for awhile (see post from Sloopin back in 2014), so it seems like Walgreens has had their eye on this building.  All in all, seems like a pretty good development for the neighborhood if you're an advocate of more people means more things to do.  The flip side of that is more congestion.  We've been saying this for awhile, but hopefully there are some plans for additional east/west routes (maybe at Taylor?).

Additionally, it appears that Amazon won't be coming to this building - which really doesn't come as a surprise.  Bigger question is whether or not Chicago has any shot at landing Amazon.

Regardless, nice to see some positive movement announced for the Post Office.

Monday, June 18, 2018

New Sneaker Shop Coming to Corner of State and Archer

A reader writes:
As someone who loves sneakers this is exciting, not exciting for my wallet since I live next door.

At the corner of State and Archer (1843 S State)a brand new boutique sneaker store is opening soon. Spoke to someone setting the store up today. Looks like it could be opening up soon. Most of the store looked ready to go just have to wait for them to stock the shelves.

Sounds pretty interesting. 

Succezz - at 1329 S. Michigan - has been a staple in the Sloop for just under 10 years so maybe another sneaker store will thrive.  Curious to see how they do and welcome to the neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  BL!)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Head on Over to Half Sour (755 S. Clark) Tonight to Listen to Some Music and Raise Some Funds for a Local Park

Looking for something fun tonight - head on over to Half Sour for a fundraiser for the local Jefferson  Playlot at 1618 S. Jefferson (link to event):

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Retail Complex Coming to 1113 S. Jefferson?

More retail coming maybe coming to the Sloop (via Crains):
A Chicago developer is drawing up plans for another big retail project near the Roosevelt Road shopping strip, a cluster of stores and restaurants that has expanded with the South Loop's rising population.

A venture of GW Properties paid $10.4 million for the 77,000-square-foot property at 1113 S. Jefferson St., the site of a Marathon gas station and garage, confirmed GW principal Mitch Goltz.

He said GW plans a three-building retail project on the site, just north of Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen and just west of the Maxwell, a big shopping center that opened a few years ago. Goltz was short on specifics but said GW is already courting tenants for the development and aims to have news about leases over the summer.

We will see.  This area in general has seen a lot of plans come up, but never materialize.  Stay tuned.

(Hat tip: NS!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Can People Put Up Their Own Signs in a Public Park?

A reader writes:
We noticed that someone put up 'please be respectful' sign in the park (on the same wall where someone keeps trying to plant a vegetable garden...) 99% sure this is not any official city sign.

Can people just do that? Put up their own signs in a public park? How does one find out if that's even a real sign?

Looking online it does show that park supposedly has a 'community garden' but that seems impossible considering the layout.

I feel like that park is getting more and more unwelcoming, with people turning it into their living room with cook outs and a TV when the weather is nice, the home made sign on the grass hill about not disturbing the grass, and now the sign stating that dogs are not allowed to to their business on the mulch.

We would assume you can't just put a sign on public property, but then again we doubt the city is going to do much stop inconspicuous things like this.  All that being said...just as equally as they probably shouldn't be doing that...you probably can just take it down if you would like?

(Hat tip:  SL!)

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Saga Continues at River City

River City (image via YoChicago!)
The saga continues at River City (via Crains):
The deal a developer struck in December to pay $100 million for all 448 condos at the River City complex in the South Loop has fallen apart, and the developer made a new offer yesterday to pay $89 million.

That amount is below Marc Realty Capital's offer of $92 million in February 2017, a bid that didn't get enough votes from homeowners. The firm increased its offer to $100 million in August, and in a December vote among homeowners, just over 79 percent of ownership approved the sale.

Under Illinois' condominium law, a bulk sale of all units in a building must be approved by at least 75 percent of ownership. A new offer will have to be put to a vote.

"I bet the vote would fail," River City homeowner Bob Olsen said in an email to Crain's. Olsen and his husband own three units in the building and live in one. "They'll still get the 55 percent to 60 percent who would vote yes at any price," Olsen wrote, but persuading another 20 percent or so to accept the lower price will be a challenge.
We've spent a decent amount of posts on the topic - 2/16/16 or this 8/15/17 or this 8/22/17 or this 12/22/17.

