Neighborhood Spotlight: South Loop

As the Loop saturates with an ever-growing quantity of renters, the South Loop area between Congress and I-55 has become an enviable community for renting within a proximity of Chicago’s working hub. Walking to work is painless, and there’s plenty of public transportation in the area. The neighborhood comprises a dynamic mix of histories and attractions. The Motor Row District along South Michigan Avenue and the nearby Prairie Avenue District, once dubbed “Millionaire’s Row” (which housed Chicago’s wealthiest elite during the end of the 19th century), evoke the South Loop’s opulent history. Lofts and condos fill former commercial spaces that operated as publishing companies. Contemporary business professionals and students have transmogrified the South Loop into a combination of urban housing and gritty entertainment, the confluence of music clubs, restaurants, smaller theatres and reputable museums.

Evolving Factors:
The sheer amount of developments in the pipeline for the South Loop is astounding. Riverline is a huge, multi-building development that has already begun construction at Harrison Street and the Chicago River. There will be five residential towers in that development alone. There are also multiple skyline-changing towers under construction: Essex on the Park, One Grant Par and SoMi all have more than 450 units. Related has a 62-acre deal along the Chicago River, called Riverside park. This will have more than 4,000 units and will likely become a South Loop submarket. Overall, there are nearly 3,800 units under construction in the South Loop and more than 7,500 proposed.

Getting around the city from the South Loop is a breeze, considering the numerous “L” stops, Divvy stations and the Metra. Both the Red Line and the Green Line operate in the neighborhood, offering stops at both Roosevelt and Cermak-Chinatown.

Retail & Dining:
In terms of retail, The Shops at Roosevelt Collection are an area staple. The open-air, mixed-use development has premium national and local retailers, including Banana Republic, Old Navy, H & M, Victoria’s Secret and many others. The Collection also has a movie theatre and multiple restaurants; and next to The Collection is a Target.

Area food favorites include Acadia (a casual cocktail lounge with classic drinks), Buddy Guy’s Legends (a lively blues bar that serves Louisiana fare), Reggie’s (a punk sanctuary that is constantly showcasing live performances), The Shrine (a night spot with two DJ booths and live stage), The Scout (a rustic joint with an enormous beer list and patio seating) and Chicago Firehouse Restaurant (a firehouse-turned-cocktail-bar that serves traditional American food). As for restaurants, there’s Cafecito, Devil Dawgs, Bongo Room, Opart Thai House and Meli Café.

According to 2017 information from Nielsen, the total population of South Loop is 48,631 people; 48 percent are men and 52 percent are women. More than 90 percent of residents have a high school diploma. The average household income is $112,780, and 95.8 percent of residents are employed. The area has a buying power of more than $1 billion. The renting population is 47 percent.

The South Loop is home to the Museum Campus, with its collection of treasures and exhibits at the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. And nearby is Grant Park, the 319 acre “front yard” of Chicago, which hosts Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival. Farther south is Northerly Island, a nature lover’s dream peninsula. And to the west is Soldier Field, home to the Chicago Bears, and McCormick Square, which has the largest convention center in the country.

The South Loop boasts numerous schools, including Jones College Prep High School, which was ranked the third best high school in Illinois by U.S. News. Additionally, the area has South Loop Elementary School, South Loop Montessori School, Perspectives Charter Schools, National Teachers Elementary Academy, Daystar School, Old St. Mary’s School and Pui Tak Christian School. And Columbia College, a liberal arts college specializing in arts and media disciplines, is also in the South Loop.

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South Loop Analysis