Monday, August 20, 2018

Quench Wellness Opens at 1319 S. Michigan

We were recently driving down Michigan Avenue and noticed a new business that seemingly popped up at 1319 S. Michigan:

So what is Quench?  According to their website:
At the intersection of mind, body, and soul is where we live the best versions of ourselves. Quench Wellness aims to provide a wellness experience to our clients that meets them at this exact point of their health needs. Quench Wellness empowers our clients by replenishing vital nutrients and providing restorative hydration therapies to enhance their wellness journey.

Founded by two board certified physicians with a passion for health education and advocacy, Quench Wellness strives to offer a variety of services, products and education that cater to your unique health needs. We offer every client a safe & medically-sound wellness experience steeped in peace and comfort.
Some of their services offered on the website are IV vitamin infusions, IM vitamin shots, hormone optimization therapy and vaginal rejuvenation.

Welcome to the Sloop!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Curbed Chicago Looks at the Recently Opened Eleven40 Apartment Building

nice view from rooftop at Eleven40
Curbed Chicago looks at the recently opened Eleven40 apartment building at 1140 S. Wabash:
Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood added another 320 apartments on Monday with the grand opening of the Eleven40 rental tower. Named for its approximate address of 1140 S. Wabash Avenue, the glassy 26-story project has been under construction since early 2017 and replaces a former parking lot near the Roosevelt CTA station.

Unlike many other recent South Loop developments hoping to lure luxury buyers with views of Grant Park and the lake, Eleven40 offers a more attainable option with studios priced from $1,500 per month. Starting at 389 square feet, these units are certainly cozy but do offer a degree of flexibility should renters opt for the built-in Murphy bed. Half of the building’s apartments are studios with the remainder split between 80 one-bedroom and 80 two-bedroom layouts.
What caught our attention is the built-in Murphy bed option.  That doesn't seem like a great option to us...but guess it could save you some space when you're not sleeping?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hebru Brantley Hosts Event at workVAULT (1420 S. Michigan)

We're big fans of Hebru Brantley and were bummed when his flyboy mural was covered up by the new apartment building Eleven40 - but enough about that. 

Mr. Brantley apparently held a pop-up show at the workVAULT according to this video from his instagram account.  Cool event and also a chance to see how the inside of the co-working/event space at 1420 S. Michigan 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Showroom Food Hall at Marriott Marquis Has a Neighbor Intrigued

A reader writes:
I walked by yesterday, north side of the Marriott on 21st east of Prairie, right across the street from the nice kids/dog park and there was a place called Showroom Food Hall (link here).

Looks like a pretty cool space with several different stands or stations within the cafeteria style space. There were what I assumed to be future staff meeting and prepping for opening. The pizza oven was going in the back. Looks like they'll be opening soon.

Should be a nice blend between the obvious hotel guest / conference traffic and the neighborhood, especially with the park across the street. Easy picnic opportunity.

(Hat tip:  AVS!)

Monday, August 13, 2018

South Loop Pediatrics Opens at 2329 S. Michigan

Looks like Motor Row just got a new pediatricians office (via their website):
Welcome to a New Level of Care in Pediatrics in South Loop
Opening August 1 in South Loop, a new kind of neighborhood pediatric practice by Kimberly T. Brown, MD.

More and more stuff is coming to Motor Row...

(Hat tip:  EH!)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Mormons Buy Into South Loop Real Estate Market

An eye-catching headline for a relatively unimportant article (unless you work in real estate I guess) - Mormon's buy South Loop apartment tower (via Crain's): 
Chicago-based Golub partner CIM Group of Los Angeles has sold a 40-story, 397-unit high-rise at 1001 S. State St. that opened in 2016, according to a statement from the firms. The statement did not disclose the buyer, but people familiar with the deal identified it as an investment arm of the Mormon church, a newcomer to the Chicago apartment market.

