Friday, February 26, 2021

The Columbia Chronicle Talks to Students About Pauly's Pizzeria Closing

We recently posted about Pauly's Pizzeria closing after a 20 year run on State Street.  The Columbia Chronicle recently had an article talking about it's role with its students:

As of Monday, Feb. 15, Pauly’s Pizza, 719 S. State St., is closed permanently, leaving frequenting students saddened with the unexpected closure.

Pauly’s, a local South Loop pizza hot spot, was more than just a restaurant for Columbia students. It was admired for its large portions, cheap prices and quality food.

“I will speak of Pauly’s Pizza for the rest of my life,” said Thurston Stevenson, a senior comedy writing and performance major. “I’m grateful for the memories and the food that I got there while I could; it will live on in my memories forever.”

We understand the sentiment and nostalgia for your favorite college pizza spot closing.  Luckily for these students there are a ton of options close by.  

Was Pauly's much cheaper than say Pat's on Clark street or Art of Pizza a couple retail spots down on State street?  Hopefully it doesn't break the bank for them.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Smoothie RX Opens at 1503 S. Michigan

A reader writes:

Any information on Smoothie Rx opening in old tanning place next to Weathermark.

The short answer from us is no we don't have much information.  Upon doing some research online, it seems like there isn't much information out their on Smoothie RX.  We did find a relatively simple website that would appear to provide some basic info:

A smoothie a day keeps the doctor away

Our website will be launching soon, but…

our juice clinic is open for business!

The location of Smoothie RX is 1503 S. Michigan.  You can order online and check their hours, so it seems as if they're functioning (albeit just starting out).  There is also a fun gif showing carrots (or what we presume are carrots) being juiced.

Does anyone else have any insight or perspective on this place?

(Hat tip:  LK!) 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Le Petite Foxes - Located at 1550 S. State - Provides Pediatric Therapy For All Ages

While Le Petite Foxes opened in 2020, we haven't posted about but wanted to bring some attention to their business.  You can find out more at their website here, but to some it up the provide:

Pediatric therapy for all ages to promote independence, build confidence, strengthen social skills, and inspire adventures.

The business is located at 1550 S. State in suite 102, but it sounds like they can do virtual sessions if desired.

The approach to therapy is summed up in three areas:


Le Petite foxes is passionate about discovering the uniqueness of each child to build on their strengths while encouraging them to stretch and grow where needed. Our sessions are carefully and thoughtfully created with your child and family's unique needs in mind.


Inspiring children and families to embrace individuality, build strong relationships, and develop strong social skills. Each session is focused on including the whole family so that children are supported at home, school, and their community.


Children learn through play and their environment. We treasure providing children with the essentials needed to develop meaningful play that is spontaneous, enjoyable, and motivating. Our sessions can take place at home, in our therapy gym, in the community, or at school.

While they've been around for awhile, please join me in welcoming them to the Sloop!  Glad to have them in the neighborhood. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

City Announces Lakefront and Playgrounds Will Begin to Reopen

Well this is an encouraging development (via Chicago Tribune):

The Chicago Park District was expected to announce Tuesday the city’s lakefront, playgrounds and indoor aquatics centers will begin to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close nearly a year ago, according to the mayor’s office.

The decision comes after the city’s Health Department and Mayor Lori Lightfoot Monday touted the city’s test positivity rate dipped to 3.4%, “the lowest the city has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the agency posted on social media.

The lakefront, its associated parking lots and public access points leading to park property east of Lake Shore Drive are to be reopened by Chicago Park District crews, according to an email from a city spokesman. The popular public spaces began to close last March, when city playgrounds also were locked. They weren’t reopened in the spring even when other venues reopened after the statewide coronavirus lockdown.

The sun is shinning and the snow is melting, it's a great feeling to think we might be heading to the lakeshore and parks soon!

