Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pacific Garden Mission Opens its Doors During Polar Vortex

From CBS2:
As temperatures plunged to dangerous wind chills Tuesday night in Chicago, a man in a wheelchair pulled up to the doors of Pacific Garden Mission, a homeless shelter that was already filled well beyond capacity with people seeking comfort from the deadly elements of the night.
Although the shelter had surpassed its capacity more than trifold, the man was quickly welcomed inside. He spent the night Tuesday feeling warm and well-fed along with around 800 other homeless men, women and children who sought refuge at the shelter, which is the largest in the city.

Pacific Garden’s president, Philip Kwiatkowski, said the man had been trying to navigate the icy sidewalks in his wheelchair and somehow made his way to the shelter on his own.
“He showed up with nowhere to go and we took him in,” Kwiatowski said.

Usually Pacific Gardens houses people for up to 30 days while they ease them back into society with support finding a job and getting access to other resources needed to sustain independence.

But this week, those rules were tossed aside and anyone was welcomed inside–no questions asked.
Please note:
If you want to help Chicago’s homeless, Pacific Gardens needs coats, hats, gloves and mittens and is accepting donations. The shelter is located at 1458 S. Canal St.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Look at Chicago Sports Most Memorable Weather Related Moments

(Extreme) weather is on the mind of everyone.  Rightfully so, it's freaking cold outside!

In honor of this event, the Chicago Tribune has a fun article looking at the most memorable weather-related sports events in Chicago history.  Many of them took place at Soldier Field and if you're lucky enough maybe you went to one.

We were at the Blackhawks vs. Penguins "stadium series" game in 2014.  We don't remember it being unbearable from a cold standpoint, but it was fun as it snowed pretty hard:
The wind off Lake Michigan swirled and so much snow fell it was hard to follow the game at times as the Blackhawks beat the Penguins at Soldier Field. And it was great.

"Probably the greatest setting you could want," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
"With how hard it was snowing it was like, ‘Wow, these are amazing conditions.’ I think everybody went back to when they were kids.”

Other events at Soldier Field include The Fog Bowl (Dec. 31, 1988) & The Haunting Halloween night (Oct. 31, 1994).

What is the number one weather related sports event?  The Cubs World Series rain delay - that was pretty epic

Monday, January 28, 2019

River City Gets a Controversial Paint Job

River City gets a paint job (via Curbed):
A month after closing a massive deal to deconvert River City’s 449 condos into rental apartments, a team of developers unveiled plans to renovate the iconic 1986 Bertrand Goldberg-designed structure with a new entrance, lobby, and communal spaces. Some preservationists, however, are not pleased with the changes.
A joint venture of the Wolcott Group, Marc Realty, and Ruttenberg Gordon Investments tapped Blue Star Properties to design the makeover, which includes new residential amenities such as a party room, coworking spaces, and an outdoor terrace with grilling stations, bocce ball, shuffleboard courts, and a dog run.
We understand the sentiment of the preservationists, but also understand to make the building more modern and desirable from a commercial standpoint.

The post goes on to state that the new River City apartments are set to welcome its first residents in March.

As a reminder there was a ton of controversy related to River City being deconverted from condos to apartments.  That officially happened in 2018 and here we are in 2019 talking about the building finally being open for the new residents. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Two Robberies Target Canada Goose Wearing Victims in Chinatown

It's cold. You're bundled up.  But beware because you could be a target (via Chicago Tribune):
It’s freezing in Chicago, and it’s open season on Canada Goose — not the water birds, the brand of super-warm coats that are ubiquitous on city streets in spite of their roughly $1,000 price tags.

Over the past two weeks, Chicago police have reported a spate of robberies in which people wearing the coats (and at least one wearing a fake) have been targeted and forced to give up their jackets.

