Archive for June, 2009

Renovation brings a JW Marriott hotel into a Daniel Burnham designed building in the Loop.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 30, 2009

Slated for a June 2010 opening, a new JW Marriott Chicago will be located at 151 West Adams Street in a converted Daniel Burnham designed bank building after a lengthy $369M restoration.  When finished, the JW Marriott Chicago will include 609 large guestrooms, 125 luxury suites, two ballrooms, and 48,000 square feet of meeting and event space.  Included in the newly renovated building is a 20,000 square foot spa which is an amenity not usually found in most Loop hotels. 

I’m excited for the JW Marriott Chicago to be finished for a couple reasons.  First, I am always a huge proponent of the smart re-use of an old and historically significant building especially when many are being torn down without much thought.  Secondly, this part of the Loop becomes a ghost town after 5pm.  With the W Hotel – City Center right across the street at 172 West Adams Street, I am hoping more restaurants and shops will choose to move here and stay open longer.



Posted in Construction, Renovation/Restoration, The Loop | Leave a Comment »

One of Pilsen’s most talked about new restaurants: Simone’s Bar

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 28, 2009

I FINALLY got to pay a visit to Simone’s Bar in Pilsen, the neighborhood’s most talked about new restaurant and bar.  Luckily, I got to combine work with pleasure as well, due to a lunch meeting with a coworker and a great contact in the Pilsen neighborhood, Norma Alanis.  Norma owns and operates Chocolate For Your Body Spa, located at 1743 S. Halsted Street.

Simone’s Bar, located at 960 W. 18th Street, opened a few months ago and already has quite the following throughout the area.  The inside of Simone’s is decorated with recycled materials such as old bowling lanes for tables and the bar and glass bottles for light fixtures so it’s pretty unique.

Their outdoor patio recently opened so we all decided to eat outside because the weather was so nice.  I ordered the Simone’s Burger which is a 100%  hand pressed beef patty filled with bleu cheese and served with a mixture of hand cut regular and sweet potato fries ($9.00).  Norma ordered the Cheeseburger with American cheese, also served with the mixture of fries ($8.00), and Zev ordered a cup of tomato soup and had a panini sandwich which was the special for the day (price not known).

Overall, our server was very attentive and the food came out very quickly and I’m always a fan of outdoor eating which made the experience even better.  The food was great and I look forward to trying some other entrees the next time I pay a visit.  Simone’s Bar is open from 11:30am – 2am daily so definitely check them out!



Posted in Food, Pilsen, Restaurant | Leave a Comment »

Construction progress on “The Ledge” at the Sears Tower!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 26, 2009

By the looks of this recent picture by jc5680 on Skyscraperpage, “The Ledge” is progressing nicely and should be giving everyone a whole lot of vertigo in the near future.  Originally, it was reported that “The Ledge” would be opening up to the public in June.  Well, unless the workers can finish the project in five days, I have to believe there was some sort of delay. 

When completed, “The Ledge” will give the Sears Tower quite the advantage in bringing people in over the John Hancock Center.  After all, a 103 floor drop with 50 mile views is pretty cool.  The Sears Tower Skydeck is open from 9am – 10pm and tickets are $14.95 for anyone 12 and up.


Posted in Buildings, Construction, The Loop | Leave a Comment »

Five-star, 50 story, green hotel planned next to Sears Tower in the Loop!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 25, 2009

Check out this article from the Sun Times.  The owners of the Sears Tower, soon to be known as Willis Tower, have rolled out plans for a 50 story, “net zero,” five-star, green hotel…wow, that’s a lot of adjectives?  Confused as to where this new hotel will be located?  There is a large plaza area right next to the Sears Tower and the new hotel will be located on the Northeast corner of Jackson and Wacker Drive on that plaza.   

By the looks of it, there will be a rather large landscaped plaza and retail area at the base of the hotel as well as green roofs at certain points higher up in the tower. 

Some are pretty skeptical about these plans due to the lack of things to do in this part of the Loop after 5pm as well as the lack of financing going towards new projects…let alone large projects.  Again, I could go on and on but I figure the actual article is a better read.

Posted in Buildings, Proposed Developments, The Loop | Leave a Comment »

ChicagoismynewBlog’s first 100 posts!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 24, 2009

ChicagoismynewBlog has just surpassed its first 100 posts so please keep spreading the word about to your friends so we can keep building up the viewership.  Lately, ChicagoismynewBlog has consistently surpassed 100 hits per day so lets keep it going!

ChicagoismynewBlog is also just over 6,250 hits.  So I realize many websites get this many hits in an hour, but I’m excited that my personal blog that averages less than one post per day has reached this milestone.