Monday, February 22, 2021

525 S. Wabash Development Going Back to the Drawing Board

Last week we posted about a development plan at 525 S. Wabash going to Chicago Plan Commission.  Well apparently that one is going back to the drawing board (via Chicago Architecture):

In a memo to his constituents, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly conveyed the news that the developer of 525 South Wabash Avenue, e-Terra+, has decided to pull its project from the log flume of City Hall approval.  The project was designed by Minneapolis-based BKV Group.

Mr. Reilly says the north suburban developer wants to revise the plan and try again.

So sounds like this one is slowing down.  We'll stay tuned on whether or not this moves forward.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Family of High-Profile Illinois Men's Basketball Guard Calls the Sloop Home

If you're like us, cold winter nights provide opportunities to watch TV and sports.  We love college basketball and noticed a story about one of the best players on the Illinois Men's Basketball team and his connection to the Sloop (via

The familiar sound of the ‘L’ fills the cold Chicago air on a calm Tuesday night in the South Loop. But the cheers from the Dosunmu family ring for all to hear.

“We cheer, we jump, we scream, we do it all,” Quam Dosunmu said.

This is is the new normal for the family of Illinois’ best player. Ayo’s biggest fans have watched every game together this season from the comfort of their couch. They’d rather be cheering from State Farm Center or any opposing arena on the Illini’s schedule across the country, but COVID-19 has kept them in the Windy City. It’s a big change for Ayo’s parents Quam and Jamarra, who never missed a game, traveling everywhere from Hawaii to Italy to see their son play.

This isn't the only high-profile college basketball player with connections to the Sloop.  As you may remember, Anthony Davis - who was arguably one of the best players in the country as a college student and is now a top 10 player in the NBA - played ball for Perspectives Charter School.

Anyway - if you don't have a team in the upcoming NCAA tourney maybe you can get behind a neighbor! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Tribune Editorial Board Questions the Need For One Central's Proposed Transit Hub

A few weeks back, we posted about a community town hall meeting for the proposed massive One Central development.  We recently read the Tribune editorial board's current take on the proposal:

Dunn’s $20 billion vision: build a 31-acre platform over train tracks just west of Soldier Field, then construct on the platform a mix of hotels, residential units, retail, dining and entertainment, along with a new transit hub. The project’s skyscrapers would tower as high as 89 stories. If you’ve ever walked from Michigan Avenue to Soldier Field for a game or concert, you’ve likely walked over the bed of tracks Dunn wants to build over.

Dunn’s project had been quiet for some time, but his team held a public meeting in January to update Chicagoans on the proposal. From the start, people who live near the site have worried about the project’s massive scope, along with the height of the buildings, and the traffic that the project would add to an already logjammed downtown.

For us, it’s that transit hub that prompts a double-take, and has us worried about the burden it would put on state taxpayers.

Dunn’s company, Landmark Development, wants Springfield to approve $6.5 billion in state financing over 20 years for the construction and operation of the transit hub and other structures slated for the project’s first phase. The hub, price-tagged at $3.8 billion, would become a new nexus for Metra, Amtrak and CTA trains, along with a new “CHI-Line” bus or tram route that would run from McCormick Place to Navy Pier.

When Dunn explained the project to the Tribune Editorial Board in spring 2019, we were intrigued. “Chicago has never shied away from big, bold endeavors. They keep the city growing and thriving,” we said at the time.

However, Landmark still hasn’t been able to justify the need for the transit hub. In the post-pandemic world, the work-from-home segment of the labor force will be sizable. Mass transit ridership is sure to take a long-term hit, forcing CTA and Metra to rethink train frequencies and service. The CTA and Metra have never given any indication they back the idea. If Landmark had some rock-solid rationale to devote a massive chunk of money from Illinois’ cash-starved coffers for a new South Loop transit hub, they would have come out with it. They haven’t because it isn’t there.

And about those coffers. Illinois is in no shape to plunk down $6.5 billion for One Central’s phase one. “With the pandemic’s economic turmoil upending state budgets around the country, it would be a challenge for any state to provide the significant amount this developer is seeking,” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner told the Tribune in a statement before One Central’s public meeting.