Around 8:30 Wednesday night in the 2100 block of China Place, surveillance video captured a 54-year-old man being punched and robbed by two men who jumped from a white Mercedes sedan, showed a gun and forcibly took his Canada Goose coat and wallet. Twenty minutes later, men in a light-colored sedan accosted a 23-year-old man walking with a friend in the 200 block of West Cullerton Street, showed a gun and demanded his Canada Goose coat.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) Signs on Prestigious International University to Coalition

More news on DPI (via Crains):
The budding Discovery Partners Institute in the South Loop got an important push today as officials from its parent University of Illinois announced an "international partnership" with the famed Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a major research hub whose founders included Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud.
But though the alliance with a school noted for producing Nobel laureates will provide some glitz, officials still are vague on when they will produce the promised hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of dollars in private capital needed to match up to $500 million in available state capital.

While this is positive news, the article plainly states that they still needs private investment:
So far, the institute has lined up $300 million in "non-state" funding, Killeen said. Most of that is from universities and "not enough yet" from private companies interested in tapping the U of I’s research and development abilities, but, "We have a lot more coming." Killeen did not say when or how much.
The U of I chief did say that a formal written agreement with Related, which has agreed to donate property for DPI if U of I and partners build it, is "in a third draft" and likely to be competed "in month or so." Signing an agreement would be taken by some as a definite sign of progress.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Flo & Santos Delicious "Flying Pork Wings" Get Some Love from Bloomberg

Bloomberg talks about the "Pork Wing" trend and references one of our favorite dishes in the Sloop:
No, pigs don’t have wings, but that’s not stopping restaurants from selling them.

Although chicken wings have long been a game-day staple, non-wing wings are poised to become the surprise star at this year’s Super Bowl as chains like Pizza Hut and Hooters stock up on cheap protein. Boneless chicken wings -- generally made from breast meat -- have been gaining space on menus for years, and now pork wings are joining the ranks. Restaurants are finding that Americans are longing for convenient and non-traditional snacks, and wingless wings seem to fit the bill.

Pig Wings from Pioneer MeatsSource: Pioneer Meats Flo & Santos pub and eatery in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood can attest to their appeal. It’s had pork wings on the menu since opening eight years ago. Chefs toss the “flying pork wings” in buffalo, barbecue or teriyaki sauce, and five of them go for $14.

“They’re an easy sell. It’s something unique, something you can share,” General Manager Nicki Piersanti said. “Pork wings -- it’s funny -- pigs can’t fly.”

Mouth watering....

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

29-Story Highrise Proposed for 717 S. Clark Street

In case you missed it last week, looks like another big residential project is headed for the Printers Row neighborhood (via Curbed):
The redevelopment of the former Palmer Printing site in Chicago’s Printer’s Row neighborhood came into clearer focus this week at a public town hall meeting hosted by 4th Ward Alderman Sophia King. 
Monday night’s presentation revealed details as well as a single rendering of a 29-story residential tower developer CMK Companies plans for 717 S. Clark Street—a site currently occupied by a low-rise commercial building and adjacent parking lot. The glassy proposal from Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture calls for 349 dwelling units and 96 parking spaces.

CMK has made it's mark all over the Sloop and this specific building looks like most of their others.  Modern, glassy but nothing to stop you in your tracks. 

The one thing that caught our attention about the rendering above was the area on the south side of the building (right part of the picture).  It sort of looks like a multi-level retail strip.  Not sure if that's what it is, but that could be an interesting addition to the stretch.

This building is going in where the last printing shop in Pritners Row called home - Palmer Printing.  They announced last January that they were moving.  Unsurprisingly, the space was gobbled up for more residential.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Elite Eye Car Moving into Former Poke Roll Space at 555 S. Dearborn

Looks like the former Poke Roll restaurant space is becoming

As a reminder Poke Roll closed up shop in the summer of 2018.

(Hat tip:  VC!)

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Essex on the Park Preps for Spring Completion

Essex on the Park is almost ready for occupancy (via Curbed):
After nearly two-years of construction, Chicago’s Essex on the Park tower is starting to sign leases for its 479 apartment units on its way to an anticipated spring completion.

