Friday, May 31, 2019

Bike Lanes & Pedestrian Improvements on Polk Look Complete

We're big fans of the "road diet" that was put into place on Polk.  While motorists may be upset, bikers and walkers should rejoice.  More signs and spaces for them!

In case you missed some of the coverage you can see a post here with plans for the changes.  In the picture above you can see the bike lanes that turn east coming from the Dearborn (north/south) bike lane.

If you look towards the top right of the picture you can also see a "crossing" sign with concrete island to help pedestrians as Polk/Plymouth Ct.

In our opinion this is great, but we will be interested to see the impact to traffic flow and auto congestion.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Crab Bucket Restaurant Coming to South Michigan and 21st

It looks like South Michigan is getting a new restaurant:

We did some googling but could find much (except a closed restaurant with the same name in Hawaii). 

Anyone have any info on this?

Of interest, this seemingly would be another "seafood broil" type of restaurant for the neighborhood.  Low Country (1132 S. Wabash) opened last year.

Regardless, more momentum close to Motor Row.

(Hat tip:  HG!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Collective - a "Coliving" Concept - Coming to 633 S. LaSalle Street

Looks like the Sloop is getting some more rentals (via curbed):
Three short blocks away, London-based “coliving” company The Collective is looking to replace the parking lot at 633 S. LaSalle Street with a 17-story project along Printer’s Row.

An increasingly popular housing option, the coliving concept offers residents a more affordable entry point in a neighborhood by providing smaller, fully furnished private bedrooms and shared common spaces. A single payment from the tenant covers rent, utilities, furniture, and even linen service.

A South Loop coliving development recently opened at nearby 30 E. Balbo Drive. The concept is also being tried out in Chicago’s Logan Square and University Village neighborhoods.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Northern Trust Moving Out of the Sloop & Building Owners at 801 S. Canal Trying to Sell

While we've been writing a lot about the impending companies and corporate jobs coming to the old Post Office, it appears one of the Sloops biggest corporate tenants is moving (via TRD):
They’re about to lose the building’s only tenant, but the owners of the office complex at 801 South Canal Street are trying to sell the property anyway.

A venture led by developer Paul Gearen is hoping to sell the South Loop office building for $100 million, despite Northern Trust’s plans to vacate it next year, according to Crain’s.

Gearen and his partners developed the 575,000-square-foot building for Northern Trust in 1990. The Chicago-based financial institution has been the building’s sole occupant since then, according to Crain’s.

Northern Trust, one of Chicago’s biggest office tenants, will leave 801 South Canal Street in October 2020 as part of a reshuffling of its local office footprint. On top of leaving the South Loop, the firm will also vacate 248,000 square feet at 231 South LaSalle. It will consolidate its offices in 333 South Wabash Street.

We've always wondered if this area is propped up by Northern Trust having so many employees frequent the restaurants and shops in this corridor.  Does anyone have an opinion?

Our guess is that while this isn't good news, it's not devastating news for the area and it's growth.  We shall see.   

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Developer of Mega-Development West of LSD and Soldier Field Eagerly Pitching Proposal to Lawmakers

More heat on the proposed development over the train tracks west of Soldier Field and LSD (via Crains):
The developer proposing to build the One Central megaproject on air rights just west of Soldier Field is dangling a powerful political pitch as his request to get billions of state subsidies nears a final decision in Springfield—and he wants lawmakers to decide in the next 10 days whether they'll get behind his plan.

The offer: help for Gov. J.B. Pritzker in paying billions in pension bills, and help for Mayor Lori Lightfoot in opening up transit-short South Side neighborhoods to economic growth.

But in an interview in which he disclosed new details of his $20 billion plan for the first time, Landmark Development’s Bob Dunn declined to make public key financial projections behind his bid, saying he has given them to state officials and presumably will do so with Lightfoot at a meeting he has scheduled with her “in early June.”

Dunn, who immediately after the interview left for Springfield, wants state lawmakers in the next 10 days to approve an unprecedented financial arrangement in which the state essentially would take an equity position in his project.

It still seems like a long shot to us, but Mr. Dunn certainly is putting the pedal to the metal. We shall see.

