Wednesday, November 13, 2019

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Fire in the Sky

(Hat tip: JH!)

Moody Tongue's Ambitious Concept at 2515 S. Wabash Ushers in Dinning Optimism for the Sloop

Every year when the Michelin guides come out we write about the lack of representation for the Sloop.  Yes, Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) represents in a very very strong manner and there are other places like Everest (425 S. Financial Pl) and Dagaun Noodle (2230 S. Wentworth) that are so close to the Sloop we feel like they're claimable. 

Outside of that you have to head to the West Loop, Pilsen or River North to get your share of award winning options.  That said, there are a couple of places on the horizon that may have a shot at earning some recognition.  Harbor (1312 S. Wabash) is working furiously on their build-out and seems like a promising concept. 

Another one that actually opened yesterday - Moody Tongue - has laid out a very ambitious dinning vision.  Before we post, we will acknowledge that their location - 2515 S. Wabash - likely falls outside what we would deem the Sloop (it's south of the I-55!), but what the hell it's not far from us (via Eater Chicago):
One of Chicago’s most hotly anticipated restaurants of the season opens today, and its owners hope to break the mold of what beer-focused dining entails. Brewmaster Jared Rouben and business partner/cousin Jeremy Cohn of Moody Tongue Brewing Company launch the Bar at Moody Tongue and the Dining Room at Moody Tongue today in the company’s brand new brewery near McCormick Place. As the names indicate, it’s a two-fold venue with separate fine dining and casual drinking spaces, both helmed by executive chef Jared Wentworth (Longman & Eagle, Dusek’s, Mordecai).
Wentworth’s menu for the 28-seat Dining Room might startle those accustomed to standard brewpub fare — no jalapeno poppers or Buffalo wings here. Instead, he crafts a 12-course seasonal tasting menu with dishes including Maine lobster with matsutake chawanmushi, a delicate, savory Japanese egg custard, squash and wort consomme, and a course of scallop and foie gras with Tokyo turnip, leek, guanciale, and melon and barley wine. The chef does tip his hat to classic bar food with a house-made caraway pretzel with beer cheese. A full menu is available below.

If that doesn't seem interesting take a look at this food porn:

Looks pretty amazing all around.  Maybe this could user in some other options for the neighborhood!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Curbed Chicago Checks-in at NEMA

NEMA is the largest building in the Sloop and has transformed the neighborhood's relationship with the famous Chicago skyline.  Turns out the rental building looks amazing inside as well and is jammed packed with a TON of amenities (via Curbed):
Enter NEMA’s ground floor and you’ll find a minimalist, mostly gray lobby plus two separate entrances and elevator banks for its two tiers of residents. Similar to Streeterville’s ultra-luxurious One Bennett Park, which provides dedicated entrances for its renters and condo owners. NEMA is rental only, but its units are divided between the building’s “Signature” and more expensive “Skyline” collections.
Residents of either have access to NEMA’s 14th- and 16th-floor amenity offerings (due to double-height ceilings the tower forgoes floor 15). The sheer amount of communal space is impressive. Every aspect seems supersized, even for such a big building with 800 units.
The 14th floor is dominated by a sprawling fitness center, which includes the only full Olympic sized boxing ring in any Chicago residential building. There’s a basketball court, spin room, yoga studio, pilates room, golf simulation with a lounge, squash court and just about every conceivable exercise machine and weights decked out with NEMA branding.
A coworking lounge on the 16th floor has nine glass-walled conference rooms, each outfitted with a flat-screen display and Apple TV. The area is one of the building’s most attractive communal spaces—in part because of its uninterrupted northern views of Grant Park and skyline beyond. There’s also a movie screening room, a kids club, locker rooms, and a dedicated space set up for couples massages.
The 10,000-square-foot outdoor terrace and pool was closed for the season when we visited. But, residents still have access to a 75-foot indoor lap pool which actually extends beyond the tower’s southern facade.
If all of that isn’t enough, NEMA offers another lounge space with a pool table, fireplace, and kitchen. There’s a 21-and-over sports bar, the Station, a nod to the South Loop’s demolished Grand Central Station terminal. It features a wall of TVs, old school skeeball machines, and a self-serve beer tap (pending a city liquor license approval).

