Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Chipotle and Jets Pizza Open on 1100 Block of Wabash

Next door to one another, Chipotle (1142 S. Wabash) and Jet's Pizza (1144 S. Wabash) are now open:

Signs on the door for Chipotle had the official opening date as 12/31/2019 and Jet's has been open for awhile.

Good stuff for this stretch of the Sloop!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Fruve Press Juicery Apparently Reopening at New Location on State Streetd

Well look at this...

It appears that Fruve - which we closed down their location at 1130 S. Wabash back in November - appears to be reopening one street over at 1131 S. State.

We thought they were planning on reopening in the West Loop, but apparently are just moving one street over.  Maybe the rent is cheaper and/or the space is smaller.

Maybe this location near FFC gym and some other exercise places (Xsport and Fit Results cross training) will be a better location for health conscious neighbors?

We wish them the best of luck, but this strip of businesses has been hit or miss since we've been in the Sloop

Most recently, the Hair Cuttery closed their operation down at 1103 S. State.  That said, Float Sixty opened in this strip about a year ago.  So maybe some local businesses will fare better than large anonymous chains.

Friday, December 27, 2019

ABC7 Broadcasting New Years Eve Countdown from Lips

If you're looking to be on TV for New Years Eve, maybe you should go to Lips Chicago:
LIPS (2229 S. Michigan), The Ultimate in Drag Dining, is proud to announce that ABC 7's COUNTDOWN CHICAGO - A Chicago New Year's Eve tradition for the past 28 years - WILL BROADCAST LIVE - from LIPS Motor Row! COUNTDOWN CHICAGO is the city's longest running local New Year's Eve TV special and will broadcast LIVE from the opulent LIPS Show Palace - Tuesday, December 31st starting at 11:08 PM!
  • Early Seating @ 7pm - $45 - DInner and Fabulous Drag Show (no filiming)
  • Late Seating from 9pm - Dinner, New Years Drag Show, ABC 7 Broadcasting LIVE, Champagne Toast, Balloon Drop and LED blinky Party Supplies to ring in the New Year, plus Midnight Drag Queen Drop - $85
Chef Tom Schmitt's NYE starters include a choice of Lobster Bisque, Wild Boar Pappardelle or Waldorf Salad, followed by a choice of Grilled Filet Mignon & Lobster Tails, Grouper with buerre blanc, or Chicken Picatta. Finish your meal with Chef Tom's New Years Dessert Spectacular!
For reservations and more information call 312-815-2662.
Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Massive One Central Development Gets Last Minute Extension for Potential Federal Loan

We've received a variety of emails from readers about an article in Crain's Chicago Business about the massive, high-profile One Central project - which has proposed to build a huge development over the train tracks west of LSD and Soldier Field:
With an assist from former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, a proposal for a $20 billion mixed-use complex and transit center west of Soldier Field has regained some momentum after dropping out of the headlines for many months.
Developer Bob Dunn’s proposed One Central project scored one crucial victory last week when a provision giving it extra time to apply for a federal loan was tucked into a must-pass bill funding operations of the federal government. The window on applying had been scheduled to close on Dec. 31, but now has been extended until Sept. 30.

The blurb above pretty much sums up the main news in the story, which was important because the December 31st deadline was a huge factor in securing federal funds to help offset the astronomical $20 billion cost being floated on the project.

The story goes on to say they still have a long way to go to convince a variety of stakeholders in Chicago that this project is worth it.  Two of those people haven't been super warm to the idea judging by the end of the article:
Both Dowell and Lightfoot, who had castigated the company’s Springfield activity, have had some contact with Landmark since its general plans first were disclosed in May. But both still are waiting for more.
“Every once in awhile, they’ll come by and try to show me information,” Dowell said, but “they haven’t come to a community meeting for months.”
Lightfoot aides note that developers of other megaprojects, such as Lincoln Yards, took years to finalize their plans and included high-level contact with CTA and Metra from the beginning. They also say Landmark has yet to make a convincing case that a huge multi-modal transit center is needed near Soldier Field.

We give this one less than a 10% chance of actually coming to fruition.  It has a long way to go and seemingly has another big challenge looming - a recession?

(Hat tip:  PA, RS!) 

