COVID Forces a Change of Plans in a Proposed Near North Building
Jul18

COVID Forces a Change of Plans in a Proposed Near North Building

Sixty-one West Erie hasn’t been built yet, and it’s already on its third life.  First, it was going to be a 12-story condominium block.  Then a 29-room vacation rental hotel hybrid.  Now, it’s all about apartments. September 2019 rendering of 61 West Erie. (via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly.) That’s the word from 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, who writes, “The hotel project is no longer viable...

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Roots Has Sprouted, Now Greening the South Loop
Jan21

Roots Has Sprouted, Now Greening the South Loop

If you were recently bitten by a radioactive spider, don’t be surprised if you smell pork and tractors in Printer’s Row.  That’s just your spidey sense kicking in for the new Roots Pizza joint going up at 744 South Dearborn Street. 744 South Dearborn Street under construction in January 2020 (Courtesy of South Loop Spy Joel) Roots is a miniature pizza chain from Chicago that serves… wait for it… Quad...

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Down-Zoning Requested to Put Up Small Hotel In Near North
Jan20

Down-Zoning Requested to Put Up Small Hotel In Near North

It’s not unusual to see zoning requests filed with the city where a developer wants to reduce the zoning density of a parcel.  But almost always it’s so that the chunk of land in question can be combined with a neighboring property and then the whole shebang gets an enormous skyscraper dropped on it like a bookbag on the last day of school.  That’s not what’s happening at 61 West Erie Street. September 2019...

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Bones Are Up For Roots in the South Loop
Nov11

Bones Are Up For Roots in the South Loop

Soon there will be another option for getting the taste of Bettendorf, Iowa right in the heart of Chicago.  South Loop Spy Joel sent in the photograph below showing the steel is up for the city’s fourth Roots Pizza location. November 2019 construction of Roots Pizza South Loop (Courtesy of South Loop Spy Joel) Roots is a mini-chain of pizza joints that is owned by a Chicago company, but serves Quad Cities-style pizza.  That...

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No More Condos, New North Building Has a New Plan: Airbnb-Style Hotel
Sep16

No More Condos, New North Building Has a New Plan: Airbnb-Style Hotel

If you were worried that you wouldn’t be able to afford to lay your head in the swishy new luxury condominium building planned for 61 West Erie Street, there’s good news.  You may be able to pay by the day. September 2019 rendering of 61 West Erie. (via the Office of Alderman Brendan Reilly.) According to 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, LG Development has ditched its plan to put up a 12-story residential block, and is...

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Astrolab Condos Ready to Rock It
Jan23

Astrolab Condos Ready to Rock It

You can trade your pencils for pens on this one.  The modest Near North condominium block marked down for 61 West Erie Street is a “go.”  The Chicago Plan Commission recently gave it the green light. There were a few stumbling blocks along the way, but nothing that LG Development couldn’t be solve with a few more aggressive setbacks, and a fat sack of cash to help illuminate Erie Park and its riverwalk. We call it...

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West Town’s Hottest Potato About to Plant Roots on Peoria Street
Dec12

West Town’s Hottest Potato About to Plant Roots on Peoria Street

In the 14-year history of this publication, we’ve never seen a building so hated, so demonized, so despised as this one.  When 111 South Peoria was announced, you would have thought that it was announced that a pig farm was being built amid the low-rise brick condos of West Town, and everyone in the neighborhood would be required to take a turn slopping the sows. People’s heads figuratively exploded.  They were literally...

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The Plymouth Building: Printers Row’s Newest Landmark
Jun22

The Plymouth Building: Printers Row’s Newest Landmark

Chicago’s Printers Row neighborhood is a walk-though gallery of great architecture.  Even the ugly buildings have pretty details.  And the pretty buildings have historic pasts.  Recently one of those pretty buildings, The Plymouth Building at 417 South Dearborn Street, was recommended for city landmark status. The building is being converted into student housing by LG Development, so this seems like as good a time as any to give...

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Contentious 111 South Peoria Plan Passed by Plan Commission
Mar17

Contentious 111 South Peoria Plan Passed by Plan Commission

111 South Peoria, the condo building LG Development wants to build in the West Loop, was approved Thursday by the Chicago Plan Commission, despite ongoing resistance from some neighboring residents. Originally proposed as a 13-story apartment building on what is now a surface parking lot adjacent to Mary Bartelme Park, locals cried foul over most aspects of the development, forcing LG back to the drawing table to make alterations....

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Old Astrolab Building Lost In Space
Mar14

Old Astrolab Building Lost In Space

As much as people in Los Angeles hate to admit it, Chicago was once the movie capital of the world.  That was back before 3D.  Before THX.  Before color and sound.  Even though Hollywood is the undisputed leader in filmed entertainment these days, some bits of the industry still remain in the Windy City.  Except one. Last week, demolition began at 61 West Erie Street, the former Astrolab Building.  This was the location of a film...

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