The Coast upgrades amenities room in latest improvements

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

Since summer 2017, when Morguard took over management of the Coast apartments in Lakeshore East, the management company has been improving the property one project at a time.

In January, management announced an improved amenities space: the commons area for residents at the 345 E. Upper Wacker Drive property.

“Loren Stanton was the designer, and he did a fantastic job on that,” said Laura Collins, community manager for Coast at Lakeshore East. “We made it very user friendly. There are ports everywhere for people to work on laptops there. We have new TVs and a new shuffleboard, and we got a coffee service there.”

The apartments house more than 700 residents when at capacity. Collins explained that as residents turn over, Morguard is overhauling the apartments as well.

“Last year we did about 20 unit renovations,” she said. “And then this year we’re slated to do 75.”

Those improvements include new tile, backsplashes, paint, roller shades and cabinets. The company has already upgraded the residency’s entryway and soon, Collins said, they will upgrade the gym and the pool area as part of the ongoing project.

The building got three new grill stations in August, and plans for all new pool furniture are in the works, she said.

Residents made good use of the new grills.

“They saw use all the way through early December,” Collins said. “We had people running out there to grill steak and running back.”

To find out more about Coast at Lakeshore East, visit rentcoast.com.

Snow superstars clear the way at the Aon Center

By Stephanie Racine | Staff Writer

It’s a big building, in a big city, so it’s no surprise that when winter comes, it’s a big job keeping the Aon Center’s perimeter free of snow and ice.

How do they do it? With people and preparation.

Every winter, the Aon Center employs Harvard Maintenance to keep the property dry and safe during even the worst weather. It starts with a plan. Each shift leader decides who and what is needed for the job, depending on the weather.

“Lakeside buildings generally receive more snow than properties inland, so we communicate forecasts and keep our response dynamic in case additional resources or manpower are needed if a storm worsens beyond what was estimated,” said Harvard Maintenance senior director Karen Camerano.

Project manager Kate Krolicki said security at the Aon Center reaches out when the snow begins to fall downtown and a crew is assembled to salt, scoop and dry off the paths using a squeegee.

It’s no easy feat to keep feet dry, and it takes a toll on even the most experienced workers. “Our employees have to be in the cold for long periods of time, so we educate them on frostbite, exhaustion and other potential health concerns,” Camerano said.

Pro-tips:

For those who like a walkway as immaculate as the Aon Center’s—but can’t afford employees to do it for them—Camerano emphasizes readiness. She recommends putting down salt immediately and shoveling before the end of a snowfall. “We aim to never let the snow accumulate to a level where shoveling or lifting the snow becomes too arduous,” Camerano said.  

Lakefront Trail separation project completed

New Eastside News News BriefsLakefront Trail completed

After three years of work, the Chicago Park District announced in December that the Lakefront Trail renovation project is complete.

For years pedestrians and cyclists complained of confusion, accidents and general crowds along the trail. In 2016, spurred by a $12 million gift from Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man according to Forbes, the city began widening the trail and separating it by direction and by use between bicyclists and pedestrians. The trail extends from Ardmore Avenue in the north to 71st Street in the south. The city has not yet completed all landscaping improvements along the trail. While the trail is completed, parts may be closed due to winter weather advisories. Check chicagoparkdistrict.com to see the status of the trail

400 E. Randolph Building increases security

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

After the theft of a classic car in November from the residential building at 400 East Randolph, residents at the January CAPS meeting said that the building’s management has increased its security presence in the garage.

At the meeting, residents of the building and the neighborhood expressed concern to police that not enough is being done to prevent car thefts. The police confirmed that the suspect in the November theft is a repeat offender.

Sergeant Anthony Dombrowski said that since residential garages are private property, it is incumbent on the building owner to take precautions.

Management of 400 E. Randolph did not return calls for comment.

Slalom moves to Aon Center, expands to two floors

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

In January, Slalom, a national business services and technology consulting agency, announced their move from the Prudential Plaza to the Aon Center.

