Tuesday, September 21, 2021

City Council Votes to Approve Easing of Restrictions for Pot Selling ; Michigan Avenue in Sloop Has Restrictions Though

Looks like city council is easing restrictions on pot dispensaries and making it easier to setup shop (via WTTW):

The Chicago City Council voted 33-13 Monday to allow cannabis to be sold legally downtown — while keeping rules in place to prevent Michigan Avenue from becoming a “pot paradise.”

Backed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the loosened rules are designed to help Black and Latino residents of Illinois — as well as those who’d been punished or sent to prison for using and selling marijuana when it was a crime — to get a piece of the lucrative legal pot business.

“No one believes that Springfield has delivered a perfect statute. Far from it,” Lightfoot said, pushing back on calls from several alderpeople to wait to change the rules until new restrictions are in place to ensure that Black and Latino entrepreneurs get their fair share.

Interestingly, Michigan Avenue in the Sloop is still included in the restrictions (via WTTW):

The new rules narrow those restrictions to include a strip between Michigan Avenue and State Street from Division Street on the north to Van Buren Street on the south, as well as from Michigan Avenue between Ohio and Illinois streets east to Navy Pier. In addition, dispensaries are banned from opening on south Michigan Avenue between Van Buren and 16th Street.

As of now we're unclear if and where the Sloop might get a dispensary.  There was movement at 1420 S. Michigan but that was eventually pulled back due to protests by neighbors and parents of nearby Old St. Mary's school.  We also posted about some businesses supposedly scouting locations on South Wabash (900 s. Wabash and 418 s. Wabash).  We're unsure if those are still being considered.


Monday, September 20, 2021

Chef Luciano Announces Reconcept as Mustard Seed

Mr. South Loop with the update:

Chef Luciano has been a staple on Cermak for a long time and we're sad to see it change.  We had our first experience there in 2010 and was amazed at the range of options they had.  We also got to know Mr. Gupta the owner and founder - he was a character in the best sense of the word and someone who we always enjoyed seeing wandering the streets of the Sloop.  He had some great stories about Eric Clapton and other celebrities eating at the restaurant.    

Since then he stepped away from the restaurant, but his soul certainly loomed large over Chef Luciano's.

We will be curious to see what comes of Mustard Seed.  The area has changed a lot and likely will continue to.  It sounds like the Gupta family is still involved but are bringing in some friends to help.  Best of luck!  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Checking-in at The Reed Development

YIMBY checks-in at The Reed development:

Since Chicago YIMBY’s last update on Lendlease’s “The Reed,” a planned 41-story residential tower at 234 W Polk Street in South Loop, various new developments have taken place. Fencing and additional equipment, including a crane, are now on site, while staging areas and an access road have been built out.

While foundation permits have been issued, full construction permits have been filed but not issued. Lendlease is also serving as general contractor, with an opening anticipated for 2023.

There are a lot of pictures in the post, but these two gave us the best sense of the vision for the area:

Drone Footage of Union Station Powerhouse on Taylor

Who doesn't love some South Loop drone footage:

For those of you interested we posted about Union Station Powerhouse being one of Chicago's most endangered buildings last year.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

City Council Approves Two Big Development Projects on South Wabash

More development is approved and looks to be coming to the Sloop (via Block Club):

Three more high-rises are coming to Wabash Avenue.

The City Council signed off a $350 million project to build two towers connected by a two-story retail space at 525 S. Wabash Ave. One would have 777 apartments while another would be a 407-room hotel.

Alderpeople also gave the green light Tuesday for a $100 million project to build a 31-story tower with 299 residential units at a vacant lot at 1400 S. Wabash Ave.

The plan for 523 S. Wabash, just off Ida B. Wells Drive, will transform a parking structure into the hotel and apartments towers.

A grocer would move into the ground-level storefront and a restaurant would take the space above it. Designs also call for the expansion of an alleyway east of the structure to accommodate loading.

As a reminder, here is a rendering for the project at 525 S. Wabash:

 And here is the rendering for the building at 1400 S. Wabash:

The building at 525 S. Wabash is scheduled to be completed by 2024 and the 1400 S. Wabash is supposed to be completed by 2023.  Generally we're in favor of more density, but still questioning the demand post-Covid.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Big Fire Engulfs Roof at 16th and State this Past Saturday

A scary scene from Saturday (via ABC7):

A reader sent this email and awesome picture:

An eleven-story apartment building rooftop fire located at 16th and State was quickly extinguished by the Chicago Fire Department.  No injuries were reported; however property damage related to the fire and water to douse the flames reported.  The suspected cause, a grill on the roof top is under investigation.