It's a good read and there are a ton of pics worth taking a look at:

Monday, November 11, 2019

Taking a Look at the 2019 Business Counter

Ok Ok Ok....we got a really late start on the 2019 business counter this year, but better late than never, amiright?

Anyway, as usual we want you to let us know if we missed or need to revise something.  Right now, we have the Sloop tallied at a +7 for the year:

Opened in 2019
  1. Kido (Roosevelt Collection)
  2. Elite Eye Care (555 S. Dearborn)
  3. Grant Park Bistro (800 S. Michigan)
  4. Bob's Furniture (Roosevelt and 90/94) 
  5. Kids Wonderland Play & Party (2028 S. Michigan)
  6. SX Sky Bar (808 S. Michigan)
  7. South Asia Institute (1925 S. Michigan)
  8. 9 Round (777 S. State)
  9. Sumi Japanese Restaurant (1303 S. Michigan)
  10. Mei's Asian Small Plates & Dumplings (1101 S. Wabash) 
  11. Totto's Market (751 S. Dearborn)
  12. Giglio's (825 S. State)
  13. Harold's #88 Chicken Shack (1450 S. Michigan)
  14. Lips (2229 S. Michigan)
  15. Il Culaccio (2134 S. Indiana Ave)
  16. Molly's Cupcakes (1150 S. Wabash)
  17. GoGrocer (1401 S. Michigan)
  18. Dentart (2106 S. Michigan)
  19. Pacino's Classic Italian (1010 S. Delano Ct.)
Closed or Moved Out of the Sloop in 2019
  1. Z Gallerie (Roosevelt Collection)
  2. Bongo Room (1152 S. Wabash)
  3. The Lobo Cantina (1307 S. Wabash)
  4. Vice District Brewing (1454 S. Michigan)
  5. Wabash Tap (1233 S. Wabash)
  6. Bella Bronze Tan (1503 S. Michigan)
  7. Mai Tai (614 S. Wabash)
  8. Chicago Bicycle Company (728 S. Dearborn)
  9. HAX Hops & Hamburgers (733 S. Dearborn St.)
  10. Cycmode (1333 S. Wabash)
  11. Fruve (1130 S. Wabash)
  12. The Nail Social (73 E. 16th)
Here are some other businesses that may or may not open up in 2019:
Min & Hin (1234 S. Michigan)
Sage Room (67 E. Cermak) 
• Chipotle (1136 S. Wabash)
Harbor (1312 S. Wabash) 
Jet's Pizza (1140 S. Wabash) 
New Asian Fusion Restaurant (Roosevelt Collection - S. Delano Ct.)
Roots Pizza (NW Corner of Dearborn/Polk) 
All-Star Seafood & Spirits (730 S. Clark) 
Overflow Coffee (1449 S. Michigan) 
Wabash Tap New Concept (1233 S. Wabash) 
The Lucky Well (Roosevelt Collection) 
The Grail Cafe (715 S. Dearborn) 
Teriyaki Madness (829 S. Wabash)  
Crab Bucket (South Michigan & 21st) 
Williams Inn Pizzeria (2210 S. Michigan) 
Hoots (TBD) 
Chick-Fil-A (Clinton & De Koven) 
• 7-11 (Clinton & De Koven) 
• Aspen Dental (Clinton & De Koven) 

Are we missing anything?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

South Loop Montessori School Holding Fall Fest Fundraiser this Saturday (11/9)

If you're looking for something to do this Saturday:
Now that it seems like fall has finally arrived, we would like to announce that, on Saturday, November 9th, South Loop Montessori School (47 W Polk St) will be hosting a Fall Fest from 10am-2pm! This will be a fundraiser to help us cover the cost of resurfacing our playground with high-quality turf and other modifications. 
We will be selling tickets at the entrance of the Fall Fest for families to participate in activities like face painting, a photo booth, pumpkin decorating, as well as serving refreshments and bake sale items. We will also have other free craft activities such as veggie stamping, fall play-dough mixing, and a greeting card station. In addition to selling tickets for activities, we will be accepting donations and selling SLMS stickers!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fruve xPress Juicery and The Nail Social Close Up Shop