The Seattle-based company that consults in a wide variety of departments, including organizational effectiveness and data analytics, now occupies 65,000 square feet over floors 37 and 38 of the Center. This doubles their previous office space. However, in the last 14 years since the company set up shop in Chicago, steady growth demanded a larger space, general manager Justin Odenbach said in a press release.

“With more than 700 employees now—and plans to grow beyond 1,000 in the next three years—we simply outgrew our previous space,” Odenbach said. “Because we have a local business model, our people live and work in the Chicago area, so staying in the city was key. We were thrilled to find a space that met our criteria for location, growth, flexible use, and culture fit right here in the neighborhood we know and love.”

New Eastside News moves into Carr Workplaces

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

New Eastside News has new offices at Carr Workplaces.

Carr Workplaces, a national coworking office space provider, rents flexible workspaces at 25 locations across the US. The Chicago location at the Aon Center, 200 E. Randolph St., was a good fit for the New Eastside paper.

“As we grow our brand and expand our coverage downtown, it made sense for us to move into a central space, and I wanted that to be in New Eastside, where the original paper was founded,” New Eastside News publisher Elaine Hyde said.

Hyde found the professional environment and flexible plans appealing. “We can pay for the space as we use it or choose to rent a dedicated office or meeting room as needed,” she said.

Jamie Janata, general manager of Carr Workplaces at the Aon Center, said those are common reasons people pick Carr.

“We appeal to the sharp, entrepreneurial professional that knows service has a value all of its own,” Janata said. “Our client base are leaders in sectors such as law, financial services, technology, marketing and media.”

The Workplaces’ affordability is a boon to businesspeople. “Our idea is that a professional workspace should be accessible to everyone,” Janata said. Pricing packages come with a lot of flexibility.

Coworking spaces, office suites and meeting rooms can be reserved for an hour, a day or rented on longer leases. Pricing begins at $35 for three hours in a shared space in the Cafe. Clients get internet access, printers, coffee, tea and water. Possible add-ons include mailboxes and phone lines with answering service. Carr provides perks such as fresh-baked cookies every Friday, access to office concierge services and a dedicated support team. The facility also provides an opportunity to network with other professionals.

Hyde explained that the move made sense for her team. “We depend on freelancers and writers who need to touch down throughout the day. I am pleased that we can now provide them with a quiet work spot. It makes it easier for us to cover local news and for our readers and advertisers to reach us.”

Janata pointed out that no matter who uses the spaces, her office concierge team is on hand to assist them with anything they may need.

“Carr Workplaces delivers the same level of concierge service you expect from a luxury hotel in a coworking setting,” Janata said. “Our clients tell us that it’s Carr Workplaces’ five-star hospitality that separates us from the competition. My team and I are really driven by a passion to deliver for our clients and to be the extension of their business.”

To find out more about Carr Workplaces, visit carrworkplaces.com or call 312-577-7600.

Send mail to New Eastside News, 200 E. Randolph St., Suite 5100, Chicago, IL 60601.

[Carr team members Vanessa Campos (left), General Manager, Jamie Janata and Giovanny Avila. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski]

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[Carr Workplaces offer a variety of spaces, including open office setups, private meeting rooms and boardroom facilities. Photo courtesy Carr Workplaces.] (use the board room photo).

New Eastside Doorperson of the Month: Reginald Turner

By Elizabeth Czapski | Staff Writer

When Park Millennium doorperson Reginald Turner was a boy, he was in foster care.

“I was a foster kid for a long time,” he said. “Coming from foster homes, it was a struggle.”

He grew up and out of the foster care system and, as an adult, found himself working alone at a desk all day, studying numbers. He was an accountant for 24 years before he was laid off.

From there he worked security. In 2010 Turner got a job as a doorperson at 2700 N. Hampden Court. By 2016, ready for a change, he started at Park Millennium. That’s also when he started really interacting with people.

“The people keep my energy up,” he said. “It’s just fun meeting different people every day.”

Turner works in the afternoon and evening. A normal day consists of getting packages—a lot of packages—and greeting people. He loves making residents smile when they come in for the day.

“It’s not really a job. It’s just like greeting your friend coming in every day through the door,” he said. “This is one of the best buildings I’ve been at.”