(Hat tip: RD!)

Friday, September 10, 2021

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Donate to Restore Printers Row Park Fountain

Looks like the fountain at Printers Row Park needs some love:

Fountains beautify cities and make them more livable, peaceful, and inviting. They soften the edges of the steel and concrete, and they help the passersby slow down the hustle and bustle of their busy lives.

The Printers Row Park Advisory Council (PAC) needs your help! Almost a quarter of a century old, the Fountain at Printers Row Park is in serious need of restoration, above and below ground. Help us replace its colored enamel reliefs and polish its bronze highlights, upgrade its lighting, repair its pump and pipes so that this unique civic treasure can, once again, gush forth with its original energy and spirit,

In total, we need to raise $110,000 to complete the restoration by the spring of 2022. We requested and are awaiting approval from the Chicago Park District for $35,000 towards the project. Our 4th Ward Alderperson, Sophia King, has not only agreed to provide $35,000 towards the restoration but has also agreed to match dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 in donations that we receive! 

That leaves Printers Row PAC to fundraise $40,000! Please contribute whatever you can to support the South Loop community in bringing the Fountain at Printers Row Park back to its original glory! Visit the fountain before and after the restoration so that you can appreciate the significance of this project.

You can find a link to the donation page at this location.  

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Basketball Courts at 18th and State are Getting a Facelift ; Aiming to be Ready in Spring 2022

The iconically Chicago public basketball courts at 18th and State that sit under the Orange and Green lines are getting a face lift (via DePaul): 

The Chicago Park District joins Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward), DePaul University and local community members to break ground on the renovation of Margaret Hie Ding Lin Park, in the Near South community area, on Monday, August 30, 2021. The public park located at 1735 S. State St. features a basketball court, which will be fully renovated to provide additional opportunities for basketball programming for the community in partnership with DePaul University. The makeover is a valuable improvement over the existing facility and a welcome upgrade for park visitors and aspiring athletes seeking access to better quality public urban spaces to engage in active recreation and play.

In addition to the revamped basketball court, the renovation will include a new half court facility, new bleachers, benches, lighting and a drinking fountain. Updated landscape and ADA accessibility improvements will also be part of the overall renovation. Located adjacent to the Orange Line CTA 'L' Train, the park is expected to be completed in Spring 2022 and will be a destination sports play area for future generations of players and current athletes to gather and play.

Beyond being home to neighborhood pick-up games, these courts have played host to various commercials for brands such as Nike, Adidas and Gatorade (some Sloopin coverage here). 

While no one is going to complain about these courts getting upgraded, the "urban" feel of the courts that likely resulted in the commercials being shot here is likely going to be gone...but we're ok with that.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Flying Over the The 78 Development Lot

 The 78 promises to be a big addition to the Sloop, here is a different vantage point that shows how big the space actually is:

Friday, August 27, 2021

Kanye's Donda Experience at Solider Field Certainly Sounds Like an Experience

We've been curiously awaiting reviews and videos from last nights Donda Experience at Soldier Field.  While we imagine the phrase "you had to be there" is an understatement, we thoroughly enjoyed the Chicago Tribune's write-up on the spectacle.  Here is a key blurb that encapsulates the event:

To be honest, it’s how I imagine a listening party with Kanye West going. He invites me over. I wait two hours after the agreed upon time for him to arrive. Kanye being Kanye, just to irritate me, courting attention, he shows up with Marilyn Manson and DaBaby in tow — Manson who faces several assault lawsuits, DaBaby under fire for homophobic remarks at a music festival last month in Miami. They wander the house looking uncertain. Meanwhile, outside on the street, perhaps in Kanye’s mind, the house is under siege by black cars and a faceless army. The music he plays is challenging and interesting but after a while, it’s hard to pay attention to what I’m hearing, and just before it’s all over, in case I didn’t grasp Kanye’s frame of mind, he sets himself on fire.