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Grail Cafe Sets Opening Date for January 1st, 2020

It looks like the Grail Cafe at 715 S. Dearborn is set for the grand opening on January 1st, 2020 according to their facebook page:

This is an exciting one and looking forward to trying them out in the new year.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Mac Kelly's Closing Doors at 1347 S. Michigan on Saturday, 12/21

Looks like Mac Kelly's is closing this week at 1347 S. Michigan:

Mac Kelly's had a good run of over 5 years in the Sloop.  It was a good place and had some nice, healthy options - but always felt like a less polished Protein Bar or Freshii.

Regardless, sad to see them close down.

(Hat tip: ME & ND!)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Millennium Modern Architecture in the Sloop?

We like to think we know some stuff about architecture, but let's be honest - we don't.  Regardless, we enjoyed reading a recent post on Curbed Chicago titled "An illustrated guide to Chicago architecture".

While most of it doesn't have a ton to do with the Sloop, one thing that caught our attention was a reference to a style of architecture where the NEMA was included:
10. Millennium ModernMillennium Park opened in July 2004, over budget and behind schedule, but for Chicagoans, who previously knew the Loop east of Michigan Avenue as a gravel parking lot bisected by railroad tracks, and for visitors from all over the country, the massive civic effort was a shot in the arm for 21st-century Chicago. The park features abstract sculptures (Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain), and Frank Gehry’s outdoor bandshell, which is rendered in cool metal, framed in dramatically feathered bangs, and, set off by a trellis extending the length of the lawn. As the reputation of the park solidified, it had a halo effect, developing a new type of architecture, known as Millennium Modern. The area has become a magnet for international names and has also made international names of Chicago architects like Jeanne Gang. Chicago’s built environment is a test kitchen for supertalls, undulating towers, but also for controversial mega developments like Lincoln Yards and The 78, which are heavily influenced by Millennium Modern. The most creative of these early-aughts structures are our current and future landmarks.
HOW TO IDENTIFY: Millennium Modern architecture developed from a wide range of influences, embracing creativity in terms of building forms and pulling broadly from the natural world, like the waves of Aqua and the curls of the Pritzker Pavilion. Look for curving, metal towers of soaring, serrated glass and heights high enough that they seem to be actually touching the future.
NOTABLE EXAMPLES: NEMA Chicago (Rafael Viñoly), Aqua (Studio Gang), Vista Tower (Studio Gang), Jay Pritzker Pavilion (Frank Gehry), One Bennett Park (Robert A.M. Stern)

We've never heard of this style but general like all the notable examples listed above.  No offense to NEMA, but hard to imagine that it stacks up to Vista Tower, Pritzker Pavilion and Aqua. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Hoots - Hooters QSR Offering - Looks to Open in Sloop at 1238 S. Canal

It looks like we have an address for the Sloop's Hoots (via Eater):
A South Loop Hoots is also in the works at 1238 S. Canal Street, LeBas said, and he’s gunning for a March opening. He isn’t ready to announce any other forthcoming locations, but is planning to open a Hoots in St. Petersburg, Florida, around late February. Founded in Clearwater, Florida in 1983, Hooters is now owned by two private equity firms, Nord Bay Capital and TriArtisan Capital Advisors, which together operate more than 430 restaurants and franchises around the world.
If you're scratching your head about Hoots here is how the article starts:
Hoots, the fast-casual sister chain to “delightfully tacky” breastaurant chain Hooters, has opened its first Chicago location on the outskirts of one of Chicago’s best restaurant neighborhoods, Logan Square. Called Hoots at the Field, it features some of the global company’s most popular menu items, namely chicken wings and snow crab legs — without minute orange shorts and shiny pantyhose. The new counter-service spot comes two years after the chain launched its first Illinois location in suburban Cicero.

Anyway, the location joins a nondescript slew of businesses in the stripmall south of Roosevelt on Canal:


Friday, December 13, 2019

A Look at the Shedd's Scientific Research Efforts in the Bahamas

If you're like us, you love having the Shedd Aquarium so close to your house.  While we've wandered around the building many of times, we appreciated this long (and gated) article in the Chicago Tribune talking about the scientific research the institution is conducting in the Bahamas.  

