Friday, August 31, 2018

How to Eat Cheaper at Two of the Sloop's Finest Restaurants

Eater Chicago explains how to eat cheaper at Chicago's finest restaurants and highlights two Sloop locations.

First up is obviously Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) - and if you're a reader of this here blog you probably already know this one:
In place of two-Michelin starred Acadia’s $155 eight-course new American tasting menu, hit up the bar for several similar plates at a lower price, a la carte. For example, Aleutian Islands King Crab with yuzu, parsley root, and a mint-nasturtium water becomes Peekytoe crab toast with scallion, garlic, butter, and arugula at the bar. Meanwhile, there’s also Stonington lobster with pickled mustard seed, celery, and caviar, which, at the bar becomes the Stonington, ME lobster roll.

Second is a good hack we weren't aware of at Everest (425 S. Financial Place):
While sky-high French boƮte Everest serves a $165 tasting menu, the hack is to come Tuesday to Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays between 5 and 5:30 p.m. for the three-course pre-theatre $59 special. That menu changes daily, and if diners drove, complimentary valet parking is also included.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Proposed South Loop Innovation Center - Discovery Partners Institute - Gets More Attention, But Details Still Lacking

As you know there has been a lot of attention given to Related's 62-acre vacant land just south of Roosevelt.  Whether it's discussion about a site for Amazon's HQ2 or audacious plans to build the city's "78th neighborhood" it's fodder for ripe discussion on the interwebs.

With that said, one of the other major undertakings being discussed for this land is the Discovery Partners Institute - which is billed as an innovation center in partnership with various major public and private institutions.  The hope is to accelerate Illinois and Chicago's place in the technology.

While the plans sound good, much of the detail is still TBD.  Over the past couple weeks, this topic has been in the news with the naming of a leader (via Herald):
The University of Illinois has picked one of its own professors to head an effort to build and operate a major innovation center in Chicago's South Loop.

William H. Sanders has led the engineering department at the university's Urbana-Champaign campus since 2014 and will oversee what's called the Discovery Partner's Institute. The Chicago Tribune reports those duties will include leading construction of the center, supervise all faculty and staff hiring and oversee all new corporate and academic partnerships.

Once it is operating, the center is expected to employ more than 100 faculty members who will specialize in research on computing and big data, environment and water, food and agriculture and health and wellness. School officials say the center will accommodate more than 2,000 students a year.

Additionally Crain's provides some info on lawmakers attempts to get more info:
The fog around Gov. Bruce Rauner’s planned South Loop tech hub led by University of Illinois lifted a little during a state Senate hearing yesterday, but there are plenty of details that still aren’t visible. Even some pieces that seem to be in place could disappear.
The $500 million for the Discovery Partners Institute that was part of the latest state budget appears real, if not yet complete. It has changed the trajectory of the project, said U of I President Tim Killeen, increasing interest from potential corporate partners, private donors and faculty. He said DPI has verbal commitments of more than $100 million in private funding, but he didn't provide details.

The majority of the state funding will be used for construction or renovation of facilities in Chicago and on various U of I campuses, university officials said. The most visible is likely to be the new facility that U of I hopes to build on a 62-acre development south of Roosevelt Road between Clark Street and the Chicago River that’s been proposed by Related Midwest.

Some of money also will be used to build or renovate facilities on other campuses, including Urbana-Champaign, UIC and Springfield, that are part of a virtual innovation network. But only about $150 million of the funding, which comes from Build Illinois bonds sold by the state, is in the bank. More money will come from a bond offering that could happen in October and future issues.

One thing is clear from the hearing: There is both considerable interest and concern about the project outside Chicago. Killeen and other U of I officials sought to reassure Sens. Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, and Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign, that DPI isn’t a raid on the Urbana-Champaign campus, which also is expected to see some new funding from the $500 million appropriation for DPI.

This is one of those things that feels abstract and should be viewed with a heavy dose of skepticism.  In some respect, we wonder how closely this is or isn't tied to the Amazon HQ2 pitch.  One of the major critieria for Amazon was access to quality talent.  By potentially opening up this institute next door to HQ2 on paper could seem enticing.  While we're unsure if Amazon is the linchpin for Discovery Partners Institute (or could it be the reverse?) - the timing of the announcements have our eyebrows raised.

We shall see...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Villains Closing Their Doors on September 8th

Looks like one of our faves is closing (via Eater):
After three years, the second iteration of Villains will soon be no more in the South Loop. Management announced that the craft beer pub is closing on September 8 at 730 S. Clark Street. The restaurant reinvented itself at a new location after closing in 2012, going from burgers to more of a gastropub.
The announcement thanks customers and urges visitors to come by for a burger and beer.

Definitely bummed about this one!  We've had some good eats at Villains and some fun as well.