Some of the videos we've seen are... unsurprisingly Kanye.  Afterall he literally built a replica of his South Side Chicago home in the middle of Soldier Field (via WGN):

Material coming out of the event seems a little limited for some reason.  Here is one we found that wasn't subtle - if fans had any doubt what they were getting themselves into:

And here is some actual music with DaBabby (the cancelled Lollapalooza headliner referenced above):

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Chabad South Loop Hosts Jewish High Holiday Services at Glessner House Courtyard

 If you're looking for a place in the Sloop to celebrate the Jewish High Holidays:

From Chabad:

High Holiday Services at the beautiful Glessner House Courtyard

You are invited to join Chabad Jewish Center of South Loop to celebrate the High Holidays outdoors at the historic Glessner House Courtyard!

Services at Chabad of South Loop are warm and welcoming and feature inspirational commentary and melodies. The High Holidays are a powerful time of connection and meaning.

There is no charge to join, but space is limited so it is recommended to RSVP as soon as possible. Registration is required.

Rosh Hashanah Dinner Under the Stars

The community Rosh Hashanah Dinner will take place under the stars in the beautiful Glessner House Courtyard. The lavish dinner will be catered and will blend traditional Rosh Hashanah foods with contemporary dishes, all enjoyed in the festive spirit of the holiday. Registration is required. There is no charge to join, but space is limited so it is recommended to RSVP as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

X Pot Looks to be Making Progress on Their Buildout at Roosevelt Collection

Looks like the Robots are still coming to Roosevelt Collection:

As a reminder, X Pot is a highly immersive dining experience that incorporates projections, sound, light and ROBOTS! Yes, server robots! We posted about this concept way back in 2019 and have been curious/skeptical about the concept.  We weren't sure if they were still coming to Roosevelt Collection given the pandemic, but looks like they will be coming to the Sloop!

Looking forward to this one.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Cisco Still Moving Into The Old Post Office

One of the biggest questions from the pandemic is the impact on work.  A big tennant at The Old Post Office looks like they're still moving forward with their plans to relocate (via Chicago Tribune):
Technology firm Cisco Systems announced this week it’s moving its regional offices in Rosemont to downtown Chicago where the city will serve as the company’s Midwest “hub,” officials tell the Tribune.

The San Francisco-based IT giant has had a plan in the works for years now to consolidate city and suburban offices in Chicago’s redeveloped Old Post Office at 433 W. Van Buren St., along the Chicago River, which will now be home to the hub.

Jobs span across sales, sales engineering, services, collaboration and operations roles, according to a Cisco spokesman. The Tribune reported in 2019 that Cisco was negotiating rent on 130,000 square feet of office space in the long-vacant old post office. The new Cisco space can accommodate 1,200 employees. The company sees the Chicago office, a micro-headquarters of sorts, as a “space where teams can come together under a hybrid work model, while showcasing how our technology can power a more hybrid way of working for our teams, customers, and partners,” the Cisco spokesman said.

The announcement comes at a time when downtown Chicago is trying to get back on its feet amid a pandemic that at one point turned the Loop and environs into a ghost town. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has previously said the pandemic didn’t stop businesses from moving into Chicago; in all 32 businesses have set up shop since the COVID-19 outbreak took hold here, she has said.

Ironically, beyond this we also had a meeting recently (not about Sloopin) with a small startup media company that was looking at space at The Old Post Office.  Curious to see how the commercial real estate market evolves post pandemic.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Kanye West Bringing the Donda Album Experience to Soldier Field Next Week (8/26)

Looks like Kanye is coming home for a concert at Soldier Field next week (via Pitchfork):

After two different events at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta this summer, Kanye West has announced a third Donda listening session. This one’s taking place in his hometown of Chicago, at Soldier Field, on August 26. Tickets go on sale August 20.

The second event, which livestreamed via Apple Music, featured a more elaborate stage show, multiple new songs, and significant updates to tracks he debuted at the first listening session. When Donda didn’t arrive for its originally scheduled July release date, West’s representatives confirmed a new August 6 release date. The album has still not been officially released.

It sounds like tickets go onsite today at noon, so if you're interested probably good to head on over to ticketmaster during that time.  We're guessing it will sellout (especially given the novelty of the event as it's the third of who knows how many).

Kanye remains one of the most enigmatic figures in popular culture.  We're not going to get into all of that right now, but the fact that he was born and raised in Chicago means that he maintains a connection and loyal following here.  We are captivated by him and still listen to some of his older albums (more recent stuff just hasn't appealed as much to us).

You can read more about The Donda Album Experience here.  We found this news segment on YouTube if you're looking for some info:

The segment is....typical Kanye these days. Highly visual and avant garde. Take that for what it's worth. 