A reader also sent us this note:
Dear Sloopin’,
Remember a post from February, 2016 titled “Deconversion, A cautionary Tale?” That letter from one of your readers accurately predicted the future for River City owners exactly. At the end of 2017, after 2-1/2 years of relentless pursuit by Marc Realty, and 3 separate votes on “final offer” prices, River City Owners voted to accept a $100 million offer from Marc to sell the residential portion of the building that was due to close at the end of June 2018. Owners were even encouraged to sign closing documents in May to prepare for the closing. Some owners made arrangements to purchase other properties. On the day before Memorial Day weekend, the owners’ lawyers received a letter from Marc stating that they were not going to close on the purchase. They are subsequently demanding a reduction of more than 10% in the purchase price. After nearly 3 years of uncertainty, Marc has demanded a price cut at the exact time where a lot of owners have no choice except to agree to it. Another (fourth) vote will be necessary to approve the change in sale price and passage is far from sure, so River City owners have more months of uncertainty regarding their homes and property, all thanks to the lies and unethical behavior of Marc Realty.

A fed-up River City owner

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The 2018 Printers Row Lit Fest Starts Today

One of our favorite events in the Sloop starts today.  Here is a link to Readers write-up and how they start the article:
It's time once again for the Printers Row Lit Fest, which combines three of the greatest pleasures in life: walking, talking about books, and the serendipitous discovery of new books (sometimes at incredible prices). The fest goes on all weekend in the south Loop near the intersection of Dearborn and Polk with events inside Jones College Prep (700 S. State).

The article goes on to recommend a variety of events.  The one that looked most interesting to us was:
Young Chicago Authors: Louder Than a Bomb showcase, noon Chance the Rapper was part of YCA when he was a teenager. So was Eve Ewing. And Jamila Woods. And Femdot. Come see what the next wave of young Chicago poets is up to.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tea Pot Brew Bakery Coming to SW Corner of 18th/Wabash?

Remember our post from mid-May talking about a potential coffee shop coming to the small building on the SW corner of 18th and Wabash?

Well we recently read another piece of new news on the topic (via Eater Chicago and Prairie District Alliance):
SOUTH LOOP— There’s a business license for Tea Pot Brew Bakery at 1802 S. Wabash Avenue. The Prairie District Alliance Facebook page noticed the news. There’s no more info available at the moment.

A bakery?  Is it really a bakery?  There has always been a clamoring for some fresh bread products in the Sloop...maybe this is it.

(Hat tip:  TB!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Another Apartment Building Unveiled for the Sloop - This Time at SW Corner of Harrison and Wells

And the buildings keep on coming....(via curbed):
Chicago’s booming South Loop could soon welcome yet another apartment project, this time in the form of twin 14-story towers slated for the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison streets.
Known officially as Alta Grand Central, the development revealed its name and a single rendering via a new Instagram account late last week, first spotted by construction blog Building Up Chicago. Prior to that, the unnamed project was listed on May’s agenda of Chicago’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), as reported by Crain’s.
It seems crazy how much is being built...we will see soon if the demand is there. 

Regardless, we're big proponents of development as it fuels the cycle of growth in the neighborhood - buildings > people > restaurants > etc. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

City Looking to Cash-in on Big Lot on Clark Street Behind Police Station

Looks like the city is realizing that they're sitting on a nice piece of property and is ready to cash in (via Crain's):
As the city of Chicago fosters big new developments around the South Loop and Near South Side, it's also hoping to piggyback on them to boost its own coffers.

That's the idea behind the 2.4-acre parking lot at 1701 S. Clark St., which the city recently put on the market. The lot is used by the Chicago Police Department's 1st District.

Marketed by brokerage Cushman & Wakefield as a potential development site, the parcel is just a couple of blocks from the 62 acres of vacant land along the south branch of the Chicago River where developer Related Midwest plans a massive mixed-use project featuring as many as 10,000 new homes.

A few blocks southeast of the CPD lot, the city is vying to transform the neighborhood around McCormick Place into an entertainment district anchored by Wintrust Arena, which opened last fall.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Mysterious Art Instillation Appears on Clark Street

A reader writes:
On Thursday this popped up on Clark just a few feet from the makeshift memorial for the shooting that happened this week. No plaque or signage or anything. It’s metal and heavy, and bolted into the cement of the sidewalk.
It’s sorta right outside the door of the art gallery above Palmer Printing so I guess maybe it’s related to them, but that building is being replaced pretty soon. Any idea? Another possibility is that it’s for Printers Row Lit Fest but that usually doesn’t come up Clark.

(Hat tip: AD!)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Chilling Video Captures Moment After Murder on 700 S. Block of South Clark

Another chilling act of violence comes to the neighborhood (via Chicago Tribune):
Zack Stoner’s YouTube subscribers grew when he posted videos of opposing rap artists who talked “beef” about each other, his friends say.
But as Stoner’s eight-year-old channel topped more than 176,000 subscribers in the past six months, he decided to focus on a positive, anti-violence message for Chicago.