If this one happens we would be SHOCKED!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Proposed Development at 525 S. Wabash Moves Forward to Next Phase of Approval Process

Chicago Architecture has an update on a big development that would provide a shot in the arm and some retail amenities to the northeast corner of the Sloop:

The proposed $350 million mixed-use development at 525 South Wabash Street is headed to the Chicago Plan Commission this week.  If approved, it would bring the South Loop a pair of mid-sized towers, sharing a podium with a supermarket inside. The project is on South Wabash between East Harrison Street and East Ida B. Wells Drive.

Since this project was first conceived in 2019, it’s changed a bit.  The hotel portion is smaller.  The podium has been redesigned.  At one time, it was going to be two tall towers, but now it’s one 36-story tower, and one 23-story tower.  The smaller one gets the hotel  Both will have apartments.

While we understand that businesses and construction will likely continue to push on, it still seems perplexing that there is such demand for these types of developments.  The world is still working through a pandemic which is throwing the concept of a "downtown office" into question.  Maybe we're missing something, but seems like the continued development moves are missing some bigger societal changes happening.  

Maybe we're wrong?

Monday, February 15, 2021

Pauly's Pizzeria Closes After 20 Year Run at 719 S. State

It looks like the abundance of pizza options in the Sloop is finally catching up to demand.  Pauly's Pizzeria at 719 S. State looks to be closing their doors today after a 20 year run at the spot:

Pauly's honorably served the Sloop and the surrounding college students, but given Covid-19 and the various pizza places that have popped up over the last decade (Art of Pizza, Lou Malnatti's, Roots, Paisans - to name a few) have likely ate at their customer base.

Thanks to Pauly's for the years of service to the Sloop and we wish you the best.

(Hat tip:  JTS!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

David Axelrod Looks to Sell Sloop Condo at The Grant

Do you want to live like a high-profile political adviser?  Well now is your chance (via Chicago Tribune):

David Axelrod — a former White House adviser and current head of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics — and his wife, Susan, listed their three-bedroom condominium on the 44th floor of a South Loop high-rise Jan. 19 for $1.65 million.

A longtime political strategist and former Chicago Tribune reporter, Axelrod, 65, is known for helping advise Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential run. He then served as a senior adviser in the White House from 2009 until 2011.

David and Susan Axelrod paid $1.64 million in 2018 for the 3,000-square-foot condo in The Grant at Roosevelt Road and Indiana Avenue, so they don’t appear to expect to make much of a profit on the home, if anything.

If you're unfamiliar with Axelrod, you probably have been purposefully ignoring politics.  Anyway, we weren't aware of his (short-lived?) residence in the Sloop, but with views like this it's easy to understand why he and his wife were drawn to this unit:

The unit looks very nice, but nothing over the top in our opinion.  But that view...

Monday, February 8, 2021

CMK Looking To Move ASAP on New Building at 1400 S. Wabash?

The site Chicago Architecture has the beat on some movement at the long vacant lot at 1400 s. Wabash:

Five years ago, the city approved a 296-foot-tall residential skyscraper designed by Lucien LaGrange for this location.  That was never built.  But then, almost a year ago, the property was sold to River North developer CMK.  At the time, the company wouldn’t tell Crain’s Chicago Business, or anyone else, what it planned for the property.  But now, we think we know what’s up.

We suspect that CMK is going ahead with a residential skyscraper at this location.  And we think it’s going to keep the Lagrange design, with a couple of modifications.

We think this because of a letter sent by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development last week, which indicates that the owners of the property want to start construction A.S.A.P.  The owners have apparently filed for a construction permit for the foundation and the first three floors of the residential building.  Since there hasn’t been a new design approved for this location, we surmise that they’re using the old design, or something close to it.

We posted about the original plans for the site back in 2016, but as far as we knew nothing had transpired.  The fact that CMK is involved now definitely makes it seem as if this new building has a solid chance of moving forward.  They've been by and far the most prolific developer in the neighborhood - albeit their properties are pretty straightforward and certainly not very unique compared to some of the other projects in the Sloop (and city).

Regardless, will be interesting to see how quickly they get moving on this one.