Turner said he loves when everyone comes home from work during rush hour and he likes hearing what’s new with the kids who live in the building.

He also enjoys working with his colleagues and said he learns something new from them every day. The most important is to “be friendly, be present [and] make sure you acknowledge everybody who comes through the door,” Turner said.

Emergency situations, he said, keep him on his toes. When someone got stuck in an elevator, he had to call the fire department— a new experience for him.

Besides being a doorman, Turner is an artist and a musician. He said he has a talent for drawing, and he’s been learning the guitar for about five years.

But he really, really likes his job.

“I never really had a family so, you know, I make the people part of my family,” Turner said. “So that’s why I enjoy this building.”

Send nominations for Doorperson of the month to info@neweastsidecommunity.com

[Doorperson Reginald Turner loves his work family at the Park Millenium residencies. Photo by Elizabeth Czapski]

Where to go in New Eastside for Restaurant Week 2019

By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer

Restaurant week began Jan. 25 and continues through Feb. 7. Participating restaurants offer a prix fixe menu at set prices. Lunch or brunch is $24 and dinner is priced at $36 and $48. New Eastside locations participating in this year’s Restaurant Week are:

·      About Last Knife: Lunch, Dinner

·      American Craft Kitchen (inside Hyatt Regency): Lunch

·      Columbus Tap: Dinner

·      Free Rein: Lunch, Dinner

·      III Forks: Dinner

·      LH on 21: Dinner

·      Mezcalina: Lunch, Dinner

·      The Mid-America Club: Dinner

·      The Palm: Lunch, Dinner

·      Tavern at the Park: Dinner

For more information on Restaurant Week and the restaurants involved, visit choosechicago.com

GEMS students get lessons in fashion, music and literature

By Jesse Wright | Staff Writer

Sixth graders strutted their stuff on Jan. 17 at the annual GEMS World Academy fashion show.

The show is in its fifth year. The students wrote music and then designed a clothing ensemble and wrote a poem based on that music.

The interdisciplinary exercise was the brainchild of Elysia Sheehan, the school’s art and design teacher. The project is a fun way to kick off the school year and it also combines several subjects into a participatory, interactive learning assignment.

“It started from a conversation I had with a new student in our first year while we were doing some team building activities during the first week of school,” she explained. “She was expressing that at the time she felt more nervous than excited about starting at a new school. We began talking about what we could do to help ease her transition into GEMS and about the things she enjoys most. She spoke about how much she enjoys drawing and making fashion designs. The whole idea evolved from there with input from students and teachers who were excited to build out our curriculum for the year.”

The project starts with a design. This year, students had to pick a genre of music and design an outfit that would represent that. To build their wardrobe, students are given $10 and taken to a thrift store.

“Students learn to sew, have weekly visits with a fashion designer, keep a process journal to document their personal growth and goals, and build on their foundation for constructing fashion,” said Sheehan.

Besides designing and sewing original clothing, the students also got a musical education. Music teacher Chris Roebuck and language and literature teacher Melissa Cuclich helped students discover new genres of music and understand poetry, respectively.

“In previous years, their fashions have reflected technology, humanities inquiries, science, et cetera,” said Sheehan. “After designing the garments, the students model them on the ‘runway’ during a fashion show event in our gym.”

Parents, teachers and other students packed the place in support of the sixth graders who walked, strutted and, in one case, skateboarded down the aisle.

GEMS sixth grade student Max Robertson skates his way down the runway for a fashion show in January. Photo by Jesse Wright

GEMS World Academy is a private school in the New Eastside. To find out more about the school, visit them online at gemsworldacademy-chicago.com.

Mister Rogers documentary to air on PBS in February

Staff reports

(Published Jan. 16)

Fans of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood will get a treat Feb. 9.

That Saturday, WTTW11, Chicago’s public broadcasting station, will air “Won’t you be my Neighbor,” a hit documentary film about Fred Rogers, the host of the hit childrens television show.

The film highlights Rogers’ pioneering contributions to public television and children’s programming, namely promoting kindness and tolerance. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year and has been nominated for numerous awards.