Stoner’s YouTube channel zacktv1 hosted hundreds of videos featuring music and interviews, most highlighting young talent in the city.

Early Wednesday, he was taking in a show at Refuge Live, a South Loop club at 416 S. Clark St., and posted an Instagram video of artists rapping under blue and purple lights.

Half an hour later, he lay dying three blocks away, shot in the head by someone in a passing car.

“I just felt like it was just unreal,” said Stoner’s friend Demetrius Nash, 40, a local activist. “They killed the potential of a young man, again. He hadn’t lived his best life yet. He was just beginning to understand the power of his platform and the influence he personally had on the city.”

Police say Stoner, 30, was shot around 1:30 a.m. in the 700 block of South Clark Street. He had been driving down Clark when someone in another car fired at him, hitting him in the head and neck. He was pronounced dead at 4:20 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The video - in the middle of the article - is especially chilling. 

(Hat tip: A!)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Teens Damage Property at Target During Holiday Weekend Loitering

This past holiday weekend was a beautiful one in the city.  However, one night we heard what sounded like 30 cop cars with sirens blaring at what seemed like the Roosevelt and State vicinity.  We weren't sure what was happening, but it sounded similar to what happens when protests come through the neighborhood.

With that said, we just read an interesting and disturbing article on the Tribune outlining a difficult predicament the Chicago Police department faced with a large number of teenagers:
The large group of teens had been wandering downtown and along the lake Sunday evening, but police decided it was time for the group to leave. 
The teens, numbering more than 100 and some deemed "borderline criminal" by police, were first steered onto Red Line trains that ran express from the Gold Coast to the South Side. Then they were chased from 31st Street Beach and began running through traffic on King Drive.
Beyond the fascinating read, the article did cite an incident at Target on Roosevelt:
All four nights of the holiday weekend, these extra patrols kept track of groups of teens as they arrived downtown on the Red Line and made their way to beaches and parks. Some lingered around Michigan Avenue or near CTA stations. The groups ranged in size from a few dozen to more than a hundred.
“They came down here specifically to cause problems,” Deputy Chief Al Nagode said. “They were running in and out of traffic, they were confronting different groups, they were running into businesses doing different activities that were borderline criminal, mostly nuisance, so the officers have to work that fine line of, do we (go) out there to arrest somebody.”

In one instance, teens damaged property at a Target store at Roosevelt Road and Clark Street, police said. There were reports of gunfire near the Bottled Blonde bar on Wells Street late Saturday, near LaSalle Drive and Ontario Street early Sunday and at Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive early Monday. That night, officers reported people running from the sound of gunfire as crowds left North Avenue Beach.
The Trib does a good job outlining the fine line the police department toes on this one.  It seems like they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Related Midwest Zoning Application Looks to Build Up to 10,000 Homes on 62-Acre Site

Looks like Related Midwest wants the ability to build a lot of houses in the Sloop (via Crains):
Chicago developer Related Midwest is seeking the city's permission to build 10,000 homes on a long-vacant 62-acre riverside site in the South Loop, more than twice as many proposed by the property's prior owner.

Related Midwest earlier this month presented its plans for a 13 million-square-foot development on the overgrown parcel, which stretches south from Roosevelt Road to Chinatown along the east bank of the Chicago River. Called the 78—a name suggesting a project so large it will become the city's 78th official community area—the development would include office, residential and educational uses. It could cost $5 billion and take decades to complete.

Related Midwest was short on specifics at the May 10 unveiling of its plans, declining to say how many residential units it planned on the property. But a zoning application the developer filed with the City Council yesterday requests city approval for 10,000 units. Before the real estate crash, the site's prior developer, a joint venture including Antoin "Tony" Rezko, planned 4,600 homes and 670,000 square feet of retail space.

(Hat tip: AR!)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Former Bears Unveil Plans for Co-Working Space and Other Businesses in Historic Building in Motor Row (2222 S. Michigan)

A pretty cool concept and vision for one of the most beautiful, historic buildings in the Sloop (via Crains):
Two former Chicago Bears want to turn a historic Motor Row showroom into a hub for entrepreneurs looking for a live-work-play destination in the South Loop.

A venture led by longtime NFL defensive ends Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers filed an application with the city today to redevelop the 115,000-square-foot Hudson Motor Building at 2222 S. Michigan Ave. into an mixed-use complex that will cater to "creative" business types with co-working space and a range of amenities including restaurants and a rooftop pool, Idonije said.