Beyond the Mormon twist, why did they sell?  Here is some good rationale:
Apartment developers in downtown Chicago have raked in big profits from apartment sales in recent years, capitalizing on rising rents and property values. The multifamily investment market has cooled a bit in the past year amid concerns about overbuilding, but a glut hasn’t materialized yet.
Still, owning an apartment building in the South Loop will get riskier in the next couple years. Developers will complete nearly 2,900 apartments in the neighborhood in 2018 and 2019, including NEMA Grant Park, a 792-unit tower at the southwest corner of Grant Park, according to consulting firm Integra Realty Resources. The Golub/CIM tower will face competition from a 479-unit project under construction at 808 S. Michigan Ave., about two blocks away.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Some More Info on Restaurants/Bars at the New "Tri-Branded" Hilton Hotel on Cermak (between Michigan and Indiana)

Looks like the "tri-branded" Hilton on Cermak (between Michigan and Indiana) is open judging from this press release on What's interesting to us is the official mention of the food and drink options:
In addition to complimentary breakfast offerings for guests of Hampton Inn and Home2 Suites, as well as the fresh cooked-to-order breakfasts by Hilton Garden Inn, the property has the following dining options that are open to all Windy City visitors and locals alike, including:
  • VU Skyward Bev & Eat: A rooftop dining and lounge experience operated by Concentrics Restaurants, scheduled to open this fall, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with locally inspired small plates and craft cocktails amid views of Lake Michigan and Downtown Chicago.
  • Fatpour Tapworks: A street-level pub and grill operated by Big Onion Tavern Group, also scheduled to open in the fall, will offer a selection of menu items including more than 220 beers, all available in 22-ounce pours.
  • Starbucks coffee shop: Easily accessible by guests and locals from Cermak Road.

We've written about Starbucks (which is also now officially open) as well as Fatpour Tapworks, but the rooftop restaurant and lounge is a nice addition - potentially.

Good moves happening down at Motor Row.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Police Investigating Random South Loop Sucker Punches

So strange and unfortunate (via ABC7):
Chicago police are investigating several seemingly random attacks on people near CTA stops in the South Loop.

The victims are punched in the face with no warning or provocation.

Alan Lee has no clue why he was targeted, but his attack left him with a broken nose, concussion and swollen jaw.

"I remember seeing a quick glance of him and his fist winding up, and that's all I really remember. Then I'm on the ground and people were yelling," Lee said.

Lee was with his fiancee walking on Roosevelt near State around 5 p.m. Saturday. They were steps away from the Roosevelt CTA Red Line stop when they said a man emerged from a parking lot and landed a sucker punch before running away.

Be on guard peeps.

Monday, August 6, 2018

What's Pizza? Go to US Pizza Museum at Roosevelt Collection to Find Out

Looks like Museum Campus is getting a new attraction - sort of...(via Chicago Tribune):
The U.S. Pizza Museum is getting a home — for now — at the Roosevelt Collection. The museum is slated to open Aug. 10 in the mixed-use development in Chicago’s South Loop and is scheduled through the end of October. 
Kendall Bruns, the museum founder, said the museum may remain open in that location longer, depending on public demand. 
Bruns created the museum in 2015 as a tribute to all things pizza, but it has existed mostly in the form of pop-up exhibits and online at the museum’s website. The move to the Roosevelt Collection will provide him with 3,000 square feet, twice as much space as the largest of the pop-ups, Bruns said, allowing him to add context to the exhibit items and tell the story of pizza and its makers in the United States.

Admission is free to all ages, but an online reservation is required for timed entry. The first wave of tickets is available now. Click here for tickets.
The museum will be open on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays.

For whatever reason this news makes us think about a segment where Jon Stewart questions whether or not Chicago's famous deep-dish is pizza:

Maybe the museum will solve this....

Or you can see his truce to Chicago Pizza here.

Friday, August 3, 2018

A Lollapalooza Chicago Architecture Refresher

You've probably noticed that it's Lollapalooza week and are well aware of all the wonderfulness and terribleness that comes with that.  While there no doubt will be other news coming from the festivities, we appreciated a recent article on Curbed that naturally takes aim at one of the festivals most noticeable, but sometimes overlooked attributes - the amazing architecture that surrounds the festival:
While the thousands of festival-goers flooding Chicago’s Grant Park this weekend for Lollapalooza are there for the music above all else, there’s no denying that a large part of the four-day event’s appeal is its unique urban setting.

Situated in downtown Chicago’s “front lawn,” the festival owes a lot to its backdrop comprising some of the city’s finest—and newest—architectural gems. Like the ever-changing park itself, the manmade glass and steel scenery has also evolved and expanded since Lollapalooza began in 1991.

