Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hamilton the Exhibition To Close Up Shop Earlier than Expected on Northerly Island

We were always skeptical about the concept and location of the temporary "Hamilton: The Exhibition" on Northerly Island.  Not surprisingly, sounds like it didn't go so well (via Tribune):
In the first significant disappointment for the hugely successful team behind “Hamilton,” one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all time, the spinoff known as “Hamilton the Exhibition” is to close down in Chicago on Aug. 25. And the original plan to move the exhibition around the country following the end of the Chicago stand has now been abandoned.
Aug. 25 is two weeks before the end of the current block of tickets being booked for the walk-through attraction exploring the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. The early exit will necessitate refunds for patrons with tickets purchased for Aug. 26 to Sept. 8, and it occurs well before the producers’ more optimistic projections for a privately financed project that cost in excess of $13 million to create and erect inside a giant temporary structure on Northerly Island in Chicago, following revenue-sharing negotiations with the Chicago Park District. In earlier interviews with the Tribune, those involved with the exhibit had said they expected it to play here for at least six to twelve months, followed by similar runs in other cities that have been hospitable to the show.
Maybe if it was at an easier to access location for the general public - maybe (and that's a big maybe) would it have done better.

Don't cry for the Hamilton team though, the Tribune makes sure to put into perspective how much of a juggernaut it still is:
Although he declined to offer precise attendance figures, Seller said the exhibition had been popular, especially now that Chicago’s peak tourist season is underway. In general, he put the best face on the situation, saying that the publicity and interest generated by an exhibition that charted new territory for a Broadway show also helped buoy interest in the musical itself, which likely will have generated a staggering $400 million in Chicago ticket sales by the time it leaves the city on Jan. 5, having sold virtually every available ticket.
That $400 million places the $13 million in a useful context.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Chance The Rapper Hosts "The Big Store" at 1006 S. Michigan in Honor of New Album

It's Lolla week!  While Chance isn't officially playing this year, in honor of his new album he opened a pop-up store in the Sloop:

Judging from his Twitter feed the store will be open through Wednesday.  Has anyone been?

We found this article which takes you on a tour of the whole experience:
To celebrate the release of his debut ‘owbum’ The Big Day, Chance The Rapper held a pop-up shop in his hometown of Chicago. The shop doubled as a museum of sorts — visitors were escorted through a dozen rooms, with each one providing an intimate look at the musician’s personal life and professional career.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Molly's Cupcakes Coming to 1150 S. Wabash (Artists Cafe)

A reader writes:
There has been quite a bit of news regarding what is gong to replace the Artists Cafe on Wabash.  Well I guess it has finally been decided, Molly’s Cupcakes will be replacing that space.  See pics below:

This prime space had a tough go with Artists Cafe but we chalk that up to the business since Five Guys seems to be killing it next door.  As a reminder, Artists Cafe opened back in the fall of 2012.  We like the restaurant, but it was pretty pricey for what it was.  They closed four years later.

Quickly after that in 2016, a permit for a Rosebud Cafe showed up which seemed promising.  That never materialized and in hindsight maybe for the best. 

While we're not sure how a cupcake shop will do in the Sloop, it is a different business and all things equaled should be a great addition to the neighborhood.  Hopefully they kill it!

(Hat tip: NS!)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Columbia Pocket Park at 11th and Wabash Could be Beautiful

A reader writes:
corner of 11th and S. Wabash is going to be a gorgeous park - yet to know if its allowing pooches aerial view attached - the grassy area’s are slightly elevated:

For those who don't remember, Columbia had some "internal miscommunication" on the park which presumably cause the demolition - whatever that means?!?!?!

(Hat tip: AM!)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Convenience Store Wars! Go Grocers Opening Another Location One Block From Existing Location on Michigan Avenue?

Looks like something is coming to the former Square One space (1400 S. Michigan)

While many were hoping for a new restaurant or bar, it sounds like a it's going to be another Go Grocers (according to the comment section of Facebook Group Hello South Loop!).

If true, that a head-scratcher.  Two convenience stores within a block of each other?  Maybe it was an offensive move to stem off the likes of South Loop Market which has been springing up left and right across the neighborhood and city?

The convenience store wars are heating up!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Asian Restaurant - Mai Tai - Apparently Closed at 614 S. Wabash

Judging by this picture, it looks like Mai Tai is closed at 614 S. Wabash:

For those of you who care, they opened this restaurant back in October of 2017.  This strip has seen a variety of places come and go.  Will be curious who is the next to take the space.

