Bad Retail Economy Strikes Holy Name Cathedral

The mother church for millions of Chicagoland Catholics is not immune to the ravages of the bad economy.  Holy Name Books and Gifts is closing its doors.  The announcement was made to parishioners on Saturday night (January 30, 2009). The religious gift shop operated mostly independently of the cathedral.  It had its own owners and staff and even paid rent to the cathedral for the space in the basement. ...

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Confection Selections in the Loop

It seems like you can’t swing a lollypop without hitting a sweet shop in downtown Chicago these days.  That’s a good thing.  In spite of setbacks like the closing of the Australian ice cream shop in Macy’s State Street, and the closing of Moonstruck Chocolates on Michigan Avenue (home to the comfiest chairs and most senseless lack of wifi in the state), the chocolate biz seems very healthy.  Maybe in a...

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The Biggest Mall in South Korea is… Chicago!

These days lots of companies are cutting corners.  One of the ways they tend to do it is to skimp on their art production.  Instead of hiring professional graphic artists to design their web sites, they get the C.E.O.’s nephew Jimmy to cobble together an embarrassment of a web page.  Who cares, as long as it’s cheap?  And instead of hiring a professional photographer to shoot their property,...

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Status Update: Flair Tower

Cranes are swinging and concrete is pouring at this Near North residential tower. Look for 27 stories of neo-classical goodness coming online on...

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Status Update: 353 North LaSalle

The last few panes of glass are being put in the top of 353 North Clark, the new office tower filling in what once was a surface parking lot across from Harry Caray’s.  The design looks good, the glass is very transparent, and the base of the thing actually resembles the pre-construction sketches.  Miracle of miracles! Can’t wait to see what retail and restaurant opportunities develop in the podium of this...

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Slice of Life: Trump’s Helix

While the building is still not completed, and the reviews are mixed, Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel and Tower is starting to grow on us.  The spire on top helps make it seem more complete, even though we dismiss it as a height manipulation stunt.  But the base is not without its charms. The public sidewalk is still closed, but the parking garage is open and that necessitates a way to get in and out.  In...

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Crü Cut. Wine Bar Cheeses It

The rumor we mentioned a couple of weeks ago about a certain Gold Coast wine bar shutting down turned out to be true.  Crü is no more. In its place will be “Feast: Restaurant and Bar” according to posters on Crü’s now shuttered façade.  The posters come with a little rhyme: Working the toasters For early Gold Coasters The eatery promises to be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  More good news...

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Quickie: Nokia Flagship Store may be closing

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the flagship Nokia store at 545 North Michigan Avenue may be closing. You’ll remember that Nokia is the second cellphone flagship store on Michigan avenue.  Motorola briefly operated a store on the other side of the street for about two months to introduce and promote some handset that everyone has since forgotten. After Motorola, the space was used as a publicity stunt by a frozen...

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Status Update: Block 37

Work continues on Block 37 / 108 North State / Daley Mills, or whatever it is you want to call the new mall in the very heart of the Loop.  Or does it? The work must be going on inside because there’ plenty of activity, but little change to those of us on the outside.  The sidewalks remain closed.  Lanes of traffic remain blocked.  And as far as the untrained eye can see things haven’t changed much in...

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What’s in a Name? An Obamanation.

Lots of people are trying to cash in on Barack Obama’s ascendency to the White House.  We’re happy the hype is over and the nation’s first half-black president can finally get to work and do some good.  But while the balloons and confetti are done flying in Washington, Obama is still being celebrated here in Chicago. Case in point: Yes, that hair salon is called “Obama’s Hair Design.”...

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