The 56-story South Loop high-rise broke ground in early 2017. The project from developers Oxford Capital Group and Quadrum Global and Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) replaces an unremarkable parking garage at 808 S. Michigan Avenue with a hard-to-ignore skyscraper wrapped in green-tinted glass.
Building amenities include a dramatic four-story winter garden with an indoor pool overlooking Grant Park, an outdoor patio with grilling stations, a fitness center with an indoor/outdoor yoga studio, a party room, cocktail lounge, game room, and a private conference room.
While the architecture of the building doesn't do much for us, the winter garden is one of the cooler concepts we've seen (judging by the pic above).

Regardless if you're interested in living in this building, there are some other amenities that (presumably) will be open to the community:
Additionally, residents will have access to all of the services of the adjacent Hotel Essex. Previously known as the Essex Inn, the renovated hotel will offer a new restaurant and retractable-walled elevated bar when it opens later this year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Newly Sworn in Governor Pritzker Weighs in on "The 78's" Discovery Partner Institute

Yesterday we spoke about the proposed change to the CTA station planned for the 78 development.  Today, we read an article in Crain's about the status of another aspect of the development that most have written off.  New governor J.B. Pritzker breathes some new life into this topic:
llinois’ incoming governor is throwing a lifeline to the University of Illinois’ proposed Discovery Partners Institute in the South Loop, effectively toning down earlier remarks that some thought placed the budding research facility at death’s door.
In a phone interview, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, who will be sworn into office at noon Monday, said he still is “disappointed” that predecessor Bruce Rauner failed to line up any of the billions of dollars in private capital he’d promised to match the up to $500 million in state funds recently appropriated for the institute and related academic efforts. Rauner has said the money would be available—but only if he was re-elected.

However, Pritzker also made it clear he believes the institute still has merit and that it definitely is alive.

“I care deeply about bringing jobs and innovation to Illinois,” said Pritzker, a venture capitalist who found the 1871 tech incubator. “DPI is one opportunity to do that.”
The new governor conceded that the private capital "didn't happen," and strongly suggested that progress is needed if any of the $500 million in state funding is to be released by him.

Was the "private capital" Amazon's HQ2?  Probably?

Anyway, we'll see what happens on this one also.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Related Midwest Opts to Move Proposed CTA Station within Boundaries of "The 78"

And now the new CTA Red Line stop will be moved to the 78's land (via Curbed):
Instead of placing the estimated $300 million station on vacant CTA-owned land within the South Loop’s Dearborn Park II residential neighborhood, Related now plans to build the transit stop within the boundaries of its 62-acre development site.
“At meetings with neighborhood groups and Alderman Dowell we heard their suggestion to relocate the new CTA red line station to The 78,” said Related Midwest President Curt Bailey in a statement of his own. “In response to their feedback, we’re pleased to announce that the new station will be moved to The 78, on the west side of Clark Street.”
The revised location eliminates the need to disrupt Dearborn Park’s Cotton Tail Park for use as a construction staging area. Although Related tapped landscape architect Site Design Group, Ltd. to design improvements for the neighborhood green space, local residents pushed back against the idea and launched an online petition to “Save Cotton Tail.”

The reasoning behind the new Red Line stop’s original location was due to the subway tube rising at an incline once it crossed into The 78, station designer Carol Ross Barney told residents at a December 17 community meeting. Given the station’s new location, it seems that such technical challenges can be resolved after all.

Should be interesting to see if this sticks and actually happens.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Lips - A Drag Queen Dinner-Theater Concept - Building Out Space in Motor Row

A reader sent us the following picture from Motor Row:

We weren't aware of this but dig some digging and found the following article on Chicago Tribune from October 2018:
Drag queens are coming to Motor Row. And they will be serving you dinner.
Lips, a for-profit, dinner-theater concept that has lasted 22 years in New York, is expected to open in March in the row of historic buildings, formerly known for its auto dealerships, on Michigan Avenue on Chicago’s Near South Side.

Lips Atlanta
Ed LaFaye is the co-owner of Lips, which also has locations in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and San Diego. In an interview Tuesday, he said his upscale Chicago attraction will offer “a full ‘La Cage’ experience with crushed velvet drapes, four huge crystal chandeliers, 25-foot tin ceilings and legs coming out of the wall.”

