June Neighbors’ Night Out Summary: Folks excited about employment, recreation opportunities at Related Midwest’s riverfront development

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Jul 112017

Over 50 neighbors attended the GSLA’s June Neighbors’ Night Out to meet representatives from Related Midwest, the developer who will lead the development of the undeveloped 62-acre tract that stretches along the east side of the Chicago River on the south side of Roosevelt Road. The event was held at Kroll’s South Loop.

Curt Bailey, President of Related Midwest, shared excitement about the opportunity to bring a vibrant, high quality new development to the area and noted that they plan to remain invested in the community and he sees the community relationship as a long-term partnership.  The new development will bring new residential, retail, and employment options (hinting that some commercial/office space may be part of the plan) and the vision is that the area will be “alive” throughout the day and a destination for all to enjoy.

Mr. Bailey expressed appreciation for the opportunity to connect with area residents to hear ideas, questions and concerns and indicated that Related Midwest plans to continue gathering community input as more concrete plans for the site are released. He noted that they are planning to have more to share with the community within the next 6 months.

Below is a summary of written feedback collected from attendees via a questionnaire we distributed at the event, which has also been shared with the Related Midwest team:

Top aspirations for future development (in order of most frequently mentioned)

  • innovation hub, anchor with a tech company for main jobs and fill around it, technology advanced
  • public access to the river
  • restaurants, more businesses, entertainment venue, space for small businesses (local)
  • housing, low rise (no more than 5 stories)
  • destination for all of Chicago
  • high school
  • family friends development and businesses that bring foot traffic
  • greater integration with South Loop
  • additional access to downtown (CTA & Metra)
  • embrace diversity

Most desired riverfront amenities desired at the site

  • water taxi stop
  • riverwalk, pedestrian friendly and dog friendly path with separate bike lanes
  • tiki bars, high-end restaurants, other retail
  • boathouse
  • water/barge houses
  • kayaking, canoeing
  • concert area along the river, small performance areas

Top responses to look and feel of the site 20 years from now

  • neighborhood with great entertainment and employment
  • restaurants, non-chain
  • futuristic, like Japan, like the Jettsons
  • historical feel
  • West Loop, Fulton Market
  • families enjoying the river
  • mix of lower rise housing, retail, parks and recreation
  • tech friendly – electric car charging stations, vertical farms
  • a place where people stay for years
  • a riverfront community
  • transit access to/from other neighborhoods without displacing ethnic neighborhoods nearby
  • suburban area feels safe community

Most important aspects/considerations for the site

  • public transportation (Metra & CTA – Red Line), no cars (monorail), traffic – relieve congestion of Clark St.; east-west access as well as north-south
  • jobs, employment
  • retail (not more hair salons or dentists)
  • schools (high school, elementary school)
  • good mix of demographics
  • high end shopping, high end restaurants
  • public events
  • trees, walking,
  • access to boats
  • noise control

Most desired community events/programs during construction

  • community engagement around site plans, giving feedback – want to see hard numbers/projections on resident increase, mix and how the burden on schools, parks and traffic are going to be affected/properly addressed
  • parks, movies in the park, festivals, concerts, summer theatre
    • no big outside concert venues (too much noise)
  • nature walks
  • pop up restaurants, picnics
  • indoor space for meetings
  • mountain biking, other sports, ball game
  • open space, for dogs to run/play
  • pop up small business hub/tech space
  • pop up art shows
  • farmers markets
  • food truck nights


About the GSLA:

The Greater South Loop Association (GSLA) is a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 1998. Our mission is to bring neighbors together to maintain and improve the South Loop as a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community.

About Neighbors’ Night Out:

The GSLA’s Neighbors’ Night Out is a monthly series of informal gatherings at local restaurants/bars where neighbors may gather to meet and discuss topics relevant to our neighborhood. The topics change from month to month based on feedback from our annual State of the South Loop survey and other current events that impact the South Loop.

Chicago Weekly Features the South Loop

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Nov 082012

Chicago Weekly featured the South Loop–our neighborhood–in a recent article (“Best of the South Side 2012“) and we we are proud to see local businesses, Waffles (Best Start to a Morning After the Night Before) and Overflow Coffee Bar (Best Socially Minded Cup of Coffee) lauded and Clarke House Museum (Best Trip Back in Time) recognized in such a positive light. And then there’s Sloopin (Best Hyper Local News Source). The South Loop is on the rise and getting better all the time!

It’s a neighborhood on the up—incrementally so, but it will take more than external intervention and active storefronts to reintroduce vitality to the neighborhood’s quietest areas. The emotional investment in the fate of their neighborhood is palpable among business owners like the husband and wife team running Overflow Coffee, organizations like Greater South Loop, and the lively comment threads on Sloopin. With residents like these, it won’t be too long till the South Loop recaptures its former glories.

Chicago Weekly, Best of the South Side 2012

Needless to say, it warms our heart to be recognized as a community organization that is building a community and ‘bringing neighbors together’.

Come Cheer on runners at the 2012 Chicago Marathon with the GSLA!

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Oct 042012

Join Your South Loop Friends

Join the Greater South Loop Association, your friends and neighbors on Sunday, October 7 at 8 a.m., in cheering marathon runners as they pass through the South Loop. We’ll be gathering at 1471 S. Michigan Ave. (the lot just north of Weathermark Tavern). We’ll have noisemakers to hand out, give-aways, $1 temporary tattoos, and music from DJ and South Loop resident T.J. Sagen. We’re positioned less than two miles from the finish line, which only adds to the fun. GiGi’s Bake Shop will be on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth with her homemade cupcakes and treats. If you need something more substantial, Weathermark Tavern is just next door. Feel free to bring your own lawn chairs to watch the race and enjoy the day with us!


Part of Chicago History

The Chicago Marathon has a storied history. Back in the late-1970s, a few visionary folk thought Chicago could support a marathon-style foot race and organized the first mega race in the city, the Ravenswood Bank Lakefront 10-Mile Run in May 1977. Organizers were expecting between 200-300 participants, but on race day there were over 1,000 runners. Mayor Michael Bilandic, a runner himself, ran the race and along with his wife, handed out awards to the winners. With the mayor’s support and the success of the mega race, the idea for a Chicago Marathon was born.

Largest Marathon in the World

On September 25, 1977, the first Mayor Daley Marathon made its debut. Over 4,200 runners participated, making the Chicago Marathon the largest marathon in the world. The registration fee in 1977 was $5. Dan Cloeter (2:17:52) from Indiana and Dorothy Doolittle (2:50:47) from Texas, became the first male and female winners respectively out of 2,128 finishers.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Post contributed by Stephen Reginald, South Loop Connection

Blizzard of 2011

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Feb 062011

South Loop residents captured many photos and videos of the storm that hit Chicago on February 1-2, 2011.  We asked for photos from around the South Loop and also used the photos that were tweeted over the course of the storm.