Posted in Milestones! | Leave a Comment »

Chicago Tribune article states the facts about the CTA’s rail ridership levels.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 23, 2009

According to this article from the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Transit Authority’s 144 train stations and eight train lines have seen quite the variety in this year’s ridership numbers compared to the same time last year.  “El” train ridership has climbed 4.3% or 3.3 million riders from January to May 2009, compared to the same five-month period in 2008.

The worst rated subway station is the North/Clybourn Red Line station due to its need for a long awaited overhaul and mold that grows on the walls and ceilings.  The best rated train station is the brand spankin’ new Howard Red/Purple/Yellow Line station due to its bright, airy design, new escalators, elevators and a new entrance near a commuter parking garage making it a major transportation center.

The article is pretty interactive and fun to look at because you can check out the ridership numbers other statistics about every train station from every train line.  The South Loop, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and River West neighborhoods have seen a dramatic rise in rail ridership compared to the same time in 2008.  Check the article out and a big thank to the Chicago Tribune.

Posted in News Articles, Transportation | Leave a Comment »

Beer tasting at Belgravia Group’s Union Row Townhomes Thursday night.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 22, 2009

Normally, Belgravia Group’s Union Row Townhomes teams up with Lush Wine & Spirits for a wine seminar but we decided to switch it up a bit and have a beer tasting.  I, for one, am excited!  The beer tasting will take place at Union Row’s model home, located at 644 W. 16th Street, and will go from 7:00pm -8:30pm.  Like always, there will be good food and the seminars are free which is a perfect reason to invite friends to come along with you.  If you plan on attending, just give Union Row a call at 312-829-4600 to RSVP.

Lush flyer

Posted in Belgravia Group, Events, Free Stuff, Pilsen, Union Row Townhomes | Leave a Comment »

Thai hideaway and good food at Silver Spoon on Rush Street (4/5 Stars).

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 21, 2009

First introduced to me by a couple friends who live in the neighborhood, I have now passed my love of the Silver Spoon to other friends and visitors.  The Silver Spoon, located at 710 N. Rush Street, is a hole in the wall Thai restaurant that is tucked away in the basement level of a building but within a minute from the Mag Mile.  Most times that I have visited, there was no wait, and every time the service was attentive, and the food came out very quickly.  For my most recent visit to Silver Spoon, I went with my sister Diane and our friend Andrea and we went the whole “sharing route”…here’s what we ordered:

I ordered the Bamee BBQ Pork without broth which is steamed egg noodles topped with sliced BBQ pork, garlic, green onion, bean sprouts, and cilantro.  The reason I stray away from having broth is strictly because I am not a huge fan of soup. 

Andrea ordered the Ginger Chicken which has stir-fired chicken sautéed with ginger root, onions, mushrooms, carrots and baby corn.  Out of all three dishes, we all agreed this was the least favorite…but good nonetheless.

Diane ordered the Pad Thai…go figure.  Her Pad Thai had thin noodles, stir fried with egg, bean sprouts, onions, tofu topped with carrots, green onions and ground peanuts.  Diane opted out of the tofu for this dish.

We also split an order of spring rolls which were amazing and, for an appetizer, the quantity was pretty large.  I’ll definitely order them again the next time I’m at the Silver Spoon.

Posted in Food, Restaurant, Streeterville | Leave a Comment »

New photos of the replacement for the old Ogden School in the Gold Coast.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 20, 2009

Located at 24 W. Walton Street in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, Ogden School will be closing not because the school is performing badly, but because the Ogden School is receiving a $60M construction project.  The new Ogden School will be a state of the art facility with underground parking, rooftop recreational areas, and a large area devoted to a green roof. 


Current school.

With around 400 students, Ogden School students will temporarily move to a school close to the Cabrini Green housing projects, an area that has seen an extensive amount of development and gentrification in the past few years.  The choice to move the temporary school close to the housing projects has, no doubt, ruffled quite a few feathers.


Looking Northeast.


Looking Northeast.

Posted in Gold Coast, Proposed Developments | Leave a Comment »

Sales and lease figures not so hot for South Loop condos and apartments…

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on June 19, 2009

Crain’s Chicago Business released a pretty cool map of Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood showing the percentage sold and leased homes for many of the South Loop’s newest projects like Roosevelt Collection and 1600 Museum Park.  The numbers don’t look good so check them out for yourselves.  If you’re in the market for a new home, there are plenty of homes available in the South Loop, just be a bit cautious on if it’s the right choice in the short and long term.  A big thank you goes out to Crain’s Chicago Business for the map.


Posted in Real Estate, South Loop | Leave a Comment »