It's a long one, but wanted to highlight this blurb that caught our attention:
The aquarium is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions, but few of the nearly 2 million annual visitors realize that it is more than a menagerie and spends more than $3 million annually on its field research team. The Shedd’s applied-science efforts have been refocused in recent years under CEO Bridget Coughlin, herself a Ph.D. in applied biochemistry, to have one group studying local freshwater aquatic life and the second working in the Bahamas, an independent country spanning some 600 miles to the east of southern Florida.
Their tight lens on Bahamian marine life takes advantage of the Miami-based Coral Reef II, commissioned by Shedd in 1984 for the collection of marine life to display back in Chicago but long since repurposed for science, a conversion mirroring the change zoos and aquariums have made toward conservation. This group of salt-water researchers was already studying creatures along the food chain from conchs to iguanas to groupers to sharks. Adding coral at the low end made sense, Coughlin says, because of coral’s huge significance in the marine environment and to the Bahamas and as a climate-change bellwether.
“It’s a great marrying of something the public understands — coral bleaching, temperatures of the ocean rising — and a great scientific endeavor,” Coughlin says. “What we do on site (is) to engage people with animals and then extrapolate it to out in the wild and how Shedd can contribute to the solution.”

Thursday, December 12, 2019

US Soccer Federation Moving Their HQ Out of the Sloop

In case you missed this story from last week, there was a lot of news about the United States Soccer Federation and some of the lawsuits they're fighting regarding gender discrimination.

You may be wondering why we're writing about this, but the Sloop connection was buried in the article (via Sportsbusiness.com):
US Soccer is also looking to move out of its Soccer House headquarters in Chicago’s South Loop because it needs more room due to an expanded workforce. It will look to lease space elsewhere in the city for a few years while it figures out a long-term plan.

For those of you who aren't familiar, the US Soccer HQ is at the southeast corner of 18th and Prairie - anchoring the mansions on Prairie avenue.  The house - called the William W. Kimball House - is actually on the National Register of Historic Places and according to wikipedia the history goes something like this:
The house was built in 1890–92 for William Wallace Kimball, a piano manufacturer. Kimball reportedly spent $1,000,000 on the home. At the time, Prairie Avenue was known for its expensive homes designed in popular revival styles, and the district was home to many of Chicago's wealthiest residents. The Kimball House and the John J. Glessner House are the main two surviving examples of the district's homes of the late 1800s. The house now serves as the headquarters of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

It is a beautiful building, but always seemed like a strange location for the US Soccer operation (other than it's proximity to Soldier Field). 

Assuming they move out, curious to see what happens to this building.  Bed and Breakfast anyone?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic Weighs in On Sloop's Tallest Building NEMA

NEMA Chicago is nearly done and architecture critic Blair Kamin weighs in (via Chicago Tribune):
It’s no coincidence that the nearly complete NEMA Chicago skyscraper, which at 896 feet is Chicago’s tallest rental high-rise, bears a strong resemblance to Willis Tower. The architect, New York’s Rafael Viñoly, is a fan of our muscular skyline giant.
The comparison is impossible to miss. Even the most casual observer can glimpse it in NEMA’s resolutely right-angled geometry and the way its cluster of nine vertical sections gradually peels away, leaving one to soar to the summit.
Fortunately, the outcome is a vigorous reinterpretation of Willis, not a slavish copy. And that should come as a relief for anyone who cares about Chicago's skyline.
Apartment buildings are notorious for low budgets and lower aesthetic aspirations. A visual flop at NEMA’s prominent site — on the south edge of Grant Park and near the busy corner of Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue — would have left a lasting, unavoidable eyesore.
Viñoly, whose previous works include a business school and hospital at the University of Chicago, avoided that trap by doing things the old-fashioned Chicago way: with a directness that verges on bluntness.

It's a good read (as usual) and he sums up the building in a succinct manner:
For now, we can be glad that NEMA has returned Chicago to its pragmatic architectural roots and endowed the skyline with a fresh shot of visual poetry. That’s better than an ugly concrete stalk along Grant Park.
Ok, so maybe not a resounding win - but sounds like it could have been worse. 

In our opinion the building does well.  Viewed from almost every direction it is an impressive building.  The view from the west is probably the worst, but hopefully that gets covered up if and when the build the second tower.