Presumably without a torso attached. Still, subtlety is not on the menu.

“The idea behind our decor,” says LaFaye, “is that a drag queen’s jewelry box has just exploded all over the place.”

Behind Lips is where Southern Gothic is set to open (which we wrote about in October):
In the space right behind Lips (at 2229 S. Michigan Ave.), Chicago’s nonprofit Windy City Playhouse is to open what its artistic director, Amy Rubenstein, describes as “a satellite location.”

The first show, likely opening in January, will be “Southern Gothic,” a transfer of the long-running, interactive production by Leslie Liautaud from the main Windy City Playhouse on Irving Park Road, where the show has been running since February.

Looks like some entertainment is actually coming to the Motor Row Entertainment District.

(Hat tip: ASR!)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Alderman Dowell Stakes "No" Position for CTA Red Line Station at 15th and Clark

A couple weeks back we posted about Related Midwest's idea to add a Red Line CTA stop at the intersection of 15th and Clark.  While another potential access point to the neighborhood, this proposal was intended to help bolster their massive development "The 78".

There were certainly pros and cons to the proposal, but today Alderman Dowell released the following statement on her position (via Nextdoor):
“While I fully support ‘The 78’ development as unique and necessary opportunity for growth in the City of Chicago, I can not support Related Midwest’s proposal to add a new CTA Red Line Station on 15th St. and Clark St., right in the middle of an established, entirely residential area. This location would be too disruptive for my residents and completely out of character with the area.”
What's next is unclear.  We're in favor of adding more public transportation options to the neighborhood.  We pondered a stop further south closer to 18th.  That might not be feasible, but alternatives are needed.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is Third Tenant Committed to the Old Post Office

Maybe not the most high-profile company, but another tenant is heading to the Old Post Office (via Chicago Tribune):
Chicago’s regional planning agency is mapping out its future in a building from the city’s past.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning said it will move its offices to 47,000 square feet of space in the former old main post office building in summer 2020.

CMAP signed a 15-year lease in the long-vacant structure at 433 W. Van Buren St., now called the Old Post Office, CMAP Executive Director Joseph Szabo said. CMAP will move out of about 51,000 square feet in the only building it has called home, 110-story Willis Tower, directly across the Chicago River from the vacant post office.

“Part of the value proposition is, as regional planners, we focus a lot on reuse and preservation,” Szabo said. “Going into the post office, at a significant cost savings, is very consistent with CMAP’s mission.”

CMAP has about 100 employees. The agency is focused on long-term regional planning, covering seven counties in the Chicago area.
CMAP joins Walgreesn (leasing 200,000 sq feet) and Ferrara Candy (leasing 77,000 sq feet).  If our math is correct, that means the office building is ~11% leased. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Taco Bell Catina's License Suspended at 407 S. Dearborn

A reader writes:
I was disappointed to see this last night when trying to get dinner.
Taco Bell Cantina at 407 S. Dearborn.

We assume they will reopen once this is rectified but we don't know.

As a reminder this location opened early in 2018.

(Hat tip: RS & CB!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Kids Store - Kido - Open at Roosevelt Collection

We just noticed that Roosevelt Collection has a new kids clothing store called Kido:

The store has apparently been open since November according to their Facebook pageTheir website provides some background on their about us page:
We are married creatives based in Chicago. Doug is a visual artist who specializes in graffiti and murals. Keewa is a performing artist who sings jazz and plays characters. We have a blended family - one teenager, one toddler, and one infant. kido is a combination of our most clever and colorful ideas and the affirmations we give to our children every day. Join us, and Put On the Positive!
Looks like some cool stuff and we wish them best of luck!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Set Yourself Up for Success in 2019

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It’s a lot easier to make a New Year’s resolution than it is to follow through on it. So how can you finally avoid the regret and achieve your positive pursuits? By setting specific goals and making it as easy as possible to reach them. Imagine yourself as a resident at 1001 South State, and envision how you can make 2019 your best year yet.