Friday, February 5, 2021

After Relocation and Many Delays, Overflow Coffee Bar is Soft Launching at 1449 S. Michigan

Awesome news for the fine folks at Overflow Coffee Bar and their new home at 1449 S. Michigan:

We went back in the Sloopin archives and found the first post we did on Overflow Coffee way back on March 31st, 2011.  It was an interesting concept back then and a great addition to the neighborhood.  Glad they've been able to overcome entrenched national players, new ownership and many other obstacles.

Best of luck to them and hope to try sometime soon! 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

More Details Emerge About Murder Last Week at Studio Nineteen Barbershop

We posted about the brazen daytime murder last week at a Studio Nineteen barbershop (1931 S. State).  More details have come out this week and it's a startling account (via Tribune):

Chicago police fear the “high likelihood” of retaliation because of the shooting of a man killed in a South Loop barbershop who a police alert identifies as a “very close associate” of well-known rapper G Herbo.

The man killed was a member of the Terror Town faction of the Black P-Stone street gang, and G Herbo, whose real name is Herbert Wright III, is a documented member of the Terror Town and No Limit factions of the Black P-Stones, according to a Chicago police officer safety alert. The Tribune is not naming the man killed because the Cook County medical examiner’s office has not released his identity, pending family notification.

He died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the medical examiner’s office, which performed an autopsy Friday. His death was ruled a homicide.

The shooting occurred about 12:20 p.m. Thursday at the Studio Nineteen barber shop, 1931 S. State St. in the South Loop, according to a police report. A 24-year-old man was sitting in a barber chair waiting for a haircut when a 20- to 30-year-old man wearing all dark clothing including a hooded jacket and a face mask came in and asked employees for directions to the restroom.

The man then walked to the back of the store and into the restroom, police said. When he came out, he pulled out a handgun and walked directly toward the 24-year-old man and fired several shots to his head.

The man left the shop and ran south on State Street before entering a gold SUV, which sped off west on Cullerton Street, the report said. Three .40-caliber shell casings were found at the scene.

Wow - stay safe out there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

1000M High-Rise Looking to Shift From Condos to Rentals to Get Building Off the Ground

The off again on again high-profile development - 1000M - continues to be in the news.  The Real Deal has a quick summary of the current attempts to resuscitate this project:

Time Equities’ revised plan for its 1000M tower means building nearly that many residential units.

The firm is seeking a zoning variance that would let it build more than 700 units at its stalled luxury condo skyscraper project by Grant Park, according to Crain’s. The filing comes nearly seven months after Goldman Sachs yanked construction financing on the $470 million development.

New York-based Time Equities filed an application with the City Council to boost the allowable units to 738 at the planned 74-story tower, Crain’s reported.

Time Equities initially intended to build 421 luxury condos at 1000 South Michigan Avenue — called 1000M. Current zoning calls for a maximum of 506 units, according to the report, so the new figure would be a massive increase. The filing also shows the building’s height would drop from 832 feet to 805 feet.

We've received various emails with additional signs of this change including a letter one reader received from the developer and a pic another sent:

As we've seen just down the street at NEMA (Roosevelt and Indiana), the rental market has been easier for developers to get off the ground.  Will the Sloop be able to support another massive rental high-rise?  We shall see. 

As a reminder, construction on this building was halted in the summer and faced an uncertain future.

(Hat tip: JD & MM!)

Monday, February 1, 2021

After Taking 2020 Off For Covid-19, Printers Row Lit Fest Plans to Return in September

Good news and some not surprising news about one of our favorite Chicago festivals (via Chicago Sun-Times):

The Printers Row Lit Fest is back this year, as the annual free showcase of booksellers, author events, spoken word performances, writing workshops and more now is scheduled to take place Sept. 11-12 in the South Loop.

This year’s festival returns following the postponement of the 2020 iteration due to state and city COVID-19 festival/large gathering restrictions.

For those unfamiliar, the fest usually takes place in June.  Given some of the remaining uncertainties about the pandemic, probably a good move by the organizers.  Hopefully come September, some things will be more normal.