Kanye has a history of using Chicago for promotion.  He brought his Sunday Service to Northerly Island a couple years back (although at that point, it was already widely viewed in different locales).  Back in 2013 he projected a video for his new song called "New Slaves" on the Field Museum as a promotional launch.

To be honest, we're unsure what motivates Kanye these days.  While he stands to make money (we would assume), he seems to be more focused on pushing the envelope of culture - for good or bad depending on your perspective. 

Nonetheless - expect some stories coming out of Soldier Field next week.  

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021

Bureau Pizza Co. Officially Open at 719 S. State

 Congrats to Bureau Pizza Co (719 S. State) on their opening:

As a reminder, this space used to be Pauly's Pizza Co but they closed last year after a long run.

Welcome Bureau Pizza!

Friday, August 13, 2021

City Health Official: No Signs Lollapalooza was a "Super Spreader" Events

Ok, this is my last Lolla post.  Seems like the city is saying there aren't any signs that the massive festival was a "super spreader" event (via Tribune):

Chicago’s top health official announced Thursday that roughly 200 Lollapalooza attendees have tested positive for COVID-19 so far in the aftermath of the four-day music festival, but she said there’s no indication the controversial event was a “superspreader.”

“There’s no evidence at this point of a superspreader event, and there’s no evidence of substantial impact to Chicago’s COVID epidemiology,” said Chicago’s public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

So far, there have been no coronavirus deaths or hospitalizations linked to Lollapalooza, which drew a crowd of about 385,000 to Grant Park, she said.

The outbreak of 203 cases included 127 attendees who had been vaccinated and 76 attendees who had not been immunized; 58 of the positive cases were Chicago residents, 138 lived elsewhere in Illinois and seven had traveled from out of state, Arwady said.

So that's good news - although a cynic could point to the (likely) numerous young people who simply brushed off testing or "mild" symptoms.  

But...we're not going to be cynical anymore.  It seems like the Mayor Lightfoot and the city has avoided the massive black eye many anticipated.  So we will give them their due and say we're glad Lolla happened and that some sense of normalcy occurred this summer.

We will keep our eyes open for additional stories on this topic, but hopefully we're done with it!   

Monday, August 9, 2021

One Negative Covid Test for Lollapalooza!

Sample size of one here - I went to Lollapalooza, haven't had symptoms and had a negative covid test on Thursday!  So that's a relief, but realistically I was probably one of the more responsible attendees hanging in the back and wearing a mask if things got super crowded.

We will be curious as this story unfolds (or doesn't) over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, most of the discourse has subsided regarding Lolla.  We saw Bill Maher reference it on his show (he was supportive of life going on) and the latest local news is health officials urging people to get tested if you attended (via Tribune):

Alison Goodwin was eager to attend Lollapalooza, excited for both the live music lineup and the strict pandemic protocols that she had assumed would keep the event safe for her and her wife, who traveled here from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Yet she became increasingly worried during the four-day festival, describing a sea of attendees “literally pressed against each other, maskless.”

She felt the screening process for vaccination cards and COVID-19 tests at the entrance was far too quick to be thorough. While signs requested masks be worn in restrooms, she said “this was hardly ever abided by and came with zero enforcement.”

Even though she’s fully vaccinated, Goodwin said she and her wife are scheduled to get tested for COVID-19 on Friday, a few days after their first potential exposure at the event.

“We would not have attended if we knew it were going to be like that,” Goodwin said.

In the aftermath of the event — which drew hundreds of thousands of participants to Grant Park — various health departments across the state are urging participants to get tested for the virus.

“If you were at LOLLAPALOOZA please go get tested for COVID on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday,” the Tazewell County Public Health Department in central Illinois said on its Facebook page on Wednesday. “This will help us shut down any local outbreaks before they get started.”

We can echo Goodwin's thoughts - the protocols at Lolla were a joke.  Hopefully the outdoor nature of the event really does squelch the spread.  


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Fun with Lolla Time Lapse

 Not going to lie - all I see is Covid invading Grant Park, replicating and then invading the city....