The vision for the 92-year-old facility, which would be known as FBRK (prounounced "fabric"), has shades of co-working like WeWork and membership clubs like Soho House. The anchor of the five-story project would be 40,000 square feet of office space for members, including private offices, open workspace and conference rooms.

Another 100,000 square feet would feature a gym, barbershop, restaurants and a pool designed to allow members to "live together and work together and socialize and get their work done in one space," Idonije said. "The notion is ultimately that well-rounded people build well-rounded, balanced companies."

As you may remember if you've read this here blog - Idonije has been an active entrepreneur in the Sloop.  He was involved in a short lived restaurant called Alain's (1355 S. Michigan - now occupied by Kurah) that closed shortly after it opened given some issues with the main Chef.  More successfully, he opened a similar co-workshop concept called Workvault at 1420 S. Michigan.

The concept discussed in the Crain's article is much bigger, but it does seem well positioned for the growth in Motor Row.  Also curious to see if Julius Peppers play a role.  We always thought he could have some fun business ventures (like Julius "Sweet" Pepper - like green, red, yellow peppers, or Julius Pepper'oni Pizza, etc).  Additionally, it would have seemed like a logical business venture for Matt Forte to get involved with given the address of the property...(some of you may get that one...).

Anyway, should be a good move for the future growth of the area.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Columbia College Chicago: Radical Leftism Institute?

We're always interested when we see something published about the neighborhood from a news source we don't often read.  That's why we were very interested to see this headline come to our attention - "Radical leftism at Columbia College Chicago has gone unnoticed. It's the next UC Berkeley".

The news source is the Washington Examiner and the article was written by a student.  You can read the entire thing here, but there are some pretty bold statements:
Columbia College Chicago is an arts school, so I knew I was headed to a very liberal college when I applied in early 2016. I was not, however, prepared for a cultural Marxist snakepit of angry feminists and social justice fanatics. I did not expect professors to openly advocate for communism. Mostly, I was surprised to discover the total absence of conservative and libertarian viewpoints.
This seems pretty biased to us, but we've never taken a class at Columbia so can't say one way or the other.  Anyway, if you're interested in politics or how an anchor institution in the South Loop is (most likely) perceived take a read.

After reading this, we immediately wondered what is the Washington Examiner's place in our news world.  So we took a look at one of our favorite charts on the interwebs that plots the how certain media outlets lean on a political bias - check out this article and/or chart below:
 Unsurprisingly the Washington Examiner tends to lean conservative.

Monday, May 21, 2018

What's Up With the Huge Crane on Michigan?

A couple readers were asking us why there is a huge crane at the vacant lot on Michigan:

While there is certainly a lot of action at the Essex on the Park development and a lot of buzz about the Helmut Jahn condo building just south of it, news about development on this lot has been quiet (at least as far as we know).

Anyone have the scoope?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Various South Loop Restaurants Featured on Curbed/Eater Interactive Maps

One of our favorite things about the Vox media sites Curbed & Eater are their map posts.  It's a fun way to learn about new spots around the city.

Over the past couple of weeks they've had a variety of maps that feature various Sloop spots:
12 Luscious Lobster Rolls:#11:  A two-Michelin-starred restaurant might not seem like the place for a lobster roll but those who sit at the bar are treated to perhaps the finest version in Chicago. Chef and owner Ryan McCaskey, who’s spent time in Maine, produces an indulgent roll that’s lightly dressed with chive mayo and smoky paprika. Guests can also order it Connecticut-style, which is served warm and holds the mayo for butter.
The 20 Essential Outdoor Dining Spots in Chicago  #15: Make the work day a little more bearable by working from this South Loop cafĂ©. The Spoke & Bird’s 2,500-square-foot patio is a fine stand-in for the office and guests can pass the time with a host of coffees, sandwiches, and — if they desire to get boozy — craft beers.

#16: Dubbed “Reggies Trainwreck Rooftop Deck,” the rock club’s elevated playground is the place to be on a warm day. The patio can accommodate up to 99 patrons and sports a full bar, eight flat screens, picnic tables, a pool table, and other diversions.

20 New Spots for Chicago’s Patio SeasonPut on a bib and get cracking. The seafood boil restaurant emulates backyard gatherings in the South with a patio with abundant foliage and twinkling lights. Dig into bags of delicious shellfish and sip on rotating cocktails from a highball machine.
It's hard to argue with these - that being said, we may suggest adding Flo & Santos to the essential outdoor dining spots, but that's just us.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Some Activity at Small Building on SW Corner of 18th and Wabash; Maybe a Coffee Shop?