Interestingly, the article says this about the likelihood of this getting state support:
The language of Dunn’s legislation has not yet been disclosed. Springfield insiders say his measure, which would authorize the state to make an equity investment but still apparently require negotiation of a specific contract, stands a fair chance of passing before the Legislature's scheduled May 30 adjournment—either as a separate bill or, more likely, as a clause in other legislation, such as a pending big capital bill.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Nike and Dick's Team Up For "Innovation Hub" at 525 S. State

A reader writes and sends us some pics:
Inspiration hub Nike - Next to Spanglish on state st

We only found a little bit about this on the interwebs and apparently they're opening a pop-up store on May 31st:

So what is this (according to eventbrite):
A lifetime in sport isn't just for the pros. Whether you strive to compete on the highest level or strive to compete as long as you live, Nike and Dick's Sporting Goods will get you there.
Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods, the two powerhouses of sport, have teamed up to create The Inspiration Hub designed to help high school athletes in the Chicago community achieve their goals. With an emphasis on running for DSG's National Runner’s Month, Nike trainers will help you get more out of the season with workout, nutrition, and recovery sessions designed to make you a better, well rounded athlete for the long haul. This event is open exclusively to local high school teams, who are invited to participate in any and all activities offered.

(Hat tip:  VC!(

Monday, May 20, 2019

New South Loop Riverwalk Looks Impressive

A reader writes:
Wow new River walk installed at south Bank development

(Hat tip:  CMK!)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Crain's Reports that Uber Eyeing Old Post Office for 450,000 Square Feet of Office Space

Sounds like the old Post Office could get it's biggest tenant (according to Crain's):
Uber is in talks to lease about 450,000 square feet at the redeveloped Old Main Post Office, where the rapidly growing company could soon locate thousands of employees.
The San Francisco-based company is closing in on a deal for a massive office at the 2.8 million-square-foot behemoth at 433 W. Van Buren St., a source familiar with the negotiations confirms.

The deal would be a big victory for New York-based developer 601W, which is overhauling the long-vacant property with an $800 million redevelopment to transform it into a modern office building.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Roots Pizza Coming to Printer's Row in February?

Buried in a post on Curbed early this week, we read a little sentence that caught our eye:

A larger Roots location in South Loop should open in February.

What was the context here?  Well the 50/50 restaurant group is getting ready to open a couple new places in the Second City Comedy Club and as part of that they went into some additional detail on the groups plans

Why did that catch our eye?  Well we haven't heard or seen much activity at the location where this rumored location is slated to be - the northwest corner of Polk and Dearborn.  Last we checked in was fencing going up around the space in October 2018:

Maybe the fencing was a little premature as winter was getting ready to roll in and maybe activity will pick up?  We will see.

This is one of the most interesting intersections in the neighborhood in our opinion and has had a lot of recent activity - see bike lane improvement post earlier this week and Totto's market/urban mansion being built across the street:

While the Roots pizza sentence isn't super enlightening, it is the most we've heard in almost a year.  Hope this is still happening.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Williams Inn Pizzeria Coming to Motor Row (2210 S. Michigan Avenue)

Something we missed, but certainly wanted to call-out is that the momentum in Motor Row continues with a new pizzeria opening up shop (via Curbed):
NEAR SOUTH SIDE — Williams Inn Pizzeria is slated to reopen at 2210 S. Michigan Avenue, according to a liquor license. Owners closed the original location at 1710 E. 87th Street in October 2018.
This appears to be in the same building where Jerk Villa (2216 S. Michigan) and Succezz (2214 S. Michigan) currently reside.  Based on the google maps photo, it looks like the building has three retail spots and presumably Williams Inn will take the last spot:

We've never been to Williams Inn Pizzeria, but judging by Grub Hub (4.5 stars) and Yelp (3 stars), the interwebs are mixed on whether or not it's good.  Has anyone been?  Good stuff?

Judging from their facebook page, they've got some legit Chicago style pie:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

South Loop Bike Connection Project Begins

As someone who uses the bike lane on Dearborn and is also frequently walking in Printers Row, the fact that this street improvement project is finally moving forward is music to our ears. 