(Hat tip:  @cabansteven)

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Jefas Cantina Looks to be the Mexican Restaurant Moving into Former SRO Space on Dearborn

Looks like some more information is trickling out about the Mexican restaurant replacing the former Standing Room Only restaurant at 610 S. Dearborn (via Eater):

South Loop: Restaurant owner Giulio Spizzirri (Señoritas Cantina) has applied for a liquor license under the name Jefas Cantina Inc at 610 S. Dearborn Street. The space previously housed Standing Room Only, a casual burger and sandwich spot, which Spizzirri also owned until it closed during the pandemic.

We weren't aware that it's the same owner and that he's just reconcepting, but maybe the silver lining is that he knows the neighborhood?  We're unfamiliar with his spot Señoritas Cantina in Pilsen, but it looks pretty similar to some of the other Mexican spots in the neighborhood  such as Flaco's, Taco Maya, Spanglish.  Guess we will see.

As a reminder, SRO was a long standing burger joint in the neighborhood that closed during the pandemic last fall.  The spot is in a great location and seems well positioned to continue Dearborn's momentum.  Hopefully they make the most of it!

(Hat tip:  RH!)

Monday, August 2, 2021

Lollapalooza 2021: The Science Experiment

After a year off due to the pandemic, Lollapalooza 2021 has officially ended!  

From a pure event standpoint, it seemed like this years incarnation went off without a major hitch.  The weather was pretty much perfect.  Grant Park likely won't have any major structural damage like years past and in a week we likely can enjoy all of its glory.  

But like most things in the world today, the big story at Lolla was the Delta variant and its continued surge throughout the world, country and our area.

When the city announced that Lollapalooza was moving forward with the fest in the spring I was surprised.  It seemed like the perfect petri dish perfect for cultivating Covid.

Let me just preface this next part with the fact that I've gone to every single Lolla in Grant Park since I moved to Chicago in 2006.  So you can tell me I'm getting old, but you can't tell me that I'm not a huge Lolla booster.  Hell, I bought a ticket (and went) on Saturday and had friends who did the same.

I'm not going to lie - it was fun to gear up for the day and approach the event.  I was legitimately excited - its been awhile.  

Unfortunately the whole thing was idiotic.  I can paint this a lot of ways and draw out some positives, but at the end of the day - Lollapalooza shouldn't have happened this year.  

You know that policy that you had to prove you were vaccinated or had a negative Covid test?  Yeah, that was pretty much a joke as far as we could tell.  Maybe simply stating that deterred some or caused people to get vaccinated (really?)....worse yet, it gave some of us who were vaccinated but may have had underlying conditions or children who couldn't get vaccinated a false sense of security.  So for that - screw you Mayor Lightfoot and Lollapalooza.

Beyond the "Covid entry policy" - it didn't seem like any other precautions were made other than a sign removing Lollapalooza's liability (thanks Lolla!):

I was hopeful that they at least could have upped the game for the porta potty situation.  More hand soap?  More space?  Something?  It all looked exactly the same as the past and if you've ever seen it in the past, you can attest it's not the shining example of germ prevention.

Regardless of the potty situation and as a resident old guy at Lolla, there was no chance I was cramming my way up into the throngs of people, but this doesn't scream social distancing: 

The crowds jammed packed like the was to be expected.  Music is a powerful drug....

So it's over.  Now we get to see what the ramifications are.  There 100% is going to be stories of Covid spread via Lolla attendees - it's simply impossible not to happen - the question is just how much and how bad.

On one hand maybe the risk of outdoor transmission is truly low.  If that's the case...than maybe Lolla won't be the super spreader event many (including me) fear.  

On the other hand, we don't know much about Delta and it seems like we're going to have some data coming out of Lolla for the epidemiologists to hypothesize about.  

Hopefully this science experiment doesn't go wrong... 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Rainforest Learning Center Moving to the Corner of 14th and Wabash

It looks like Rainforest Learning Center is relocating one street west to the ground floor retail space at the Coeval Apartments (51 E. 14th Street):

We actually have some experience with Rainforest and have very positive things to say about their childcare and education.  

As a reminder they are currently at 1325 S. State and have been there for awhile.  That said, it seemed like a move would be required as the Willow Creek Community Church bought the entire building where they resided back in 2018 and at the time had long term plans to utilize the space.