Whether you are a first-time visitor to downtown Chicago or a seasoned local in need of a quick refresher, here are some of the notable buildings that comprise the event’s world class skyline setting.

It was a fun refresher for those of us who like these tall buildings.  Naturally, the article included some of the Sloop's tall guys!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Congress Parkway Renamed to Ida B. Wells Drive

A couple weeks back we wrote about a plan to rename Balbo after journalist Ida B. Wells.  It was met with some resistance, but an alternative was proposed and now seems to be approved (via Curbed):
Chicago’s City Council passed an ordinance to rename Congress Parkway in honor of civil rights activist, anti-lynching journalist, and women’s suffrage leader Ida B. Wells. Stretching from S. Columbus Drive to just east of S. Franklin Street, the newly rechristened Ida B. Wells Drive represents the first street in downtown Chicago to be named for a woman of color.
“I’m proud to have co-sponsored this important measure with Alderman King to give Ida B. Wells the recognition she deserves,” said 42nd Ward Alderman Reilly in an email to residents on Friday. “She was a courageous leader of the women’s suffrage movement and a tireless advocate for justice. Ida B. Wells has an important place in Chicago’s history, and now has a prominent street in downtown Chicago to honor her memory.”

An earlier ordinance, also introduced by King and Reilly, sought to honor Wells by instead renaming nearby Balbo Drive. Originally named 7th Street, the roadway was dedicated to Italian aviator Italo Balbo after he led a squadron of seaplanes on a transatlantic flight from Rome to Chicago for the city’s 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair. The name proved controversial given Bablo’s role as a fascist organizer and marshal in dictator Benito Mussolini’s air force.

Curbed goes on to note a confusing intersection now:
Ida B. Well Drive extends west to the start of the Eisenhower Expressway and could make for a somewhat confusing intersection where it crosses Wells Street—the existing north-south roadway named for Army Captain William Wells who died at the Battle of Fort Dearborn in 1812.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Enhanced Security Coming to This Week's Lollapalooza

It's lollapalooza week and looks like security measures are being beefed up (via Chicago Tribune):
Expect to see enhanced security — more Chicago police officers, additional fencing, new bag restrictions and airport-style screening at the entrances of Grant Park when Lollapalooza returns Thursday, months after a music festival in Las Vegas was the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
City officials hope their plans for the four-day, star-studded event — featuring Bruno Mars and the Weeknd as headliners — will ease the minds of any concertgoers following news that the Las Vegas attacker also booked rooms at a hotel along Michigan Avenue, across the street from last year's Lollapalooza.

If you're heading the fest expect long lines to get in.  Probably worth it, but prepare.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Infamous Blackhawks Emergency Back-up Goaltender Scott Foster Apparently Works in the Sloop

The Blackhawks Convention invaded the Sloop this past weekend and while their was plenty of typical hockey talk, one of the more interesting tidbits that we read was that last years surprise, emergency back-up goaltender - Scott Foster - apparently works in the Sloop (via Tribune):
As inconspicuously as possible, Scott Foster fidgeted with the pads near his forearm before the Blackhawks-Jets game March 29 until he found a crevice that would help chronicle the time of his hockey life.
“It’s very hard to stuff a cellphone in goalie equipment, but you find a way,” Foster recalled Thursday in the Hawks dressing room at the United Center as the red No. 90 sweater he wore that unforgettable night hung in the locker stall he used. “It was a cool experience and I wanted to share it. I knew I could be professional, so it was OK to be giddy like a kid inside. I wasn’t going to take pictures. I just hid the phone so I could text my wife.”

OMG, it still defies logic that the 36-year-old senior financial accountant began one day last spring crunching numbers at Golub in the South Loop and ended it hearing 22,000 fans chant his name after the emergency goalie played the final 14 minutes in a 6-2 Hawks victory.

If you're not familiar with the story, it's a fun read. 

