News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Akira clothing and shoes to open flagship on 53rd Street

The University of Chicago announced today it’s bringing local-based Akira apparel and shoes to 53rd Street in the former Borders building. Akira officials said the Hyde Park site is a prime location for its new flagship store.

“We are delighted to create a unique, flagship store in the heart of Hyde Park to offer women’s clothing and stylish footwear to add to customers’ fashion sense,” said Eric Hsueh, co-owner of Akira. “Our research has shown that many of our current clients drive in from Hyde Park and the surrounding communities to shop with us throughout Chicago. That’s why we believe Akira will bring added value to the neighborhood.”

The grand opening is planned for this fall.

Get the rest of the story here:

Akira owners Eric Hsueh, Erikka Wang, and Jon Cotay (left to right).

Akira in Bucktown location

Clarke's nearing completion

The soon-to-be opened Clarke’s restaurant is in its final stages of construction. The new exterior façade, storefront windows and signage have been added to the 24-hour eatery. In the next few weeks, architectural metal screening will be installed on the brick, which will help complete the new look.

Once the warmer temperatures settle in, the entire glass storefront of Clarke’s will open to the street to complement the outdoor seating.

News about the grand opening is expected next month.

Oktoberfest a Hit

More than 5,000 people packed 53rd Street and Nichols Park during the second annual Celebrate Hyde Park Oktoberfest. Several area food, jewelry, clothing and a host of additional vendors were on hand to greet the crowd and introduce their products to festival visitors.

"We are excited about the continued outpouring of support from the entire community as we continue to strengthen our Celebrate Hyde Park festivals," said Wendy Walker Williams, Executive Director of the South East Chicago Commission. "We are already beginning to prepare for next summer's huge event and welcome input from the community, civic organizations and leaders to help us make our festival series a major destination for the South Side of Chicago."

Celebrate Hyde Park events are a series of festivals that occur throughout the year to showcase the Hyde Park community. The events are designed to bring people of all ages to 53rd Street and Nichols Park to enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, products and food from the many local shops, restaurants and musical talent in the community.

The Celebrate Hyde Park festival series is sponsored by the Hyde Park Vitality Committee, a partnership between the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, the South East Chicago Commission and various other area organizations.

Anyone interested in volunteering for next year’s Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival can call the South East Chicago Commission at 773.324.6926. Ideas to enhance the festival experience are also welcomed.

Work begins on Clarke's 24-hour restaurant

Construction has begun on the home of the soon-to-be Clarke’s restaurant. The building for the new 24-hour eatery, located next to T-Mobile at 1451 E. 53rd St., will have a new façade, signage and storefront glass that opens to the street.

Clarke’s is aiming to open in January 2012. Check back for more updates soon.

Two Days of Free Jazz in Hyde Park

If you love jazz, then the Hyde Park Jazz Festival is designed with you in mind. Now in its 5th year, the fest has expanded to two days on Sept. 24 - 25 and will showcase more than 150 musicians in 13 venues on 15 different stages throughout the neighborhood. For those interested in preferred seating at most indoor venues, Jazz Passes are available for purchase.

On the eve of Saturday Sept. 24, 53rd Street will become the home to two acts at the Hyde Park Bank. Starting at 6 p.m., saxophonist and composer Adam Kinner will perform along with drummer Marc Riordan and bassist Daniel Thatcher. At 7:30 p.m., Diane Ellis and The Jazzy Ladies will take the stage.

Find out more information about the schedule, Jazz Passes and volunteering. A free shuttle bus is also available.

Image courtesy of Michelle Olson, 2008

Harper Court Conference & Job Fair

Harper Court Partners, LLC, the team that is redeveloping Harper Court, is hosting a conference for minority- and women-owned businesses and local contractors next Thursday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

The Harper Court Opportunity Conference, held at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., is free and open to contractors or suppliers interested in opportunities associated with the project. Alderman Will Burns will provide opening remarks at 9:30 a.m.

On Sept. 21, Harper Court Partners, LLC will host a Local Union Job Fair. All attendees must have a union card. The job fair will be held from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the Hyde Park Art Center, with Alderman Burns speaking at 9:30 a.m.

“We encourage minority- and women-owned businesses as well as local contractors, suppliers and union workers to participate in these events,” said Chris Dillion, a partner with Harper Court, LLC. “This is an exciting project that is poised to stimulate economic growth in the Mid-South communities and the South Side of Chicago."



Five Guys Draws Crowd

Hundreds flocked to Five Guys on 53rd Street during its opening day to check out the popular burgers and fries joint.

“I kept watching the progress of the building and began to get really excited,” said Kristena Lucky-Bloom, who hung out in the new seating area with her two-year-old-dog Bella. “It’s absolutely beautiful. My husband and I wanted to come out to get a bite to eat at Five Guys today and we’re glad to actually see the changes taking place in Hyde Park.”

Five Guys Opening This Monday

Save the date for Monday, Sept.  5 when Five Guys will open in Hyde Park. Starting at 11 a.m., hamburger lovers are invited to visit the popular restaurant. The tentative daily hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. seven days a week.

“We are very excited to see this project come full circle as we continue our revitalization efforts along the 53rd Street corridor with key tenants ranging in expertise from food to retail and much more,” said James Hennessy, Director of Commercial Real Estate at the University of Chicago.

Officials said minor touches on other parts of the building, such as completing the awnings and some of the terra cotta work will take place next week, but will not impact Five Guys.


Progress Continues For Five Guys

With new signage and the scaffolding recently removed from the soon-to-be home for the first-ever Five Guys restaurant in Hyde Park, the renovation is nearing completion. Officials said the project scope of the University-owned office and theater buildings at 53rd and Harper Avenue includes façade work, tuck-pointing and a complete interior rehab.

A tentative opening date is scheduled for next month.

Take a look below.

Five Guys

Greenery Available At Harper Court On A First-Come, First-Served Basis

As developers prepare to break ground for the new Harper Court, they are offering some of the plants and bushes on the site to the community, free of charge.

Officials said there are some fairly large bushes on the site that can be removed by a landscaper. John Burke, project manager of The Rise Group, will help coordinate the removal of the plants. The plants are available on a first-come, first-served basis; those interested should contact Burke at 312.848.5413.

Wendy Walker Williams, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, said she’s excited to see a green movement of sorts taking place along 53rd Street. She said several residents have expressed interest in relocating some of the plants to Nichols Park.

“There’s no better place on 53rd Street than Nichols Park to be the new home of the shrubs, flowers and bushes that are currently in Harper Court,” said Williams. “It’s all about being green.”

Harper Court