Upon a recent trip we noticed a couple shop that are closed.  Maybe they've been closed for awhile, maybe not.  Anyway, here are two spots that closed:

First off - Fruve xPress Juicery closed up shop at 1130 S. Wabash.  This spot has been open for about 5 years and to be honest had a good run.  The place was good, but was very 'high-end' (aka expensive).  Anyway, will be interesting to see what might move in:

Second, The Nail Social has apparently closed at 76 E. 16th.  We didn't know much about this place, but this strip of businesses on 16th seems to have a revolving door.  Yes, some places have done well, but there is a handful of businesses that come and go:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Deconversion of Condo Buildings to Rental is a Trend in Chicago

We spilled a decent amount digital ink on the de-conversion of River City from condo building to rental.  The Chicago Tribune has a good read on the topic and cites River City as an example:
Chicago apartment buildings can have many lives. “It used to be you bought an apartment building and converted it into condominiums,” said Susan Tjarksen, a managing director in the Chicago office of Cushman & Wakefield, “and now we’re seeing the reverse of that.”
While that’s the simplest definition of the condo deconversion trend sweeping the city, turning condos into rental apartments is not a simple process for residents, the community or investors. Residents who buy a unit in a building seeking the stability of homeownership are often forced to move when an apartment investor buys the building. Investors often find themselves scrambling to find buildings that cater to the city’s hot rental market. And aldermen in neighborhoods that have seen rising deconversions are facing pressure from condo-owning constituents. 
Condominiums that have surpassed their 1980s and 1990s heyday are prime targets for offers from investors. “It’s been a good way of finding an alternative source of investments,” said David Goss, co-founder and managing principal at Interra Realty. His firm did its first deconversion transaction of a 101-unit building in Uptown in January 2017. Since then, he’s noticed an uptick in the number of condos being turned into apartments.

The piece on River City:
The onset of new amenity-filled apartments coming to the market has created competition with many of the vintage condos found in Chicago. People are shifting away from some of those dated high-rise buildings and going to the brand-new apartment buildings next door. “Today, condos have a hard time competing with apartments in terms of what they can offer for rent and amenities,” said Rocio. 
In the case of one deconverted downtown building, River City, the new building’s owners are creating a welcoming lobby, new fitness center, multiple co-working and gathering spaces including a dog run, outdoor grilling stations and shuffleboard courts.

The River City drama took place over a long period and was certainly not smooth.  This seems like a trend to us, but not a sustainable one...guess we will see.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Pacino's Classic Italian Announces Soft Opening on 11/5

Looking forward to trying this new spot at Roosevelt Collection (via their Facebook page):

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Southbridge Development Gets Permits to Start Construction at Former Harold Ickes Homes Site

Another big, but slow moving development appears ready to start moving (via Curbed):
After five years of planning, the redevelopment of the demolished Harold L. Ickes Homes public housing complex is preparing to begin construction on the Near South Side. Known as Southbridge, the sprawling project will bring hundreds of new mixed-income homes to a vacant 13-acre parcel at the intersection of Chicago’s South Loop, Chinatown, Bronzeville, and Bridgeport neighborhoods.
The development’s first phase, which comprises a pair of six-story rental buildings slated for 2310 and 2344 S. State Street, landed permits this week. The duo will feature a combined 206 rental apartments with 68 units reserved for Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) households, 28 offered at an affordable rate, and 112 at market-rate.
Designed by architect of record Nia Architects and design architect Antunovich Associates, phase one will include residential amenities such as a fitness center and rooftop lounge. There will also be 2,000 square feet of ground-floor community space including classrooms, a demonstration kitchen, and event spaces.

While this area of the South Loop has been relatively stagnant, it's natural to assume this area is ripe for development.  To the east the Motor Row area has substantial momentum (although still has a ways to go) and to the west Chinatown continues to expand.  So it seems natural that this area of the South Loop will be a good bridge.