Friday, July 27, 2018 Is Open at 1325 S. Michigan Ave

In case you didn't know:
I am writing to let you know that ILKB South Loop opened its doors in April 2018 at 1325 S. Michigan Ave. 
ILKB South Loop operates an franchise at the location and looks forward to new members joining their incredible kickboxing family.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Crains Editorial Chicago wants your HQ2, Amazon

A fun read from a couple weeks back from the Crains Editorial Board - and a call out to a future South Loop development which would be great for the Amazon:
In short, we wouldn't want you to think we're staring at the phone waiting for your call. Even so . . . um . . . have we mentioned that we really, really want you to join us here in the Windy City? It's true. We do. So much so that we're hoping you might find an entirely new, built-from-scratch neighborhood just unveiled a few weeks ago to your liking: It's called the 78, and we hear it's one of the locations you've been thinking about as you size up Chicago. It's 62 acres of new residential, office space and riverfront parkland just south of the Loop, and it'll encompass the University of Illinois' plan for a huge research facility called the Discovery Partners Institute. It's also a stone's throw from the Illinois Institute of Technology and the planned Barack Obama Presidential Center, and it's roughly equidistant from both the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. We can picture you there. We really can.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Second Presbyterian Church Has a Newly Restored Tiffany Stained Glass Window

A cool story (via ABC7):
A newly restored Tiffany stained glass window is being re-installed inside Chicago's historic Second Presbyterian Church in the South Loop neighborhood.

Workers spent the last year cleaning 100 years of dirt and grime off the 16-foot "peace window."

It has been restored to its original design by Louis Comfort Tiffany. A wealthy church member commissioned Tiffany to design the window around the turn of the 20th Century.

"After this restoration, it has new colors we hadn't seen before and will sparkle like it did in 1903," said Linda Miller, of Friends of Historic Second Church.

The famous window, which measures 16 feet high and 8 feet wide, is one of nine original Tiffany stained glass windows in the church.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Who Wants Some Delicious Dumplings? Me Do!

This relatively close restaurant call-out caught our attention (via Eaters - 12 Chicago Restaurants Overlooked for Michelin Stars):
10. Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
2002 S Wentworth Ave #103
Chicago, IL 60616
Not xiao long bao, gyoza, wontons, or potstickers, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings—QXY Dumplings for short—specializes in an unsung style of Chinese soup dumpling with a crescent shape, bearing fingerprints along its crimped mohawk of a top. Within a Chinatown strip mall, QXY is quietly steaming and frying the city’s greatest dumplings, freshly stuffed while the guests waits. The menu is lengthy, yet very affordable. Pro tip: don’t miss the cumin lamb.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Columbia College Selling Building @ 731 S. Plymouth to Adaptive Reuse Real Estate Company

Looks like Printers Row is getting some rental units and Polk Street may be getting some more retail (
3L Real Estate completed its second real estate acquisition in 12 months in the South Loop from Columbia College Chicago. The adaptive reuse specialists bought 731 South Plymouth Court from the liberal arts school, in a deal valued at more than $20M.
Columbia College put the 343-room building on the market in September. The school will lease the building for the 2018-19 school year, allowing the school to house students and various offices while construction of its new $50M student center at Wabash Avenue and Eighth Street continues. 3L Real Estate CEO Joseph Slezak said his firm will then redevelop the building into market rate apartments. The firm partnered with Skydeck, the investment arm of the Polsky family, on the redevelopment plan.
Additionally, the article ends with the following:
The building's main level will be converted into retail space.
Will be interesting to see what that means, but could be a good development for the Printers Row burgeoning retail scene.

(Hat tip: JP!)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Dollop Coffee Company Officially Opens at Alta Roosevelt (801 S. Financial)

Ok, it's been open for a bit, but we've haven't posted about here you go.  A reader writes:

A local resident here in South Loop. Just wanted to share that Dollop Coffee has opened their newest location in the neighborhood on Financial Place. Great addition!

(Hat tip: CD!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"What I Am" Mural at 1600 S. State Gets Some Love from Curbed

We love the Wabash Arts Corridor so we aren't surprised to see one of the murals get some love on a recent Curbed Chicago post:
12. What I Am1600 S State St
Chicago, IL 60616
New York painter Shinique Smith completed this 65-foot-wide mural at the corner of State and 16th streets last fall. A recent addition to the South Loop’s Wabash Arts Corridor, the dynamic-looking piece features vidid splashes of color, feathers, flowers, and graffiti-inspired graphics. The action centers around a large, handwritten “love.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Plan for 900 Mixed-Income Residences Unveiled for Former Harold Ickes Homes Site

In case you missed this last week, big plans were revealed for the large piece of land running just west of South State Street between Cermak and Stevenson Expressway (via Tribune):
Eight years after the last building was demolished in the Harold L. Ickes Homes public housing development, an ambitious plan to build almost 900 mixed-income residences on the site is moving closer to reality.
The developers leading the long-awaited project hope to begin construction by early next year on the vacant site in the South Loop where 11 high-rises that made up the Chicago Housing Authority complex once stood.