A reader writes:
Looks likes finally something is coming to that small business right on the corner of 18th and Wabash when I saw the guys working on it today I asked him what it was going to be and one of them said a coffee shop

We've always been fascinated by this little building and pondered what it could be.  A fun little bar?  A tiny boutique?  Maybe a coffee shop?

Curious if this will be a chain or something more unique.  Anyone have the deets?

(Hat tip:  BL!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Gioco Closes Their Doors After 19 Year Run on South Wabash

A neighborhood staple quietly closed their doors this past weekend (via Eater Chicago):
Gioco, the South Loop Italian restaurant that’s been around for 19 years, is closing following dinner service on Sunday. The shutter seemed inevitable after the restaurant’s owner and a real estate agent revealed problems in securing a new lease back in September. There’s no word yet on what the landlord plans for the soon-to-be vacant property at 1312 S. Wabash Avenue.

The restaurant’s lease expires in August, and co-owner Howard Davis said he couldn’t work out an extension. The South Loop was much more barren 20 years ago, and property prices were lower. Davis estimated his team paid about $1,500 per month when they first opened Gioco. That’s a steal compared to current prices.

“We had a great run,” Davis said, who added that he spoke with business partner Jerry Kleiner about the decision. Kleiner lives in California. “We tried for quite a while to strike a deal.”
This restaurant was a pioneering force for the neighborhood and in our book should get a lot of credit for paving the way for other restaurants/bars in the Sloop.  It hasn't been all smooth sailing for this restaurant.  Back in 2017 it appeared they were going to close and way back in 2011 they had some tax issues and change in the kitchen

While Gioco will be missed, we're curious to see what comes next for this high-profile space.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Talk to Us in 20 Years: How the new "78" development Could Change the Sloop

It's been a couple days since Related unveiled their plans for "The 78" - the new development planned for the huge 62-acre lot south of Roosevelt road and next to the river.

As expected, there is a ton of information to digest about the project and frankly it will be interesting to see what comes to be.  Bisnow hits on some of the key components, the price tag and also how long this could take:
A 100-foot-wide riverwalk lined with restaurants. Pedestrian and bike paths connecting the South Loop to Chinatown. A tech incubator. Skyscrapers as tall as 950 feet. These are only a few of the plans Related Midwest has for The 78, its 62-acre South Loop site.

Related Midwest unveiled its master plan for The 78 at a public meeting Thursday night. The developer expects to spend up to 20 years and $5B redeveloping the site overlooking the Chicago River. Related Midwest President Curt Bailey said the development will draw from Chicago's history, culture and soul, and serve as a connection between the South Loop, Chinatown, Pilsen and Bronzeville.

A lot can change in 20 years, so while this looks amazing, chances of it living up to this vision seems remote.  The one thing that could accelerate all of this is if Amazon decides to choose Chicago and this site for their second headquarters.  Related's event didn't seem to shed much new news on the topic (via Curbed):
“The request for proposal calls for 8 million square feet. Our site has 13 million square feet so you do the math,” said Related Midwest president Curt Bailey when asked about Amazon at Thursday’s meeting. “But it’s an opaque process. I know as much as you know—which is basically what I read in the papers.”
One of the most interesting items in the release was the desire to add a redline stop to 15th and clark (via Chicago Tribune):
Related also is studying the feasibility and potential funding for a new CTA Red Line station at the intersection of Clark Street and an extended 15th Street, Bailey said.
In terms of when this could get started at this site, things appear to be a little uncertain.  From the articles we read, it seems like they're waiting on the city (via Chicago Tribune):
Because of road work on Wells, Related will likely wait at least 18 months before starting construction, Bailey said. Related also plans to move existing Metra train tracks west of Clark Street, which would become more pedestrian-friendly and would be lined with tall towers.
We are eager to see what transpires here...but patience will have to be key with this one.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Shedd Aquarium's New Exhibit - Underwater Beauty - Opening May 25

Underwater Beauty New special exhibit opens May 25 
Our living world is full of wonder. Celebrate with us the unbelievable beauty living in our oceans, lakes and rivers in a new special exhibit at Shedd Aquarium: Underwater Beauty.