Anyone have thoughts on this news?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Church of Scientology Build-out Underway at 650 S. Clark

A reader sent us an article from the Columbia Chronicle:
Junior filmmaking major Aaron Biggers, who lived in the Dwight Lofts for the 2018–2019 academic year, was curious to find out what was happening next door after passing by the construction.
Biggers eventually learned the construction site neighboring the Dwight Lofts, 642 S. Clark St., will be home to the relocated Church of Scientology of Chicago, as reported by the Chronicle April 13, 2015. The church currently has a Chicago location at 3011 N. Lincoln Ave.
“I saw the construction outside last year … and we were all wondering what it was,” Biggers said. “As I passed by after class one day, there was some paperwork on some wood paneling that said something like, ‘If you have a problem with the construction, notify the Church of Scientology Illinois.’”
Amazingly, we first heard about the Church of Scientology coming to this location way back in 2009!  What has taken them so long to build this out - who knows?!?!?!

The article above goes on to get some neighbors perspective on the church opening up shop in the Sloop.  Not the hardest hitting article, but still worth a read.

(Hat tip:  DS!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

HAX to Close on Wednesday, October 30th

Well this sucks (via Hax Facebook page):

Lost of questions are still unanswered regarding what happened or what's next.  The owners of Hax (formerly Hackney's) are also owners Flacos Tacos (which presumably will stay open) and of Gordo's - the Ice Cream bar shop that is actually attached to Hax.  It's unclear if Gordo's will stay open.

As a reminder, Hax was previously a popular sit-down restaurant called Hackney's.  At the time, the many in the neighborhood questioned the move considering Hackney's did a consistent business.  They officially closed their doors in 2016 and took about a year to reopen as Hax.  While the concept of Hax was interesting, it never gained a ton of traction with the neighborhood.

We will stay close to this one as it's certainly a prime restaurant/retail spot in Printers Row.

If anyone has any tips let us know. 

(Hat tip: NS!)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Various (Web) Voices Question Whether or Not 1000M Gets Built

In case you missed it, last week there was a ceremonial groundbreaking for the 74-story 1000M condo high rise planned for the block of 1000 S. Michigan.  The plans are beautiful and surely would add another gem to the South Loop's portion of the iconic Chicago skyline.

We posted about this two weeks ago and was surprised that this was moving forward.  It sounds like we're not the only ones who felt this way.  Others have been clearer about their head-scratching.  For instance (aka Crain's):
Will this Helmut Jahn tower get built?A ceremonial groundbreaking was set for today at 1000 S. Michigan Ave. for the 74-story condo tower the architect designed. The start of actual construction hasn't been announced. Crain's has some questions.
The body of the article makes some stark points about the price per square foot:
Typically, around the time of a groundbreaking, developers like to talk up their pre-sale figures. As an example: When ground was being broken for 95-story Vista Tower in Lakeshore East in 2016, the developers reported that about 80 condos, or 20 percent, were already under contract. These developers, Time Equities based in New York City and JK Equities based in the New York suburbs, “are not speaking about financing or pre-sales,” spokeswoman Marisa Monte said in an email to Crain’s last week.
That’s not to say there haven’t been sales at 1000M.
The developers have marked 97 units as being under contract to buyers, Crain’s found by sifting through the listings database maintained by Midwest Real Estate Data. If accurate, that’s about 23 percent of the planned 421 units.
Of those marked sold, 53, or more than half, are studios and one-bedrooms priced between $259,000 and $700,000. Early in 2019, the developers announced they had reconfigured several floors to create smaller “micro-units” priced in the lower $300,000s and quickly sold at least 20 of them.
The top-priced unit at 1000M marked sold is a 2,150-square-footer on the 57th floor whose asking price was $3.43 million. If it closes near that price, it will top the record price for the South Loop. In 2016, buyers paid $3.2 million for a 4,600-square-foot condo on the 23rd floor of 1201 S. Prairie Ave., looking over Grant Park from its south edge.
Among the yet unsold: seven condominiums priced between $4 million and $8.1 million. In the past two years, the average price of the more than 2,000 condos sold in the South Loop has been $330,000, according to Midwest Real Estate Data.
“Any time you’ve got a product that’s more expensive than what has historically sold in the area, you have to get creative in the marketing,” said Ryan Preuett, a Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty agent who was one of two representing the record-priced Prairie Avenue condo. The buyers there had been looking in neighborhoods north of the park.
“We got them to come south and they saw how much more they could get in the South Loop,” said Preuett. (At the time of that sale, he was working for a different brokerage.) North of the park, they’d been spending about $1,000 per square foot, he said, while south of the park they paid about $695 a foot.
The $4 million-and-up condos at 1000M range from $1,229 to $1,476 a foot. “You’re in uncharted waters,” said Preuett, who emphasized that he was not saying they can’t sell at that level.
A couple other real estate voices on the interwebs have provided more air to these questions.  The Chicago Architecture Bog had a posted titled "A South Loop Skyscraper Breaks Ground Without Breaking Ground" and Joe Zekas from YoChiago posted this from his Linkedin handle:

To be fair, a lot of the questions are stemming from the Crain's article we posted about above.  We would love to see this building get built as it would have a major impact on the neighborhood and would help the momentum around the South Loop's side of Grant Park continue.

But...we're still skeptical.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Roosevelt University Plans to Acquire Robert Morris University

In case you missed this, it looks like we have some consolidation going on in the higher education space in the neighborhood (via Chicago Tribune):
Roosevelt University plans to acquire Robert Morris University, school officials announced Wednesday (on 10/2).
Roosevelt has submitted the acquisition request to the Higher Learning Commission, an institution that accredits and provides oversight to universities throughout the Midwest. Accreditation is critical to ensuring the academic quality and financial health of a school, and making students eligible for financial aid.
The merger also needs to be approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and U.S. Department of Education, a process officials say likely would not be complete until early 2020.
Should the proposal be approved, Robert Morris would operate under the Roosevelt name and umbrella. Much of the programming, however, could continue on under a new unit called the Robert Morris Experiential College.
“We have been working with Robert Morris’ leadership team to ensure that it is a good fit for our respective students, faculty and staff,” Roosevelt President Ali Malekzadeh said in a statement. “Because of our complementary programs, and inclusive, yet distinct, missions of social justice and social equity, it is a perfect fit for both our universities’ students, faculty and staff and provides countless opportunities for everyone. We hope for this to be a model approach on how to successfully integrate two private universities.”

Probably not a great sign for higher education.  Thoughts?

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Sloopy Descendant?

A reader writes:
This guy decided to visit South Loop for his morning perch today! Roosevelt & Prairie

One of our favorite long running posts on Sloopin is the story of the Peregrine Falcons.  We first posted about this way back in 2009.

If you're a long time reader of Sloopin, you may know that a worker at the Field Museum named one of the neighborhood Peregrine Falcons she was tracking - Sloopy - after this here blog:
2009 Broadway female Sloopy — named in honor of the website Sloopin, who helped us get the word out to the area and track the south loop birds — is nesting! 
If you're interested in Peregrine Falcons, there is a Facebook page that monitors them regionally called Chicago Peregrine Falcons.

Maybe this guy was just in town to find his long lost relative?

(Hat tip:  SG!)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

74-Story 1000M Condo Building Set to Break Ground on South Michigan on October 24th

Not going to lie, this surprised us (via Chicago Tribune):
Developers plan to break ground next week on a delayed, Helmut Jahn-designed condominium tower that would be the tallest building in the iconic row of skyscrapers on Michigan Avenue across from Grant Park.
Called 1000M, a reference to its address in the 1000 block of South Michigan, the 832-foot, 74-story tower would have the largest number of units in any condo building launched in Chicago since the recession.
Plans call for the 421-unit tower to be built near the south end of the Historic Michigan Boulevard District. The district, which extends from Randolph Street on the north to 11th Street on the south, has city landmark protection. The silvery skyscraper would have a distinct silhouette, flaring outward as it rises.
The groundbreaking is scheduled for Oct. 24, according to the developers. An invitation to the groundbreaking calls it an "event commemorating the start of construction.”