If the project gains zoning approval and kicks off in 2019, it would be a big step toward finally bringing the CHA’s sweeping but oft-delayed Plan for Transformation to the finish line. The project, likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, also would contribute to a wave of ongoing and planned real estate projects in the area where the South Loop, Bronzeville and Chinatown converge.

Planned for three construction phases, the entire 11-acre development is expected to include 770 apartments and 107 town homes and condominiums, and potentially more, said Will Woodley, director of development in the Chicago office of the Community Builders. The Community Builders, a Boston-based nonprofit that specializes in mixed-income developments, and Chicago developer McCaffery Interests were chosen by the CHA in 2015 to lead a redevelopment of the site.

The $90 million first phase would create two six-story apartment buildings with a combined 200 units — 68 public housing units, 18 affordable units and 114 market-rate apartments. It also would include 18 for-sale town homes.

The project is another big one for the neighborhood with transformational potential.  So what's next?  Apparently the plan is to be reviewed at  the Chicago Plan Commission’s July 19 meeting.  After that it's off to city council for vote.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 16, 2018

First Draft (649 S. Clark) Gets a Patio

Looks like First Draft (649 S. Clark) has a patio now (via Facebook).  An reader writes:

First Draft also opened their new full service patio on Clark Street!

(Hat tip:  CD!)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Essex on the Park Reveals Two New Renderings for Its "Winter Garden"

The "winter garden" is one of the most interesting components of the new Essex on the Park development. We're curious to see how it comes to life, but some new renderings give us a new glimpse into what it could hold (via Curbed):
As the South Michigan Avenue’s 56-story Essex on the Park tower continues its skyward climb, a pair of newly released renderings provide fresh perspectives of the skyscraper’s stunning four-story winter garden overlooking Grand Park.
“The design team was inspired to capture within the building a slice of the park beyond,” Paul Alessandro, partner at Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) tells Curbed Chicago. “If Grant Park is an oasis of green carved out of the city proper, the atrium is an oasis of green carved out of the new Essex on the Park tower.”

Indeed, the interior of the winter garden draws many design elements directly from its eastern view, according to the architect. The hanging gardens and green wall is meant to evoke the trees and lawn of the park while the infinity-edge pool mirrors the water of Lake Michigan beyond.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Site Available Sign Still at Polk/Dearborn Despite Recent Article Saying Micro-Apartments Coming

As a follow-up to our recent post about Roots Pizza potentially moving into a "micro-apartment" building, a reader questions the validity of that story:
Polk/Dearborn - This sign is up on that small vacant lot right now. Sure doesn't look like the micro apartments project is happening...?

We're skeptical too...

(Hat tip:  PB!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Starbucks "Coming Soon" Sign Appears at SE Corner of Michigan and Cermak

While many may roll their eyes at this picture, the impending opening of Starbucks at the southeast corner of Michigan and Cermak marks a pretty big development for this stretch of the neighborhood.

Yes we've been chronicling these changes for awhile (ahem Subway coming to the area), but this one feels bigger.

Ever since we started this blog we've heard people comment about how the south portion of the neighborhood was a joke and how they couldn't even get a Starbucks south of the one on Roosevelt (although we think there was always a Starbucks INSIDE McCormick Place...but that's not the same).

While we didn't really pay heed to this narrative, it stuck with us.  Anyway, now that this is coming it feels like the momentum is building and probably won't stop.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Group of Robbers Use Panhandler in Wheelchair to Lure Victims

Stay aware (via ChicagoTribune):
Police are searching for a group of robbers who lure in South Loop victims with a man panhandling from a wheelchair.

In the month of July, three of these robberies have occurred, according to the Chicago Police Department. It starts with the man in the wheelchair asking for change or a cigarette. As someone approaches, other offenders attack the victim.