Are you ready to put down the smartphone and enjoy some face-to-face time? You can honor your resolution to spend more time with friends by planning a weekly pool tournament or shuffleboard competition with your roommate in the game room. Dazzle your guests with spectacular views by hosting a bi-annual family dinner in the roof top event room. Or make a goal to expand your social circle by meeting your neighbors when you attend one of 1001’s many resident events. You can also forge a new friendship as you break a sweat together in complimentary resident fitness classes. Which leads us to another popular resolution…

In addition to the resident fitness classes, access to 1001’s 24-hour fitness center and yoga studio means you can get your post-workout endorphins when it’s most convenient for you. Lift, sprint, or namaste your way to a more consistent workout routine without setting foot outside. Or if getting outside is exactly what you’re looking for, take a jog surrounded by nature in nearby Grant Park and along the Lakefront Trail. You can also combine your workout with your next Target run by using 1001’s resident bike share program.

Whether you’re exploring your entrepreneurial spirit, inventing the next paradigm-shifting technology, or writing a bestseller, surrounding yourself with the right environment is the first step for innovative thinking. Prototype your ideas in 1001’s Makerspace with the easy-to-use CNC milling machine and 3D laser printer. Use 1001’s business center and co-working office to finally schedule that brainstorming session or important meeting. Get inspiration from the surrounding Wabash Arts Corridor and enjoy original artwork found throughout the neighborhood, including in 1001’s dog run and on the south side of the building.

Self-care may be one of the hardest resolutions to keep. Commit to taking more time for relaxation by spending a part of each day walking through 1001’s birch grove or soaking up some sun in a cabana or poolside. Use the media room to make your way through that top 100 movies list you keep thinking about or even just to catch up on your favorite binge-worthy series. Slow down enough to really take in the sights of the city with a regular dip in the outdoor hot tub.

To make 1001 South State your new home in the new year, contact the leasing office at 883.442.4904 or

The South Loop and West Loop and How They've Grown In Different Ways

The South Loop and West Loop are often compared to each other for a variety of reasons - the main likely because both neighborhoods close proximity to the Loop.

Crain's recently had a great article outlining some other reasons and how both neighborhoods have grown in different ways:
As the 1970s dawned, Chicago civic leaders looked both west and south of the Loop and saw decay. To the south were long gashes in the city grid where railroads and rail junctions lay, and to the west was skid row.
Both sections figured into ambitious urban renewal plans: On the south, 57 acres of railroad land would become a "new town," '70s lingo for a master-planned, mostly residential community. On the west, a six-block area where the city had washed away flophouses and saloons would become Place Du Sable, a cluster of modern office towers as tall as 90 stories.

The first phase of the new town, Dearborn Park I, opened in 1979; Place Du Sable morphed into residential Presidential Towers, 49 stories tall, and opened in 1986. Each was a first step in a chain reaction. Four decades later, virtually every trace of 20th-century decay is gone from both neighborhoods, each one now home to tens of thousands of people, as well as restaurants, high-performing public schools, parks and shopping districts—much of which wasn't there at the start of the 21st century.

"They've both been amazing transformations," says Diana Turowski, who has lived in the South Loop for 20 years and works in the West Loop, "but they're turning out so different." The West Loop, she says, "is hipper," while the South Loop "is more establishment."

The South Loop is a neighborhood characterized by high-rises with dramatic views of Lake Michigan, Grant Park and the Michigan Avenue cliff wall, though there are also repurposed historical buildings and purpose-built low-rise housing. Access to the lakefront path, harbors, parks and museums is quick. The West Loop is red-brick warehouse buildings and sleek, newish low-rise condos and townhouses, with a small number of high-rises. Restaurants line Randolph and Halsted streets, and Google, McDonald's and other companies have recently built modern headquarters.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Chick-Fil-A, 7-11 Gas Station and Aspen Dental Apparently Coming to South Loop West of River

In case you missed it, the Sloop is apparently getting a drive-thru Chick-fila-a (via
Chicago’s first drive-thru Chick-Fil-A will occupy one of three new retail buildings planned by GW Properties near the corner of Roosevelt Road and Jefferson Street in the South Loop.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals gave the developer permission last week to build the 5,000-square-foot restaurant at the corner of Clinton and De Koven streets, across the street from The Maxwell shopping mall and a block north of the famed Manny’s Deli.