The intersection of Dearborn and Polk is confusing for all people invovled - car drivers, cyclists and walkers.  Hope these new improvements help with the flow and character of the neighborhood (via Streets Blog Chicago):
On Tuesday, South Loop residents and bike advocates gathered for a community meeting hosted by Ald. Sophia King to discuss plans for long-overdue bike improvements in the neighborhood. During the Chicago Department of Transportation announced that it is starting construction on the bike infrastructure, which was delayed by a year due to initial opposition from King.
Back in August 2017, CDOT presented what were supposed to be final plans for a low-stress bike route from the south end of the Dearborn protected bike lane to Grant Park via Polk Street, Plymouth Court, and 9th Street. The department also planned to add concrete curb protection on the existing Harrison Street protected bike lanes between Desplaines Street and Wabash Avenue. The work was slated to be completed in spring 2018, but it never happened, reportedly due King’s concerns about maximizing car parking.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Calling All Digital Savvy South Loop Realtors

Hey you!

Are you a digital savvy South Loop realtor who understands the interwebs and social media?  Are you someone who is able to navigate the world of "new media" and utilize it to help your real estate business?

If you are, please email us at - we are interested in partnering on some new ideas we've been contemplating. 

Even if you're not one of the digital savvy types, that's ok.  We'd still like to talk to you.  You must be somewhat savvy otherwise you probably wouldn't have found this ol' website.

Hit us up at

Saturday, May 11, 2019

BTS and their Army Invades the Sloop and Soldier Field Tonight (5/11) and Tomorrow (5/12)

It's BTS weekend in the Sloop (and Chicago).  If you're like us and don't really understand the phenomenon, the Tribune has a pretty good summary:
Jin explained contemporary K-pop’s global rise and the BTS phenomenon in responses sent via email. 
He argues three major factors contribute to the genre’s current popularity: hybridization of western and Korean culture, the K-pop industry’s strategic use of social media, and Psy’s “Gangnam Style” which, while seen as more of a novelty song in the U.S., laid out a template for “going viral” in a way that hadn’t been accomplished by the genre before. 
The “hybridization” of western and Korean popular culture is at the heart of the K-pop industry’s model. Language is no longer a barrier to entry for fans. While BTS predominantly sings in Korean, it also releases albums in Japanese, and regularly employs English expressions and slang. But the group has found its own way to bridge global and local sensibilities even beyond that. 
“The Korean music industry has been influenced by both Japanese music and American pop music,’ Jin writes. “After developing ballads, emphasizing sentimental love and sorrow embedded in Korean culture influenced by Japan starting in the 1910s, Korea has finally developed new music genres by adopting hip-hop, rap, and reggae starting in the mid-1990s. 
“With the arrival of American hip-hop culture and rap music, Korean popular music became youth-oriented hybrid music. In this regard, K-pop has developed the music themes of resistance and social critique as K-pop mixes with hip-hop, showing its universal appeal.” 

Vox also has a good overview in their "explained" structure if you don't want a local, Chicago spin on the phenomenon.  All this said, it's just the music pop machine doing it's thing...just interesting how the Korean market has been so effective at it around the globe.

So all that said, if you're interested in this craze, head outside in the Sloop and check out the scene.  If you're terrified, maybe curl up and watch some Netflix.  In the meantime, here is one of the BTS videos we (sorta) liked: 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Chicago Fire Seem Poised to Return to Soldier Field

MLS fans rejoice - it appears that the Chicago Fire are coming back to Soldier Field (via Chicago Tribune):
The first step in the Fire’s bid to return to Chicago has been taken.
Under a tentative deal, the Fire would pay the Village of Bridgeview about $65 million to break their lease at SeatGeek Stadium, according to village spokesman Ray Hanania.

The Fire reportedly have been seeking a return to Soldier Field as early as next season. Hanania said the Fire have not indicated where they will play in 2020. The Fire wouldn’t confirm their plans.
Seems like a lot of money for an MLS team, but hey what do we know.  For the Sloop, this likely would be seen as a mixed bag.  Generally speaking, events at Soldier Field have a tendency to create traffic headaches in the neighborhood.  That being said, the Chicago Fire aren't going to draw a crowd like the Bears or a sold-out BTS concert.