The first reported incident occurred at 3:12 a.m. July 3 in the 700 block of South Michigan Avenue, police said. The next was at 9 a.m. that day in the 900 block of South Michigan Avenue.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Poke & Roll Closes at 555 S. Dearborn

A reader writes:
The Poke and Roll at 555 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605 has permanently closed. Carlos the owner said he is opening a restaurant in Hyde Park area.
It seems like this spot never really gain traction.  As a reminder they opened in the spring of 2017 and opened pretty quickly.  We had a couple decent meals, but frankly it didn't wow us.

Maybe Hyde Park will treat them better?

(Hat tip:  SC!)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bike Lane on Dearborn in Printers Row Finally Repaved

A reader writes:
The bike lane on Dearborn in Printer’s Row finally has been repaired. It has been ripped up for a year (it seems).
As someone who rides their bike on this stretch almost daily all I can say is finally.

(Hat tip:  DH!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Roots Pizza Coming to Printers Row and Anchoring 15-Story Micro-Apartment Building?

If you're into the restaurant business, Crain's has a good read about the 50/50 restaurant group.  It's an interesting read, but what really caught our eye was this paragraph:
Beyond the high-profile Old Town project, Mohr and Weiner are readying other ventures. A fourth, supersized Roots Pizza will open in the South Loop next summer. The 11,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant will sit atop a 15-story luxury micro-apartment building going up at Dearborn and Polk streets.

Lots of goodness to unpack here.  First - is that really a "micro-apartment" reference again?  If you're an avid Sloopin reader you may remember way back in 2015 when the micro concept was revealed.  Subsequently we were under the impression those plans were scraped, but maybe not?   

Second, bringing another restaurant - especially one with a proven track record - to this stretch of Printers Row is only going to continue the momentum for Dearborn.  Yes it's another pizza joint - and we certainly have a lot of them in the neighborhood - but still seems like a good addition. 

What's even more interesting is that it apparently is going to be a two-story concept with a retractable roof (via Eater):
A fourth Roots pizza is planned for the South Loop at 776 S. Dearborn Street. They’re gunning for a summer 2019 opening of a two-floor restaurant with 320 seats. About 200 seats will be on the second floor that will be covered by a retractable roof.

Wowsa - sounds sweet!  Thoughts on this news - seems positive if true?

Monday, July 2, 2018

Shedd Aquarium Partnering on "Wild Mile" Project on Chicago River

Although this isn't in the Sloop, it is something the Shedd is doing and since they're in the neighborhood thought it was worth a post (via ChicagoTribune):
From the Cherry Avenue Bridge, the rehabilitated span for trains and pedestrians at the northern tip of Goose Island, the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River looks like a silty, murky mess. The riverbanks are scarred with concrete and wooden and metal retaining walls. Unruly trees pay the barriers no mind, stretching defiantly into the water, their sagging branches capturing a flotilla of plastic bags and beer cans.

But look southward from this point only a few steps from the rush of North Avenue, toward the Lincoln Park Whole Foods store, and the river is alive with floating tufts of greenery. The gardens are the beginning of a vision to turn the old industrial channel on Goose Island’s eastern edge into a “wild mile,” an eco-park of floating plants, wetlands, kayak piers and public walkways.

Soon these water gardens, the work of Urban Rivers, will have companions. By the beginning of July, a new set of native plant gardens will float in the canal, courtesy of a partnership between the environmental nonprofit and Shedd Aquarium.

Shedd’s river “island” will add 260 square feet of native plants such as swamp rose mallow, marsh marigold, Dudley’s rush and queen-of-the-prairie to the 1,500 square feet installed a year ago by Urban Rivers.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Renaming Balbo Drive Hits a Roadblock

Italo Balbo
An interesting, historical read about attempts to change Balbo Drive - a small road in the South Loop  (via Chicago Reader):
Last August, in the wake of the racist violence in Charlottesville, downtown aldermen Sophia King (Second) and Brendan Reilly (42nd) called for renaming Balbo Drive. The street honors Italo Balbo, a leader of the Blackshirts, the paramilitary wing of Italy's National Fascist Party, who later became Mussolini's air commander and governor of colonized Libya. The aldermen blasted Balbo as a brutal racist.
"We have inherited a legacy that honors and memorializes an individual who embraced white supremacy and who was part of the fascist onslaught which sought to take over the world," said Alderman King in a statement at the time. "Balbo is a symbol of racial and ethnic supremacy, and in this day and age we need positive symbols. It's high time we removed these symbols of oppression and anti-democracy from our city."

