Showcasing the South Loop
06/15/2011 10:00 PM
We took a walk down South Michigan Avenue this week for our piece on a proposed entertainment district on Motor Row, and were astounded by the three blocks of ornate buildings we found.
Strolling down the street, gorgeous glass windows sat inviting but empty, ready for someone, anyone to move in.
Others showed clear signs of promise, with cruddy paneling concealing what were once clearly more grand showcases.
It hit us clearly: Motor Row is ready for a revival.
If Ald. Fioretti’s attempt to rezone it as a downtown district is successful, it would be fantastic for the South Loop to give birth to another thriving economic center in the city.
Looking at the setup, it appears that all the pieces are in place. There’s a set base of permanent residents from the high rises who would likely come south to new attractions. Though other South Loop businesses come and go, viable entertainment options could well create a big draw.
But the real thing that makes this all work is Motor Row’s proximity to McCormick Place. This would be the closest option outside of the convention center’s cavernous halls — the annual stream of conventiongoers would be just a stone’s throw away from the strip.
With a vibrant music venue and a hot microbrewery, we think the area could quickly take off. The strip’s already in great shape, and with a push from the city we think (and hope) it could really take off.
We’ll be first in line when the microbrewery opens, ready to toast the strip’s revival.
Businesses, start your engines.