Get a glimpse of the grandeur beneath the waves as 100 species from around the world come together in an evocative new space. What is beauty? Spark your curiosity as you see all the ways beauty moves and coexists. Watch sea jellies pulse, eels ribbon and a rainbow come alive with reef fishes.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Hamilton: The Exhibition" Coming to Northerly Island This Winter

In case you missed it earlier this week, looks like the Northerly Island is getting some Alexander Hamilton (via Curbed):
Downtown’s CIBC Theatre won’t be your only shot when it comes to getting your Hamiliton fix in Chicago after a new historical exhibit from the broadway musical’s creators opens at Northerly Island this fall.
Dubbed “Hamilton: The Exhibition,” the interactive attraction will make its world debut on November 17 inside a 27,000-square-foot temporary building south of the Adler Planetarium. It is expected to stay in Chicago until a yet-to-be-determined date before embarking on a tour to select cities nationwide.

A collaboration between Hamilton composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, producer Jeffrey Seller, set designer David Korins, and musical director Thomas Kail, the immersive experience will re-create pivotal events featured in the show as a well as lesser known periods in Alexander Hamilton’s life.

Seems a little strange on many fronts.  We know people are enamored by all things Hamilton thanks to the musical, but curious to see what the reception is for this type of "exhibit".

Additionally, the location seems tough to get to - especially during cold months.  Yes, Sloopsters may have a desire to go all the way out to Northerly Island but the common tourist?

What do we know...people were probably saying the same thing before the musical was penned...

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Lendlease Receives Building Permit for Next Round of Buildings at Southbank Development (formerly known as Riverline)

Are the two towers on the left side of this picture about to get going?
A reader found some interesting info on the next phase of the "Riverline" project - which has been rebranded to Southbank after the two developers - Lendlease and CMK - split

Looks like Lendlease has received some additional building permits:
A member of Skyscraperpage who tracks building permits just posted the following: 
This is on the May Zoning Board of Appeals agenda. I'm not sure whether it's part of Riverline or what, but... 
New proposed 14 story, 173 unit building with ground floor uses at 207-21 W Harrison St (Harrison & Wells).

The developer is Alta Grand Central LLC. I think this is Riverline but...? (link
And a follow-up post:
Now here's the even BETTER news. It's actually two separate towers - one at 207 W Harrison and the other at 221 W Harrison. Both 14 floors with 173 units each - 346 units total. I found two permits - one per address pending for foundation new construction. (link)
If this is true, more density is coming to the river.

Although CMK has been active in other parts of the neighborhood (see post from last week) we haven't heard much about their lot along the river - north of Roosevelt and south of River City.

(Hat tip: DS!)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

No New News on Mago Grill & Cantina - But Signs Says Temporarily Closed

It's been a couple weeks since Mago Grill & Cantina - the vibrant Mexican restaurant at Roosevelt Collection - abruptly had to close its doors.

While it's been hard to get much information, a new sign is on the door.  The sign says "temporarily closed" which would suggest they will re-open at some point.  Obviously this isn't a guarantee, but at least you can get a sense of their intentions:

We had a great experience at Mago, so hope they open again!

(Hat tip:  BS!)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Related Midwest Set to Provide More Details for "The 78" Development on Thursday

Not sure if you received this in the mail, but we did:

If you have a hard time reading the above, the main take is:
My colleagues and I are honored to present our proposal to transform the undeveloped 62-acre site at the southwest corner of Clark Street and Roosevelt Road into The 78, a neighborhood complete with all of the civic amenities, cultural features and unique character that make Chicago neighborhoods distinct. 
WHEN:   Thursday, May 10, 2018, 5:30 - 7:30 P.M.
WHERE:  Local 339 Union Hall,  2260 S. Grove Street Chicago, IL

Should be interesting to hear and see the vision for this property.  While obviously Related has the motivation to make money off the development, it is true that if developed will transform the South Loop.

We are also interested to hear if/what they say about the possibility of Amazon's HQ coming to the site and/or the "Discovery Partners Institute".

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Friday, May 4, 2018

David Letterman's Netflix Show That Filmed in the Sloop Comes Out Today

Remember when we said David Letterman was filming his new show in the Sloop?  Well that episode premieres today on Netflix (via Chicago Tribune):
David Letterman’s February visit to Chicago will be shown on an episode of his Netflix show that is scheduled to premiere Friday.
Letterman met with Buddy Guy at the blues legend’s South Loop club and the Athenian Room restaurant in Lincoln Park on Feb. 20 for “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”

The Athenian Room is a favorite of Second City alum Tina Fey, who is the featured guest on Friday’s episode. She is shown discussing improv techniques with Letterman in a clip of the show released Monday. That interview was taped in New York.