Last month King and Reilly introduced an ordinance that would have renamed the drive after Ida B. Wells, a former slave, journalist, anti-lynching activist, and woman's suffrage advocate.

But apparently the aldermen no longer feel that honoring a fascist is a problem. In the face of continuing opposition from local Balbo fans, the politicians have abandoned their efforts to rename the street that honors him, according to a report in the Sun-Times. The aldermen are instead now pushing for Congress Drive to be named after Wells. The full City Council is expected to approve the new proposal at Wednesday's meeting, the paper reported.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Chicago Sun-Times "The Grid" Takes a Look at Printers Row

Welcome to “The Grid,” our in-depth look at Chicago’s neighborhoods. Today’s stop: Printers Row.
Printers Row is “pocket” neighborhood between Congress Parkway and Polk Street just minutes from the Chicago Loop. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the area became the Midwest hub of the printing industry with historically significant buildings designed by legendary architects like Daniel Burnham, William Holabird and William Le Baron Jenney. Today, many of those historic buildings remain but the quiet, tree lined streets are now largely residential. Of course, it continues to be a draw for fans of Chicago architecture.

The article goes into more depth and highly suggest a click if you're interested.  Below is a quick info-graphic on the hood as well:

There is also a 13 minute video on the neighborhood as part of the article.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Glessner House Museum Shows Up on Curbed's Most Beautiful Wedding Venues

We're in full wedding season (despite the rain today) and Curbed Chicago has a good post looking at the best wedding venues in the city.  Glessner House in the Sloop is the only placed that registers on the neighborhood (via Curbed):
The Glessner House Museum is one of the city's great surviving examples of the grand mansions built in the Prairie District during Chicago's Gilded Age. And while the interiors with their elaborate finishes and building materials are breathtaking, the mansion's coach house and courtyard space will also impress.

Any other venues people love in the Sloop for a good wedding?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Trying to Read the Tea Leaves on Amazon HQ2 News

Last week news came down that Walgreen's would be the first announced tenant for the refurbished Post Office that straddles Congress Parkway.  While that's big news in and of itself, we also thought it could be a tell on the chances of Amazon coming to Chicago.

Our thinking was that if one of the proposed sites was moving forward without Amazon, maybe the city already knows it fate (aka - Chicago is not getting Amazon).  Well some professional reporters had a similar thought process and asked Rahm a similar question (via Chicago Tribune):
But asked Monday whether Walgreens’ decision to locate 1,800 employees at the old post office in the South Loop takes that building off the table for Amazon, Emanuel offered some insights.

“I don’t want to violate anything with Amazon, so I think when you — know this, let me do it this way so I’m not (violating), I want to be careful,” Emanuel said. “On our original proposal to Amazon we had 10 sites. When they came, they saw five sites. It is our understanding they like, really like, two sites. So let me say that.”
Judging by that comment it seems as if the city is still in the running for Amazon or at least Amazon hasn't tipped its hand to the city yet.

Other recent reports say that Amazon is likely going to make another cut sometime this fall (via
 Amazon has sent “emails to all 20 finalist cities” about the status of the HQ2 process noting that it will be “a couple of months to whittle down the finalist list to around three cities,” WSB-TV says.
So we wait some more...but in the meantime what two sites do you think they "really like"?

If we had to guess it would be:

  • The 78, Related Midwest's 62-acre site along the Chicago River between the South Loop and Chinatown. 
  • Lincoln Yards, Sterling Bay's more than 70-acre site on the river along Lincoln Park and Bucktown.
A wild card would be the former Michael Reese Hospital land on the south side.  While it probably loses points for "not being in the downtown core"  - it's essentially on Lake Michigan which would be an amazing amenity for a corporate campus in our opinion.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Work Continues On House at Polk/Dearborn

A reader writes:
Work on the Dearborn/Polk mansion is stalled? Walls are now being put up.
We assume the reader was referring to another post we had about a month ago when another reader questioned whether or not this project stalled.  Judging by the photo, seems like work is moving ahead as planned.

(Hat tip: AB!)

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 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.