Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Chicago Bears Signed Agreement to Purchase Arlington Park and Further Bringing Doubt About Remaining at Soldier Field

Looks like the plot continues to thicken for the Bears and the city of Chicago.  From where I sit, the Bears continue to gain leverage (via ABC7):

The Chicago Bears signed an agreement to purchase Arlington Park, the team confirmed Wednesday morning.

The Bears and Churchill Downs Incorporated signed a Purchase and Sale Agreement this week for the entire Arlington Park land parcel in the village of Arlington Heights, a news release from the Bears said.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office said Tuesday night that the mayor was not surprised by the move, and that they remain committed to keeping the Bears in Chicago. The spokesperson said they have informed the team they are open to discussions.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out.  One way or the other, it seems like Bears are going to get what they want and then some.

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.