What's not clear is what role Buddy Guy played in the episode.  It seems as if he was a "secondary" guest?  We've watched two of the episodes and they do feature other people who are tangetially associated with the featured guest.  For Obama's interview it was Representative John Lewis.  For Jay-Z it was music producer Rick Rubin.

For Tina Fey it appears Buddy Guy is the secondary guest.  Maybe there will be some tie between improvisation in comedy and blues (Second City and Buddy Guy's Legends).  For what it's worth a reader sent us this instagram post:

(Hat tip: AR!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Confirmed: CMK Has Plans for Two More Buildings on South Wabash

Developer CMK continues to build in the Sloop!  Last week we posted about some fences going up on South Wabash and yesterday we received a link that confirmed that story and added some new details (via Real Deal):
The developer went before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals Friday seeking several variances to construct a 15-story building and a 10-story building near 14th Street and Wabash Avenue.

According to the zoning board, the 15-story building would have 199 units over retail at 45-59 East 14th Street. The 10-story building would have 62 units over retail at 1419 South Wabash Avenue.

The smaller building would use 36 parking spaces in the taller building’s lot as part of the zoning requests that were approved.
The picture in their article - also posted here - makes it look like it's the vacant lot that 14th dead-ends into.  We're having a hard time deciphering which building is going on which lot.  Does anyone have insight?

(Hat tip:  PS!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Blue Tarps Show-Up at Vacant Retail Space at 1925 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Anyone know what’s going on here? The building is the old BF Goodrich at 1925 S Michigan Ave nearby La Cantina. Vacant for years. Old historic building across from church.

Here’s 2 pics from outside. For past year and a half the windows were never cleaned and there were old permits posted. Today it looks clean and blue tarps are now hanging with lights on.

This is the second person who has asked us about this building.  Does anyone have any scoop?

It is a beautiful building and seems like it would be great for a restaurant or some cool retail.  We can dream right...

(Hat tip: MM & TG!)

Monday, April 30, 2018

More Details Emerge for New Mid-Size Development at 1802 S. State

More information for new condos at the southwest corner of 18th and State was sent to us last week.  As a reminder, we posted about a new 39-unit building coming last February.  Details at that point were scant, but at the time we saw this as a sign of promise for the neighborhood and this specific stretch of the Sloop.

Anyway, at this link from their website you can get a sense of the unit layouts and pricing:

It will be interesting to see how quickly these sell.  While building has been brisk in the Sloop, they're mostly high-rises and town-homes.  Midsize developments are different story, so we will be watching this one closely.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Is the New Pazzo's on South State For Sale?

A reader writes:
Just saw this pop up on linked in and thought it was odd. Is Pazzo’s closing or are they just selling the building to a new landlord? It says “perfect place for your client’s business” sounding like Pazzo’s is closing only a few months after opening.

As a reminder Pazzo's opened quickly in December of 2017.  Definitely seems like an ominous sign.

(Hat tip: KK!)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Development Action at Southeast Corner of Wabash and 14th?

A reader writes:
What’s going on at SE corner of Wabash and 14th? Former parking lot now all fenced off.

We haven't heard about anything going in there, but imagine it would be a nice little space for some row homes or something. 

Anyone have any insight?

(Hat tip:  JS!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Steak Out Coming to 2113 South State Street

A reader sends us the picture above which makes it seem like a new restaurant is opening at 2113 South State street next to Reggie's and the Asian Cajun restaurant.

We've done some googling but couldn't find if this place has other restaurants.

Anyone have any insights?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Float Sixty Still Coming to Sloop but at a New Location

We recently received some new news on Float Sixty:
We wanted to report that we are in final permit release for our South Loop location at 1143 S. State Street. Our original planned location had to be aborted due to major challenges at 1130 S. Michigan (next to Yolk) but we are happy to have the space at State and Roosevelt. We will have 5 float tanks and some other wellness modalities so I wanted to make sure you had this information for your blog. Our projected opening is fall/winter of 2018, we are hoping to open by the holidays!
As you may be aware Float Sixty was initially intending to come to Michigan Avenue but apparently that didn't work out.

Anyway, we're excited to experience what these things do.

(Hat tip: GM!)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Emerald Ash Borer Invades Trees at Mark Twain Park

A reader writes:
Not sure if you've covered this, but I don't recall seeing it.

All the Ash trees in Mark Twain Park are dead. The Emerald Ash Borer finally got them and over the winter they all succumbed. I first noticed the lines of holes last year and then some splitting bark on some of the trees. They're all completely dead now. I haven't counted but there must be a dozen 30-40 year old trees. Pretty sad really. The park will look pretty barren without them.