Giglio's Officially Open at 825 S. State - The Former Jimmy Greens and Pazzo Space

Looks like Giglio's is open (via Eater):
SOUTH LOOP — Italian spot Giglio’s State Street Tavern opened this month and owners held a two-week grand opening celebration, according to a Facebook post. The location was first reported in March, and the space was formerly occupied by Pazzo’s and popular sports bar Jimmy Green’s Bar & Grill, which shuttered in 2017. Status: Certified Open, 825 S. State Street.

This is another quick opening for the spot.  Hopefully they last longer than Pazzo's!

As a reminder we initially posted about this back in March.

(Hat tip:  TB!) 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Overflow Coffee in Build-out Mode at 1449 S. Michigan

Congrats to the peeps at Overflow Coffee on their build-out at the long vacant 1449 S. Michigan building: 
Non-corporate coffee shops have always been a desired business in the neighborhood.  Happy to hear that Overflow is keeping their dream alive!

Best of luck and looking forward to checking out your new space.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Kroll's Closed for Renovation ; Plans to Reopen Tuesday, July 30th

A Sloop stalwart - Kroll's - appears to be going through a

On their Facebook page, they note:
Kroll’s South Loop will be closed for renovations from Sunday, July 14th until we reopen on Tuesday, July 30th. We look forward to sharing our new space with you soon! Come in and get your fix before we are closed for improvements for two weeks!!! #krollssouthloop #southloop
It's sort of ironic that Kroll's is renovating at the same time that another longstanding South Loop institution - The Wabash Tap - is "reinventing".

Anyway, congrats to Kroll's on this - it's a great place with great owners who are heavily invested in the prosperity of the neighborhood.

Looking forward to heading to the renovated spot.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

'One Central' Benefits May Be Overblown

Some updates about One Central (via WBEZ):
City officials told the public Monday night that enormous economic benefits projected for the proposed One Central megadevelopment may be significantly overstated.
One Central — which Wisconsin-based developer Bob Dunn of Landmark Development has proposed to build over the Metra tracks near Soldier Field — assumes 20 million square feet of new housing, commercial and hotel space.
But officials with Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development say current zoning restrictions allow for less than a quarter of that to be built. They made their comments at a community meeting Monday evening.
“The development plans appear to be based on assumptions that go far beyond what the site’s current zoning would allow,” said Bob McKenna, an assistant commissioner with the planning department. Current guidelines would permit some 4.7 million square feet to be developed, said McKenna and zoning administrator Patrick Murphey.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Crain's Checks In on the Health of Columbia College

If your a perceptive Sloop resident you will notice that Columbia College has an extensive physical presence in our neighborhood.  Beyond the physical presence the College brings a youthful, eclectic vibe as well.

Some complain about noise or the influx of pizza joints catering to this crowd, but it's undoubted that it provides a unique elements to the Sloop.  For instance, Columbia College created the Wabash Arts Corridor which is by far one of the most interesting, new elements within the neighborhood.

Anyway, it's good to keep tabs on how Columbia is doing and we recently stumbled upon a Crain's article getting at this issue.  It's been a rough decade for Columbia (and other colleges), but it appears that they're confident with their new-ish strategy:
Columbia College Chicago, which counts "Saturday Night Live" star Aidy Bryant, Oscar-winning cinematographer Mauro Fiore and Chicago Children's Museum CEO Jennifer Farrington among its graduates, is struggling after a decadelong decline in student enrollment.
The South Loop arts and media college will report a $3.7 million annual operating budget deficit next month—the first in recent history for the 129-year-old school. It would have been worse without a faculty buyout program and staff cuts last spring.
Columbia's enrollment peaked at 12,000-plus students in 2008 and has been sliding ever since, pulling down tuition revenue. It's shrinking partly by design after the private school ended its practice of accepting all applicants, but it also stumbled in adapting to more competition in higher education. President Kwang-Wu Kim is plugging Columbia's unique arts niche and revamping its curriculum in hopes of an enrollment revival this fall as the school opens a new $55 million student center.
"The crisis was five years ago—it's not today," says Bill Wolf, a Chicago financier who is chairman of Columbia's board of trustees. It was "irresponsible" of the school's administration to let Columbia's student population climb so high a decade ago, he adds. "At some point, the board did the right thing and said we're going to be more selective."
The article is pretty in depth so we certainly encourage you to check it out if this is your sort of thing.  The new student center is certainly looking to be a jewel in the crown of Columbia and it will be curious if that's a physical sign of their reinvigorated strategy.  Time will tell.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Harbor - New Restaurant Slated for Former Gioco Space - In Process of Buildout on South Wabash

It was just a matter of time until someone move into this great space (via Tribune):
Four restaurant veterans with a passion for sailing plan to open Harbor (1312 S. Wabash Ave.) this fall in the South Loop.