 The show aired on PBS stations around the country for decades and generations of adults watched the show as kids.

Old is OK in Skyline Village Chicago

By Elizabeth Czapski, Staff Writer

At 76, Phyllis Mitzen is — in her words — an old woman. Others might use words such as elderly or mature but Mitzen does not.

Old is OK, she says, and so is aging, provided people have the right resources and this is where Skyline Village Chicago comes in.

As president of Skyline Village Chicago, an organization for older adults, Mitzen spends a lot of time thinking about aging. According to Village to Village Network, the concept of a “Virtual Village” is simple—an organization for older adults that provides access to services, fosters community relationships and does “anything [its] members need to age safely and successfully in their own homes.”

The Village model began in Boston over 15 years ago and has been spreading since. These organizations not only connect to other villages, but also connect members to each other.

Skyline Village Chicago is open to residents of Streeterville, the Gold Coast, River North and New Eastside. Mitzen said other villages in the Chicago area focus on providing access to services and transportation, the neighborhoods that Skyline Village covers tend to be “resource-rich,” meaning they have resources for the elderly.

Because of this, the Village focuses on socialization, so neighbors can get to know each other, Mitzen said. Through Skyline Village’s newsletter, residents find out about local news, event dates and life updates from members.

Mitzen’s favorite village event is the Women’s Salon, which meets monthly to talk about “what it means to grow old in our society.” She said it’s not a therapy group, but a place to share information, talk about ageism and come to an “active understanding of our aging selves.”

The village also has an advocacy group, Mitzen said, which advocates for senior issues. For instance, the group is working with the park district to discuss installing equipment for all ages in the city’s playgrounds, Mitzen said.

She added that “owning old” is something that comes up often in the Women’s Salon and something she tries to do every day.

“There are frailties, and people do become disabled when they grow older, but it shouldn’t mean that their voices aren’t as strong,” she said. “I’m happy to be able to do what I’m doing at age 76, and if I can’t do it when I’m age 80, I’ll still be an old woman who deserves respect.”

The top Chicago openings for 2019

By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer

The New Year will bring new developments to the city. Here are the top new developments residents can look forward to this year.

Hotels

1.     Actor and New York developer Robert DeNiro is coming to Chicago. DeNiro’s development team is opening the Nobu Hotel in December 2019 along Restaurant Row. In addition to luxury hotel rooms, the property will boast a street level Japanese restaurant and a rooftop lounge.

2.     The Hotel Essex has been working on its Michigan Avenue property for a while now, and it’s expected to open in May of 2019. Located at 800 S. Michigan Ave., across from Grant Park, the hotel will be in the heart of the city and offer 254 rooms.

4.     The Hilton brand will open another Homewood Suites in downtown Chicago in May. This one will be across from Grant Park at 1101 S. Wabash Ave., within easy walking distance to the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium.

Restaurants

1.     Some of the top names in Korean food are coming to the city. Dave Park and Jennifer Tran operated Hanbun in Westmont until early 2018, and now they’re looking to open Jeong at 1460 W. Chicago Ave. Park offers a modern take on Korean food in a fine-dining space, and Jeong will hold about 40 people.

2. James Beard Award-winning chef Zach Engel’s Israeli restaurant Galit is nothing if not ambitious. Engel will serve up the usual pita and hummus, but he will also feature Midwestern produce to combine the familiar with the foreign against a formal dining background. Galit will open in Lincoln Park at 2429 N. Lincoln Ave.

Residencies

1.   New for the New Eastside, the Vista Tower project is expected to wrap up this year. At 1,191 feet, the tower has 101 floors and at floor 47, there is an outdoor pool, a reservable kitchen and a wine-tasting room.

2.    Nema, at 1200 S. Indiana Ave., will be completed this year. The building will offer 76 floors and 800 units and stands 887 feet tall and the luxury apartments are sure to make a mark on the South Loop.

3.    In Streeterville, the One Bennett Park building at 514 N Peshtigo Court is already open, but on the top floors of the luxury apartments, the work continues. However, the 70-story building will be completed in 2019 after the final condominiums are finished.

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