The city will need to cut them down soon as some branches are already getting brittle and will start coming down during high winds. Could be seriously dangerous for people walking and playing.

We did write about Emerald Ash Borer laying claim to some trees in Dearborn Park last year, but this is the first time we're hearing about Mark Twain Park.

Regardless, definitely sad to see.

(Hat tip: AVS!)

Friday, April 20, 2018

South Loop Rental Market "Challenged" in next 12 to 18 Months?

We were driving around the South Loop recently and were surprised about the scale of all the buildings going up in the neighborhood.  Yes, we've posted about them and spent a lot of time talking about them on Sloopin, but seeing all of them in the wild made us do a double take.

Along those lines, we were reading a recent post on The Real Deal about Chicago's real estate market and the development (both actually happening and proposed).  One thing that was called out was whether there is an oversupply.  According to a quote, some are thinking the South Loop could have a problem:
At the far end of the downtown area, in the South Loop, new inventory could present a bigger challenge.
Crescent Heights is building a 792-unit rental tower called One Grant Park in an area that includes a 479-unit project being built by Oxford Capital and several other large rental projects.

The projects will bring thousands of new units to a part of Downtown that doesn’t have as much of a longstanding history as a residential area as neighborhoods like Streeterville or the Gold Coast.

“I think the South Loop is going to have a few challenges 12 to 18 months from now,” Integra’s Ron DeVries told Crain’s in February.

While that might be true, a bigger question in our mind is whether the oversupply will eventually get absorbed.  While it's impossible to tell, we naturally are very bullish here. 

Upon that same trip where we were struck by all the developments, we were also amazed by the amount of foot traffic on stretches of the neighborhood that historically were light.  That seems like a good thing for the vitality of the neighborhood...which we assume would be good for the real estate market.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Guy Fieri Hangs with Rapper Trae Tha Truth in Sloop

If you were hanging around the Sloop recently you might have seen a crazy haired dude who looked familiar (via Sun-Times):
Later, rapper Trae Tha Truth posted photos of himself with Fieri at Velvet Lounge in the South Loop.

He wasn't just in Chicago for any old reason, seems like he was doing some work:
Walking around Chicago on Tuesday, you might have been startled by a head full of bleached, spiked hair. Or maybe a bowling shirt covered in orange flames caught your eye.

That’s right. Guy Fieri, host of multiple Food Network shows, was in the city filming “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mayor Emanuel Outlines His Vision for Extending the Riverwalk

Tribune had an article yesterday about Mayor Emanuel's plans to extend the riverwalk.  As part of the speech he spoke about the plans for the South branch:
The mayor also briefly mentioned that he was “looking at building a new trail” from Chinatown’s Ping Tom Memorial Park on the South Branch of the river up to the Riverwalk’s western edge at Lake Street. Emanuel did not offer details, other than to say it would build on concepts offered during last year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial.

As part of that event, architectural firms developed ideas for three locations along the 1.8-mile potential extension to Ping Tom: the Civic Opera House waterfront, the stretch beneath the Congress Parkway Bridge and the area below the St. Charles Air Line Bridge.
While details are scant, there are certainly a lot of developments planned for the South brand of the river that extends through the South Loop.  When all of those get built will ultimately help determine if this vision will ever become a reality.

Many stars would have to align, but it would be an amazing amenity for the neighborhood (and the city). 

One thing that could accelerate this would be if Amazon chose Chicago for their HQ2 location and chose the Related Midwest spot south of Roosevelt, we imagine that could spur a rash of development along the river.

Time will tell, but a boy can dream. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tiny Tunes Studio Opens at 69 E. 16th Street

We recently got this email:
Wanted to quickly introduce myself and let you know that I've opened a new business in South Loop and thought you might want to cover it. I took over the space after Geek Fashion (69 E 16th street) and opened a kids music studio in its place. We officially opened our doors on Monday, April 2nd; the space is called Tiny Tunes Studio. We offer drop-in music, baby yoga and zumbini (zumba for kids!) classes. We're open 7 days a week and have 1-2 classes per day. We also rent our studio for private parties (kids' birthdays, baby showers, fundraisers, etc.) on weekend afternoons!
While this stretch of retail hasn't always been kind to tenants, a kid friendly type of business could be a good fit.  Best of luck to Tine Tunes Studio and looking forward to checking you out soon!

(Hat tip: GM!)