Why did it surprise?  Well it's a big big big project and has been slow moving.  Beyond that, it seems as if most experts believe a recession is coming so the timing seems like a challenge.  But what do we know...

Also - starting construction in late October seems like a strange time to be starting in Chicago (it's going to be real cold really soon!).

Anyway, if this in fact takes off it's another huge change for the neighborhood.  In our opinion this will be a beautiful, statement building for the Sloop and will continue to the evolution of a once sleepy part of Michigan Avenue.  The new Hotel Essex and Essex on the Park, just a block north of 1000M, have added some nice energy to this stretch of Michigan so we imagine this new project will do the same.

Should be interesting to see what happens.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Well-Wentworth Connector: A New Type of Road at The 78 Development

The 78 - the new mega development planned for the gigantic vacant land south of Roosevelt - has been written about a lot.  Regardless of your beliefs on the development it surely is going to be transformative for the Sloop.

There was an old post on Curbed Chicago that we didn't link to awhile back but is pretty interesting.  It talks about the plans for the Wells-Wentworth Connector:
In Chicago, a new street main street built from scratch will consider a lot more than just cars. The Wells-Wentworth Connector will be a road for pedestrians, bikers, and new modes of transportation the city might adopt in the future such as scooters.
In a major city it’s a rare opportunity to construct a brand new road without existing infrastructure to work around or other development obstacles, but that’s exactly the chance developer Related Midwest will get with the Wells-Wentworth Connector.
Earlier this summer work on the project began which will be the main road running from north-south in the megadevelopment The 78. The road will directly and easily connect near South Side neighborhoods to the Loop for the first time.

So that sounds great, but what does it really mean.  The article goes on to provide more specifics:
The street will only have two lanes for cars and speed tables at crosswalks will reduce the risk of speeding down the straight road. A speed table is similar to a speed bump except it has a flat top. The ones at The 78 will be placed at crosswalks and reach the same height as sidewalks. This removes the dip at most other intersections in the city, and the pavers will intuitively lead people toward the riverfront and park, Pfeffer said.
The bike lane is protected by a double parkway and designed to guard bikers against hazards like dooring and cars pulling into the lane. The entire lane is 15 feet wide with 5-foot planted barriers on either side and a 5-foot space to ride.

It will be fun to see how this progresses, but it does sound like a unique opportunity.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Aaron Sorkin's "The Trial of the Chicago 7" Filming on Plymouth Ct Today

It looks like Aaron Sorkin's upcoming movie, The Trial of the Chicago 7, is filming in the Sloop today:

For those not familiar with the premise - the movie's IMDB page says:
The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
Beyond an intriguing (local) premise, the cast looks stellar:  Jeremy Strong (Kendall form the hugely popular show Succession), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eddie Redmayne.

(Hat tip:  JTS!)

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Chicago Fire's Return to Soldier Field Seems Like a Win for the Sloop Also

In case you missed this one, looks like the Sloop is going to have more events in the neighborhood starting next year (via Chicago Tribune):
The Chicago Fire’s return to Soldier Field is official.

At a news conference Tuesday morning at the iconic stadium, the Fire announced an agreement to play at the home of the Bears starting in 2020, ending a 14-season stint at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview and returning to the 61,500-seat venue in the South Loop. 
Financial terms of the deal, which runs through the 2022 Major League Soccer season with extension options for eight more years, were not disclosed. Fire owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly made the announcement.
On the whole this seems like a good thing for most everyone in the equation.  Most importantly in our eyes is that the neighborhood and businesses around the Sloop will benefit from a more lively vibe and money flowing through our local establishments.