So while the added amount of events could cause traffic issues, our local restaurant and bar scene would likely love the shot in the arm.  As has been discussed a lot this week (see posts about Vice Brewing and Lobo Canteen), some of the local spots have struggled.  Most argue that their troubles aren't a result of the neighborhood, but regardless more events would undoubtedly help the whole scene.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Vice District Brewing Evicted from 1454 S. Michigan

We've received some emails from a variety of readers and Eater also has an blurb:
Meanwhile, for the second time in two weeks, the city has shut down a bar in the South Loop. On Tuesday a green sticker from the Office of the Sheriff of Cook County appeared on the window of Vice District Brewing’s taproom at 1454 S. Michigan Avenue announcing that “all persons have been evicted from the premises.” Ownership subsequently announced on its Facebook page that it “will be closed tonight,” prompting a user to respond with a photo of the eviction notice and ask “Closed forever? What’s going on? Please say it ain’t so.. I never got a chance to stop in!” Ownership, who opened a second location in September 2018 in suburban Homewood, has not responded to a request for comment.
We had some good times and good beers at Vice and are sorry to see them go.  We will see what's next for this spot.

(Hat tip: BT & A!)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Kickboxing Fitness Biz - 9 Round - Coming to South State

Looks like another workout place called "9 Round" is headed to State Street (next to Devil Dawgs 767 S. State):

We've never heard of 9 Round but according to their website:
9Round is a specialized fitness center for people who want a unique, fun, and proven workout that guarantees results. 9Round offers a kickboxing themed fitness program that incorporates a functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens. The programs consist of a proprietary system of nine challenging workout stations developed by a World Champion Kickboxer.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Reader Wonders What's Going On At Columbia's Art Park

A reader writes:
I saw this morning that the Columbia College Art park on the corner of 11th and Wabash was being destroyed, including the art. (pictures attached)
This is terrible, I've always loved that little spot in the loop.

Do you know what is going on?

We're not sure what's going on here.  Maybe a new park?  Anyone have the scoop?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Blair Kamin Weighs In On Massive One Central Development

The massive $20 billion development - One Central - that is trying to be built over the train tracks west of Lake Shore Drive and Soldier Field has been in the news a lot lately.  Last week, it was reported that the developer was seeking a huge sum to get the project kick-started:
The developer wants the General Assembly to fund a chunk of the plan’s $3.8 billion first phase by the end of May — only four weeks after he announced that he would seek state taxpayers’ support rather than the controversial tax increment financing that’s backing Lincoln Yards.
Beyond this, our favorite architecture critic, Blair Kamin, is weighing in on the concept.  While he understands the potential, he calls out a variety of potential issues to consider such as questions whether or not the new development will actually improve the connection from the Sloop to the lake.

He ends the column with a warning:
These urban design shortcomings should not be brushed off as mere aesthetic issues. In these plans, the physical and the fiscal are intricately intertwined. If One Central fails to connect with the city around it and doesn’t become a lively place, it won’t produce the promised bonanza of tax revenue.
It still seems unlikely in our mind that this will happen, but after last week there is a little more momentum behind One Central.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Bank of America Expanding Space on South Michigan in the Sloop?

Looks like Bank of America is expanding on Michigan Avenue according to this article in Crains:
Most big banks are pruning their local branch networks, but Bank of America plans 11 new locations in the Chicago area over the coming year or so.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based giant, the nation’s second-largest bank by assets and third-largest in Chicago by deposits, is going against the industry’s grain as it pushes for more market share locally. Bank of America also plans to renovate nearly 60 of the 155 existing branches it has in the area, changing the format by placing bankers up front where customers enter.
Of the 11 new branches BofA plans, five are in Chicago and six are in the suburbs. In the city, Bank of America will open branches at 300 S. Wacker Drive and in its new local headquarters, under construction, at 110 N. Wacker Drive. Also in the works are branches in the South Loop at 1250 S. Michigan Ave. and near the Loyola bookstore by the Water Tower. And a new branch is coming on the city’s western border with southwest suburban Evergreen Park.

Bank of America already has a presence in 1250 S. Michigan as we wrote about in October of last year.  That being said, this article makes it seem like they're expanding.