The developers are also replacing the marathon gas station with a 7-11 gas station.  They're also planning on another building that will house Aspen Dental and other retail that is still being shopped around.

Chick-Fil-A has some delicious nuggets...looking forward to having them in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

+9 Net New Businesses for the Sloop in 2018?

It's New Year's Eve, so we're taking the opportunity to revisit our 2018 Sloopin Business Counter.  Judging by our count, the neighborhood had a +10 net count on businesses opening this year.

That being said, we're not going to lie... we feel like we missed some stuff.  So please take a look at our list and let us know if something needs to be changed/added:

Opened in 2018
  1. Low Country (1132 S. Wabash)
  2. Bar22 (2244 S. Michigan)
  3. Tiny Tunes Studio (69 E. 16th)
  4. Mikkey's Retro Grill (2026 S. Clark)
  5. USA Vein Clinic (41 E. Congress)
  6. Taco Madre (823 S. State)
  7. Tea Pot Brew Bakery (1802 S. Wabash)
  8. Sneaker Shop (1843 S. State)
  9. Dollop Coffee Company (801 S. Financial)
  10. (1325 S. Michigan)
  11. South Loop Pediatrics (2329 S. Michigan)
  12. Showroom Food Hall (21st and Prairie)
  13. Quench Wellness (1319 S. Michigan)
  14. Southern Gothic (2229 S. Michigan)
  15. VU Rooftop Bar (133 E. Cermak)
  16. Stubhub (Wabash & Balbo)
  17. Shark's Fish & Chicken (State & Cermak)
  18. Succezz (2214 S. Michigan)
  19. Fatpour (Cermak and Indiana)
  20. Float Sixty (1143 S. State)
  21. Subway (126 E. Cermak)
  22. Starbucks (Cermak and Indiana)
Closed or Moved Out of the Sloop in 2018
  1. Fashion Geek (69 E. 16th Street)
  2. Square One (14th and Michigan)
  3. Budget Car Rental (714 S. Wabash)
  4. Gioco (1312 S. Wabash)
  5. Mago Grill & Cantina (1010 S. Delano Ct)
  6. Poke & Roll (555 S. Dearborn)
  7. Chase (9th and Dearborn)
  8. Villains (730 S. Clark)
  9. Kome Japanesse Eatery (1303 S. Michigan)
  10. Aniko Salon (1111 S. Wabash)
  11. Succezz (1300 S. Michigan)
  12. Subway (13th & Wabash)
  13. Pazzo's (825 S. State)
Since we're talking lists, here are some other businesses that may or may not open up in 2019:
•  Reflexology Foot Parlor (1319 S. Michigan)
• TBD Salon (705 S. Dearborn)
• Pin me up (2411 S. Michigan)
 Natural Girl (1547 S. State)
• Big Shoulders Chicago (1449 S. Michigan)
• Rosebud's Artist's Cafe (1150 S. Wabash)
• The Vault (1325 S. Michigan)
• M Vie (TBD)
 TBD tattoo Parlor  (2008 S. Prairie)
• TBD Asian Restaurant (1234 S. Michigan)
• Team Rehabilitation (2100 S. Michigan)
• Bob's Furniture (Roosevelt and 90/94) 
• TBD Nail Shop (1514 S. Wabash) 
• Roots Pizza (776 S. Dearborn)
• Bank of America ATM Branch (1250 S. Michigan)
• TBD African Restaurant (2101 S. State)
• Living the Language (2111 S. Michigan)
• Il Culacinno (2138 S. Indiana)
• Chipotle (1136 S. Wabash)

For some perspective, this has been the worst year in terms of net new businesses opening since we started this back in 2012:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019