On the flip side, some of those positives could also be seen as a negatives.  More traffic, more headaches getting around, more often.  That said, still seems like the net impact is positive in our opinion.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Efforts Ongoing To Preserve Dilapidated Power Plant in the Sloop

One of the more iconic buildings in the Sloop is facing demolition.  Most would probably see this as a good thing, some not so much (via Sun Times):
An old coal-fired power plant might not be the first idea that comes to mind when Chicagoans think of buildings in need of saving in the city, but a group of preservationists are calling for just that.
Vacant since 2011, the old Union Station Power House is an example of the city’s industrial roots and a monument to its history as a mover of people and freight, according to Preservation Chicago’s Executive Director Ward Miller.
Preservation Chicago has the old “boiler plant” listed as one of the seven most threatened buildings in the city and is making a last-ditch effort to save the building by finding someone who will give it new life.
“We’re still hoping to find a developer that can reuse it and to get the city involved,” Miller said when reached by phone earlier this week. “We want more opportunity to have [the public’s] voices to be heard and determine if there is a way to avoid demolition.”
Whether its future holds a second life as a data center, an addition to the city’s expanding Riverwalk or something even more distinctive, the building should be saved for future generations to enjoy, Miller said, noting that London’s Tate Modern Museum was once the Bankside Power Station.
When seen from Roosevelt Road while crossing the Chicago River’s south branch, the boxy building’s large, twin smoke stacks rise into the sky with some of the city’s most iconic architecture as its backdrop.
Reuse would be interesting, but we just don't see it happening.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dentart Opens Up Shop at 2106 S. Michigan

It appears that Dentart has opened up at 2016 S. Michigan (behind the tree...):

We did some googling and seems like their website says they're "specializing in Orthodontics and Prosthodontics".

While businesses moving into the Sloop is good, there is a running inside joke around the neighborhood that we have enough dentist offices, salons and spas.  Guess we need one more...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Sign for Ming Hin on Side of 1234 S. Michigan Building

More signs of the popular Ming Hin coming to 1234 S. Michigan:

Back in September, Curbed Chicago posted about this restaurant coming to long vacant building.

Will be nice to have this building alive and active again.

(Hat tip:  JL!)

Monday, October 7, 2019

GoGrocer Opens New Location at 1401 S. Michigan

GoGrocer looks to be open at 1401 S. Michigan:

The interesting thing is that GoGrocer has a location one block north of this location (1250 S. Michigan).  While more and more people pour into the Sloop, maybe both can survive?  If it wasn't GoGrocer, it could have been another quick, small, local neighborhood convenience store.  After all Lakeview Market & Deli opened two blocks north (1118 S. Michigan) of the original GoGrocer on Michigan Ave.

As a reminder, this was once an upscale bar called Square One.  That bar closed up shop in the spring of 2018 and has remained vacant since.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Sage Room Poised to Take Over Former Velvet Lounge Space at 67 E. Cermak

We were recently on Cermak and noticed some movement at the former Velvet Lounge space (67 E. Cermak):

We're not sure what the story is here, but the green painted brick nicely changes up the look of this long drab retail complex.

We did some searching and of course they have a Facebook page - although it doesn't really have a ton of info.  It does have some tantalizing photos though:

If these pictures turn out to be true, the Sage Room could be a great addition to this area of the Sloop!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Beetlejuice Pop-Up Bar Coming to Motor Row Just in Time for Halloween

This could be fun (via Eater):
Chicago’s throwback pop culture pop-up bar bubble shows no signs of bursting anytime soon. The Bassline at 2239 S. Michigan Avenue will host the latest, based on Tim Burton’s classic 1988 movie Beetlejuice, which starred Michael Keaton as the crude and comedic spirit. House of Beetle will offer themed cocktails, scavenger hunts, live entertainment, and more, according to a news release and Block Club. It’ll run from October 17 through November 1 and tickets and more information are available on its website.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Molly's Cupcakes Brings An Alternative Option to Night Time Activities

Dessert options in the Sloop have always been spotty.  Yes, most restaurants have options but sometimes it's nice to just go somewhere else for dessert.

An ice cream shop is usually the defacto "dessert" spot in a neighborhood, but for some reason the Sloop doesn't have a real spot that focuses on the cool treat.  Yes, we have a couple Baskin Robins scattered throughout the neighborhood, but that's not really the vibe we're talking about. 

Gordo's Ice Cream in Printers Row is one option that has certainly scratched the sweet tooth itch for the neighborhood.  If you're really twisting our arm you could maybe argue that Stan's Donuts on Roosevelt or Little Branch Cafe are options - although they're not open late for a post meal dessert.  

Which brings us to the new Molly's Cupcakes at 1150 S. Wabash.  While Molly's has had immense success across the city, we were curious to see how it would do in the Sloop.  It's been open for just over a month now and judging by our first visit this past Saturday night, the neighborhood is ready to support their delicious doughy business.

On Saturday night around 10pm, it certainly didn't have a line out the door, but was busy. 

There were college kids playing board games on the swing chairs at the front of the establishment.  A multi-generational family sitting at the communal tables enjoying the unique cupcakes.  A middle aged daughter with her mom plotting which desserts they were going to try and a group that appeared to be on a double date nerding out on the ridiculously over-sized chalkboard:  

All that said, it was nice to see a variety of neighbors doing something at night in the Sloop that didn't rely on alcohol.  While we certainly appreciate imbibing in the Sloop and around town, options are critical to a thriving neighborhood and it appears Molly's may in fact provide a new option for residents.

Welcome to the Sloop Molly's!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Donate Your Lightly Warn Shoes at FFC Gym (1151 S. State) Until October 11th

A reader writes:
Please list if not already listed
Used and new shoes needed
Tennis shoes mostly
All local FFC participating

So we looked a little more into this and found this on their website (via FFC website):
From September 9 – October 11, all FFC locations will be accepting donations of gently used gym shoes to benefit Share Your Soles, a local organization that distributes shoes to people in need locally, nationally and internationally! Tell your friends and family – you don’t need to be a member to donate!

Seems like a good cause!

(Hat tip:  SB!)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Michelin Guide Again Recognizes Acadia with Two Stars for Fifth Straight Year

In case you missed it Acadia - the Sloop's most prestigious and high-end dinning establishment - was awarded two stars from the annual Michelin restaurant review (via Crain's):
Twenty-five Chicago restaurants earned a prestigious Michelin star in the 10th edition of the local guide.  
That’s an increase from last year’s total of 22, with five new restaurants earning one-star status. The one-star list includes Kikko (chef Noah Sandoval's new place), Mako, Next, Omakase Yume and Yugen, all in the West Loop, reinforcing the neighborhood’s reputation as a top culinary destination and reinforcing Japanese omakase as a dining trend.
Alinea retained its top Michelin rating of three stars, with Alinea chef Grant Achatz and partner Nick Kokonas adding Next to their list of Michelin-awarded restaurants. Next is known for its revolving menu with multiple themes throughout the year. It's been a puzzling omission from the Michelins for many years.
Alinea    Lincoln Park       
Acadia    South Loop
Oriole    West Loop   
Smyth    West Loop   
Band of Bohemia    Ravenswood
Blackbird    West Loop   
Boka    Lincoln Park   
El Ideas    Pilsen
Elizabeth    Lincoln Square
Elske    West Loop   
Entente    Lakeview   
Everest    Loop   
Goosefoot   Lincoln Square
*Kikko    West Loop 
*Mako    West Loop 
*Next    West Loop 
North Pond    Lincoln Park 
*Omakase Yume    West Loop
Parachute    Avondale 
Schwa    Wicker Park 
Sepia    West Loop   
Spiaggia    Gold Coast   
Temporis    Noble Square 
Topolobampo    River North   
*Yugen    West Loop
(first-time Michelin winners denoted by an asterisk)

While it's certainly nice to have such a well regarded restaurant in the neighborhood (literally considered one of the top 4 restaurants in the city) - many would like more, moderately priced Michelin worthy restaurants in the Sloop. 

Michelin also bestows Bib Gourmand ratings to local restaurants that are rated as a quality meal at a reasonable price (approximately $40 per person).  Some Sloop restaurants such as Mercat a la PlanxaKurah, City Tavern received this recognition in the past, there aren't any in the Sloop currently.

For the closest options you could travel to Chinatown or Pilsen, but it sure would be nice to have one or two in the Sloop!  The only new place that seems like it has a chance at a bib gourmand designation is Habror - the new restaurant slated for the old Gioco space.  Maybe?