What do you say - is this a good building?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Sultry Steps Looks to Be Moving in at Roosevelt Collection

It looks like Roosevelt Collection is quickly refilling a space that White House Black Market just vacated:

If the picture above isn't clear enough it says "Sultry Steps Boutique".

We weren't familiar with the store so after some googling found their website here.  It appears this is their first brick and mortar location judging from their about us page:
Marquisha Washington is a Wife, Mother, and the founder and President of Sultry Steps, Inc.  Sultry Steps began as a passion project from home and evolved into a boutique located in the Chicagoland Suburb of South Holland since 2016.
At an early age, when many were struggling to fit-in the room, Marquisha was preparing to slay the room! Her sense of colors, combinations, self expression and fashion, fueled her consumption of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Ebony magazines.  More important, as a modern working woman, she “seamlessly” reconciles the necessity for runway level fashion with the 21st century woman’s need for comfort.  Thus, the “Sensual, Sexy and Functional” offerings of Sultry Steps e-commerce was launched in 2015.

Good to see a local business come in.  We wish them the best and looking forward to having them in the Sloop.

Update - here is an image of the store without paper up:

Monday, December 9, 2019

Another Pizza Joint - Paisans Pizzeria & Bar - Coming to Printer's Row Area

A reader writes:
The mystery of just what is coming to the space just north of Burnham Pointe has been answered. I was never able to figure it out from the original construction permit for the exterior work, but a new building permit for the interior build-out just went up that reveals the space is going to be a Paisans Pizza, a suburb brand that's expanding into the city.

It’s kind of wild that 2 pizza restaurants are mid-construction within a stones’s throw from each other (Roots Pizza around the corner), both outside-chicago restaurants that are expanding into the city for the first time. Are there enough pizza eaters in printers row to sustain the business? Maybe.
It's a good question.  With the Old Post Office filling in and the accompanying residential developments around the river, it seems like these restaurants are betting that demand continues to pick up.  Will it be enough to sustain so much pizza pie is a fair question and something to keep our eye on.

Regarding the building, we believe it was a car wash but has sat vacant for awhile:

It's between Burnham Pointe and the build out going on for the Church of Scientology.

(Hat tip:  AD!)

Sunday, December 8, 2019

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: El train, El train, dancing in the night

A reader writes:
Sloop-bound CTA Holiday Train, 12/3/2019. Taken at Adams and Wabash crossover bridge.

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

...and Amarit is Back Open at 600 S. Dearborn

Yesterday we posted about Amarit's license being suspended.  Well apparently things have been resolved.  Lights on and people inside eating is a good sign:

Good to see them back up and running.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Amarit Thai and Pan-Asian (600 S. Dearborn) Has it's License Suspended

It looks like Amarit Thai and Pan-Asian at 600 S. Dearborn had it's license suspended judging by the green sign on the door:

Where not sure what is next, but hopefully they bounce back.  While it never seems super busy, we imagine they do a decent takeout business and they've been a longtime stalwart in the Sloop

Anyone have any info?  We will keep you posted if/when they reopen or we get more information.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Our Updated 2019 Business Counter

To follow-up on our 2019 Business Counter post we did a couple weeks back, looks like we missed a couple closings:
  • 14 Parish (2223 S. Michigan) 
  • White House Black Market (1112 S. Delano Ct)
This means that our current tally has the Sloop gaining 5 new retail/restaurant businesses in 2019 (so far).  It also means that it's lowest net number since we started tracking this back in 2012:

Is this a trend (by definition it seems to be)?  We still have a month to go and will continue to monitor.

Monday, December 2, 2019

More Positive Signs that 1000M is Actually Going to Happen

A reader writes:
There's a lot of action at the 1000M site right now. Or at least, a lot more action than we've seen there in the last four years.  
Looks like real construction equipment is now on site after their ceremonial groundbreaking last month. This building might actually happen.

As a reminder, this project at 1006 S. Michigan Avenue has been relatively slow to move.  That said, the developers did hold a ground breaking in October.  Many voices on the internet seemed to question whether or not this was actually going to happen, but judging from the pictures above this is the best sign it actually will.

We've been by the site a couple times recently and it does look like all signs are pointing in a positive direction.  They have the site cleared and fencing up all around the perimeter.

If this is true, it will be another big statement building on the Sloop and Chicago's skyline:

(Hat tip: AS!)