Best of luck to everyone involved and you will be missed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The 50th Anniversary of "The Battle of Michigan Avenue" in the Sloop

General Logan Statue in Grant Park 
Today marks the 50th anniversary of "The Battle of Michigan Avenue" during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.  For some of us who weren't around back then, it's hard to understand all the dynamics at play, but seeing these pictures and videos from around the Sloop helps a little bit.

It's hard to imagine a scene like this in our neighborhood.  This video from CBS Sunday Morning provides a good summary:

And here is blurb from the AP back then (via Washington Post):
Some 3,000 anti-war demonstrators fought a bloody, open battle with an equal contingent of police and Illinois National Guardsmen Wednesday night in an assault on the downtown headquarters of the Democratic National Convention.
There were mass arrests and some 300 injuries as police clubbed at the demonstrators, who have massed in Chicago by the thousands to protest against administration war policies.

Rocks and bottles were thrown, car windows broken, trash cans overturned and set afire, and heads were beaten in a five-block stretch along fashionable South Michigan Avenue, main street of Chicago’s showcase front yard.

Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey was in his 25th-floor suite of the Conrad Hilton, which fronts on Michigan Avenue, awaiting an appearance before the convention at the International Amphitheatre, five miles south. A Humphrey aide said tear gas could be smelled in his room as police battled demonstrators in the hotel ground floor lobby.
Was anyone around the Sloop during this time?  Any feelings/thoughts you can provide?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Construction Begins for Roosevelt Collection Apartment High-rise?

A reader writes:
Wanted to share some photos of activity going on at the northeastern parcel of the Roosevelt Collection. Originally set aside for a hotel, I spoke with construction works who advised work was being done for an apartment tower.

As you may recall, we had a post back in the beginning of 2017 talking about plans to move forward with the tower.  However, since then we haven't heard much until this email.

If you're curious what this was supposed to look like or where it was going to be in relationship to the existing building, the rendering below should help:

(Hat tip:  BW!)

Friday, August 24, 2018

New Renderings and Information for Pair of CMK Developed Rental Apartments at 14th and Wabash

Some more information on another rental building that seems to progressing pretty quickly at 14th and Wabash (via Curbed):
The South Loop’s rental frenzy is showing no signs of slowing down as work continues on a pair of 15- and 10-story apartment buildings at the corner of Wabash Avenue and 14th Street. The taller structure, at 45-59 E. 14th Street, will offer 199 units while its shorter companion, at 1419 S. Wabash Avenue, will bring 62 units to the rapidly changing downtown neighborhood.
While foundation and demolition work began this spring, a full construction permit for the taller building was awarded earlier this week. Designed by Chicago architecture firm Pappageorge Haymes Partners, both structures will feature ground-floor retail space, indoor and outdoor amenities for residents, and a combined 95 parking spaces.

This is another development from CMK.  They've been one of - if not the most - prominent developer in the neighborhood.

Some people like their sleek buildings.  Some feel as if they will be frowned upon in a decade or two (we've heard the comparison to the Carl Sandburg Village in Old Town and how those buildings feel dated). 

Regardless, this will bring more density and likely more patrons to Wabash and Michigan which should be good for the businesses in those areas (and the area in more broader terms).

Any thoughts?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

400 Chicago Kids From 20 Neighborhoods Shutting Down Balbo Dr. For Basketball Game

We don't usually take the bait for random press releases, but this one came across our inbox and sounded interesting:
On Thursday, over 400 Chicago kids and teens from 20 different Chicago neighborhoods are coming together to shut down a major Downtown intersection for a cross-city basketball tournament.
The event is part of LISC's (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) "Hoops in the Hood" program, a sports-based community safety initiative that turns "hot spots" for violence into safe spaces for youth to interact and build positive relationships with peers and caring adults, while making visible use of public spaces and fostering a sense of community. Each year, approximately 5,000 Chicago kids and teens take part in the program, all at no cost to them.

Off the courts, the players may be rivals — but on the court, they’re teammates.

Benjamin “Benny” Estrada, director of sports-based programs at the New Life Centers of Chicagoland in Little Village, said he’s got about 140 kids and teens between 8 and 19 who participate in his chapter of the program, locally known as “B-Ball on the Block.”

A reformed gang member himself, Estrada knows firsthand the transformative power of community engagement, especially through sports, for kids and adults alike.

“To get young people around positive peers, that’s huge,” he said. “For myself, I hung around a lot of negative peers when I was younger. Once I found that love to play basketball, I wanted to be around those friends because we loved the same thing. It helped me pull myself away from the negative things I was doing.”

The event kicks-off at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23, Balbo Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Printers Row Chase Closing at the End of October?

A reader writes:
Got a notice in the mail that the Chase branch at the corner of Dearborn and Harrison is closing at the end of October. No word on whether or not the ATM's will remain in the neighborhood. Its in a prime corner retail space, so hopefully something good will take it's place.
Interesting to hear they're closing.  Wonder if they will be opening a new location to serve the neighborhood (although there is a Chase at 9th and Wabash).

(Hat tip: KK!)

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.