It appears that plan is moving forward for the Church, but it's good to see Rainforest find a new home. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Checkout Some Strings at Women's Park Tomorrow (7/22)

We love the tranquil vibes of Women's Park and so it's not surprise that an event like this appeals to us:

Grant Park Music Festival Strings Quartet Project Inclusion 

July 22nd -  6:30pm - 7:30pm (Thursday)

Facebook Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2626898370936106 

Grant Park Music Festival brings free string quartet performances to cultural centers, parks, and community venues throughout Chicago, featuring the rising stars in our Project Inclusion Fellowship program. Bring a blanket and join us in your neighborhood park for a free, family-friendly and socially distanced outdoor concert with a little something for everyone to enjoy - from classical to tango, jazz/blues, and modern music! Project Inclusion is a unique artist development program for exceptionally talented early career singers and string players of color aimed at increasing diversity and guiding young professionals toward successful careers in music. www.gpmf.com

Monday, July 19, 2021

Sweet Bean Opens at Roosevelt and Wabash

A mentioned a couple weeks back a new bakery has opened at 1162 S. Wabash (via Facebook Hello South Loop! Group and Savanna Moore Gardner):
I saw someone post about a new spot and I had to check it out! 

Stopped by  Sweet Bean ( Roosevelt & Wabash) today and it’s super cute with coffee, gelato & a bakery! As of right now, the bakery is Chinese themed and they are waiting for another Sous chef and then they’ll be 

Chinese, Japanese and European themed! Items on healthy seemsed a little healthier too 😍they also have a seating area.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Could Bears Affiliation with One Central Development be a Tell That They're Staying at Soldier Field?

Streetsblog Chicago has an in-depth overview of a public meeting that the One Central development team recently held.  We still question how real this project is, but one relatively small piece that we found interesting was this comment about the Bears:  

Since Soldier Field does not host retail establishments, One Central is partnering with the Bears to allow them to run several restaurants and memorabilia and gift shop for attendees and tourists. If Landmark Development is this far along in a partnership with the Bears, that calls into question the Bears’ supposed interest in relocating from Soldier Field to Arlington Heights.

It wouldn't be crazy for the Bears to keep their options open and stay engaged on both fronts.  That said, we recently pondered how the city could find ways for the Bears to generate more revenue since Soldier Field is the smallest NFL stadium.  At some point, we wonder if the city could use One Central as a carrot to keep the Bears downtown.

The plot continues to thicken.

Monday, July 12, 2021

New Event Space Called G314 Moving Into Former Vice District Brewing Space on Michigan

Looks like a new business is moving into the former Vice District Brewing space at 1454 S. Michigan:

G314Chi is a prestigious event studio located in Chicago's South Loop Neighborhood. Our studio approaches designing the perfect event with a critical eye that challenges the typical vision of a event space.

From the simplest gatherings, to the more sophisticated soiree, we are passionate about delivering a positively unforgettable experience. Our team thrives on creating client relationships that foster a connection where we are not only providing an amazing space for your event, but actually becoming a part of its success.

It's unclear who exactly this is catered to, but it appears it won't be an amenity that is constantly open to the neighborhood.  That said, as the city hopes the convention business bounces back from the pandemic these types of spaces seem well positioned to cater to these groups. 

As a reminder, Vice District Brewing closed back in 2019.  We were very excited when they opened as it brought a completely new dynamic to the neighborhood.  Unfortunately they ran into some challenges on various fronts.  It seemed like it was more of an internal issue that cause Vice's business to fail (they were also opening up other locations on the South Side) vs. the neighborhood not supporting them.  It was probably a combination of it all.

Anyway you cut it, G314 seems to be taking advantage of the space and simply updating the look (via HelloSouthLoop:

It's not clear when they're officially opening, but seems like it will come quickly.

FWIW - looks like this company also has a location in Atlanta so it appears that this is not their first rodeo.  

Regardless - welcome to the Sloop!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Time to Go to the Museums - Covid-19 Restrictions Lifted!

Yeah museums (via Sun-Times):

If it seems like forever since you visited any of Chicago’s many museums and cultural arts attractions, there’s no time like the present to check out all that the area has to offer. And with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lifted, you can do so — in person.

So here’s a look at some of the exhibits waiting to be discovered (or rediscovered) by you, your friends, your family. The museums listed have reopened unless otherwise indicated. Most require advance tickets, so check websites for more information.

Here are some of the museums in the Sloop:

Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. Reopens July 3. Ongoing exhibits: “Astronomy in Culture,” “Chicago’s Night Sky,” “Mission Moon,” “Our Solar System” and more. Admission: $19-$50, $8-$39 children 3-11; adlerplanetarium.org.

Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. To Aug. 15: “The Obama Portraits” featuring the official portraits painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. To Sept. 6: “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” an exhibit of the artist’s quilts informed by photographs. To Oct. 18: Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw” speaks to the self-taught artist’s vision of drawings of mountainous terrain, arid deserts and majestic waterways. Admission: $14-$35; artic.edu.

Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. To Sept. 6: “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Jane Goodall” follows the primatologist’s journey to becoming a passionate scientist studying chimpanzees in Africa. To July 18: “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” celebrates the history, values and beliefs of the Apsáalooke people of the Northern Plains. Admission: $18-$32; fieldmuseum.org.

Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan at Columbia College Chicago. To Aug. 29: “Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40,” a multi-museum venture, here features the work of An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander,” two Asian-American artists who explore their relationship to America. Admission is free; mocp.org.

Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. Immerse yourself in the aquatic animal world with sea otters, turtles, beluga whales, sharks, sea lions, jellyfish, reptiles and more. Exhibits include the Caribbean Reef, Abbott Oceanarium and Polar Play Zone. Admission: $4.95-$39.95; sheddaquarium.org.

There are a lot of other call outs in the Sun-Times article that seem interesting.  We're thinking about checking out "The Art of Bansky" exhibit on the west side.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Changes to Stalled 1000M High-Rise Gets Approved By City Council ; Aims for Fall Restart

Looks like this is going to move forward (via YIMBY):

Groundbreaking is expected to occur this fall after the Chicago City Council has approved the revised design for 1000M, a long-planned residential skyscraper at 1000 S Michigan Avenue in South Loop. Fronting S Michigan Avenue, the project site is an infill site between E 9th Street and E 11 Street. Currently a stalled construction site, the development already has caissons in the ground. Time Equities and JK Equities are the developers behind the project.

This update design is one of multiple iterations since the building was originally approved as a Planned Development in 2016. Designed by the late Helmut Jahn and his office JAHN, the 73-story tower is now expected to rise 805 feet, reduced from the previous height of 831 feet. The entirely residential building will now hold 738 rental apartments instead of 506 condominiums and offer 325 parking spaces. Additionally 356 bike parking spaces will also be provided. There will be no retail space, with a leasing center for the building taking up the open space on the ground floor.

If it does in fact move forward, it's unfortunate that there won't be any retail opportunity.  Curious why that isn't happening as we would imagine Michigan Avenue retail space is pretty valuable these days and could add to the general street vibe.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Bureau Pizza Co. Moving Into Former Pauly's Pizza Spot on South State

We posted in June about another pizza place moving into the old Pauly's Pizza at 719 S. State and it looks like a name has emerged on the window:

So Bureau Pizza Company looks to be the name, but beyond that we're unsure much about this spot.  Their website has pretty limited info as of now with a splash page:

The immediate thought is whether this new Bureau Pizza Co. has any association with Bureau Bar + Restaurant further south on State (2115 S. State).  Kenny Johnson, the owner of Bureau Bar + Restaurant, also had a small bar called The Bureau Bar at 75 E. 16th awhile back so maybe this is just another expansion of his operation? 

If anyone has intel let us know.

Anyway, we'll be watching this one.  It is well documented that the neighborhood - and specifically the printers row area - has a lot of options when it comes to cheesy pie.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Arlington Heights Approves Zoning Draft That Would Allow For Bears to Build Stadium

So the Bears....hmmmm (via NBC5):
As the Bears navigate a long road to possibly moving out of Soldier Field and the city of Chicago, one hurdle— albeit a small one— was cleared. On Monday night, the Arlington Heights village board voted to approve an overlay zoning draft that would allow a football stadium to be built on Arlington Park.

Last week, Bears president Ted Phillips announced that the team had made a bid to purchase the property. However there has been some debate whether the Bears are serious about moving, or are using the bid as a negotiating tactic with Chicago, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Of course Arlington Heights is going to approve this - still seems like unlikely, but....maybe?

Beyond the idea that this is a negotiation ploy, we're curious if the controversial One Central development proposal has any impact on the Bears plans.  We're not sure if they're affiliated with the project, but similar to how the Rickets (Cubs owners) have found ways to monetize Wrigleyville since the historic Wrigley Field only had so much room to "expand" and "modernize", could the Bears try to capitalize on that development?  This is just my conspiracy theory.

This story has a long ways to go, so will be curious to see how it plays out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Facade Work at Southbridge Development on South State Complete

Looks like more progress at Southbridge (via Yimby):

Facade work is approaching completion at Southbridge Phase I, which comprises of two six-story buildings located at 2310 S State Street and 2344 S State Street in Chicago’s Near South Side.

McShane Powers Joint Venture is serving as general contractor for the current phase, though it is unclear if the company will be involved in the remaining Southbridge work. Completion and move-ins are expected for later this year.

This stretch of the Sloop has been vacant for awhile and certainly has an infamous past with the Harold Ickes homes.  It will be interesting to see if this development with change the general vibe in the area along State.  

It sure seems like there is momentum south of Cermak, but it still has a long way to go.

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Apolonia in Motor Row Earns Praise from the Tribune

Despite some delays in decorating the restaurant, Apolonia, one of the new highly anticipated restaurants in Motor Row (2201 S. Michigan), earns praise from the Tribune's food critic:
Though not all the details line up yet at Apolonia (decorations in the dining room), after two visits, I felt the kitchen was improving rapidly in real time. Gillanders noted the cucumber-and-watermelon salad has inspired other dishes going on the menu soon, which is genuinely exciting.
The review is a good read if you can access the Tribune behind their paywall.  One thing that got our attention was this description of bread!
Without Apolonia, we wouldn’t be collectively devouring the restaurant’s most popular dish, the black truffle puff bread ($16). Developed by pastry chef Tatum Sinclair, this unusual creation looks like a piece of permanently inflated pita bread.

But its shape comes from the incredibly high hydration level of the dough. I’ve been baking bread for years, and most loaves I work with hover around 70% hydration level, which essentially means that for every 100 grams of flour, there are 70 grams of water.

This one has a hydration level of 110%, a ridiculously high amount of water, which makes the dough sticky and particularly hard to work with. But drop it in bubbling oil, and the dough puffs up dramatically. After a few seconds, it’s finished in the wood-burning oven.

Fresh out of the oven, it’s smeared with funky shaved black truffle and toasted garlic, and then showered with salty Parmesan and fried parsley. Crackly on the outside, but soft and forgiving within, part of me wants to compare this to some platonic ideal of a breadstick — which sounds like a burn, but I mean it in the best way possible. I’d bet most people would stay in just about any room to eat this.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Indoor Pools Across the City Won't be Open This Summer Due to Lifeguard Shortage

In case you missed this one, looks like Ping Tom Parks indoor pool will be closed as is the case for all indoor public pools across the city (via Block Club):

People who like to swim at the Chicago Park District’s indoor pools will have to look elsewhere this summer.

The Park District’s outdoor pools open to the public Friday. But its indoor pools at places like Welles Park, Independence Park and Portage Park will likely close Wednesday and stay shut during the summer because there aren’t enough lifeguards to oversee all the city-run beaches and pools, officials said.

“The Chicago Park District, like many organizations across the country, [is] experiencing the impact of the national lifeguard shortage,” said Michele Lemons, the park district’s director of communications. 

The Park District manages 49 outdoor pools, 28 indoor pools and operates 14 Chicago Public School pools that offer community programs.  


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Using Tik Tok to Tell Chicago & The Sloop's History

We're fascinated by new technologies and the creativity it unleashes.  Don't believe us, this here blog was birthed from a similar sentiment.

Along those lines, today we stumbled upon a video on WGN about a local man who uses Tik Tok to tell Chicago's history:

A Chicago TikToker is sharing facts and history about the city in videos that have now gone viral.

Shermann Thomas’s 8-year-old daughter was posting dance routines on the app when he suggested she post facts about Chicago instead. She wasn’t interested in the idea so he started posting his own. His first viral hit was a minute-long history on Lower Wacker Drive and from there, his account continued to grow.

The life-long resident is telling the city’s stories and reaching a younger audience by posting short videos that he heavily researches.

“History matters and it’s not this boring stiff thing that we are used to,” he said.

Sure enough many of his videos touch on South Loop topics such as this one about Clark House:


Chicago’s oldest house. ##Clarkehouse ##Chicago ##chicagohistory ##fyp ##historytok ##chitown

♬ Spongebob - Dante9k
Sure, the content isn't ready for 60 minutes quite yet, but we still find it interesting. Further more, maybe some of you haven't checked out Tik Tok. As a person who is paid professionally to understand the media ecosystem, we've been blown away by Tik Tok's platform.  Maybe this gives you a chance to play around with it?