Chef/partner Anthony Bernal (formerly of Mastro’s Steakhouse) will oversee an American menu that “pays homage to the Great Lakes and local rivers," but will expand enough to include a raw bar of oysters, shrimp, crab and clams.
We will take a cautiously optimistic view for this one.  Obviously words like "veterans" and "Mastro's" are good reason to believe they'll do well but we still question if this (presumaby) highend concept is right of this space and location.

Hopefully they knock it out of the park!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Man Fatally Stabbed on Red Line Train Near Cermak-Chinatown Yesterday Afternoon

A scary scene (via Tribune):
A man was fatally stabbed while riding a Red Line train near the Cermak-Chinatown station on Saturday afternoon in the South Loop. 
The incident caused major delays to Red Line service on Saturday.

Officers were called to a stabbing in the 100 block of West Cermak Road at 2:53 p.m., said police Officer Jessica Alvarez, a spokeswoman for the Chicago police.

The victim, 54, was aboard a southbound train when he and the assailant, who he did not know, began arguing.

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: For Rent

(Hat Tip:  MW!)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

So Maybe 1000M Isn't About to Rise?

Following up on a post from last week in regards to potential progress at 1000M, a reader writes with a correction:
Shot from the roof deck at 1001 S State - nothing happening and zero indication that caisson rigs were ever there.

Guess we'll see if this is a sign of more movement or not.

(Hat tip: JZ!)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Bella Bronze Tan Abruptly Closes Up Shop at 1503 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Hey Sloopin,
Any idea what happened to Bella Bronze Tanning Salon??? 
I stopped by yesterday afternoon (July 1st) and there was a masterlock on the outer door and the place looked cleaned out. I reached out to them in Instagram and haven’t gotten a response. I’ve regularly tanned there for 6 years, nothing emailed  and nothing in the last mailer about them closing.
Another reader writes:
Walked past the salon today and it is completely empty with a lock on the door? No notice that they closed or moved. Website and Instagram still active. Twitter shows they made a tweet on July 3rd regarding tanning specials. 
It looks like they had a tweet recently, but it looks pretty generic and may just be a reoccurring type of tweet.  We also called their phone number and the mailbox is full - which is obviously not a good a sign. 

Anyone have any scoop?

(Hat tip: L&C!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Caisson Machinery Show Up at 1000M Site - Could It Mean It's Ready to Rise?

A reader writes:
Looks like machines are in place to start caisson drilling for 1000M.

As a reminder, 1000M has been in discussion since back in 2016.  It's been slower moving than some other high-rises likely because it's a condo apartment (vs rental/hotel, etc).

If this actually gets going it would provide another statement highrise to our portion of the Chicago skyline as starchitect Helmut Jahn is behind the design:

(Hat Tip: AL!)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Monday, July 8, 2019

Excavator Means Roots Pizzeria Ready to Breakground?

Some construction movement at (what we think will be) the new Roots Pizzeria at northwest corner of Dearborn and Polk.  An excavator is at the site:

As a reminder, there has been a lot of questions whether or not this was moving forward.  Last we heard - in June - all signs pointed to yes!

Hopefully they don't hit any more snags and get this one going.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Wabash Tap Looks to be "Reinventing"

We don't know much about the picture below, but it looks like it's pretty clear what they're doing:

While we've always appreciate the simplicity and dive-vibe of Wabash Tap, it always seemed like it could be more.  Will be interesting to see if they opt for the "lower end" of the bar market or reinvent for a more upscale experience.

As a reminder, Wabash Tap is owned by Mainstay Hospitality who also owns The Chicago Firehouse and used to own Grace O'Malley's and City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan - which is now Armand's Victory Tap).

Anyone have any more info?

(Hat tip:  R!)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

String of Robberies in the Sloop Reported

While this story seems to pop up every now and again, it's good to be vigilant (via NBC5):
A victim of a crime, who says she had more than a $1,000-worth of items stolen, is warning others in the South Loop community about a burglar targeting homes in the area.
Residents in the South Loop say one suspect is likely responsible for several robberies in their neighborhood.
One of the incidents involved missing packages, occurred in a building located in the 1500 block of South Wabash Ave., while the other was reported on the 700 block of S. Financial Place.
A resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, provided photos and told NBC 5 that she had $1,500-worth of deliveries stolen this past Friday, including expensive jewelry and a TV.

There is a video segment NBC5 did if that's your sort of thing: