Retail is the new kid on the block in the West Loop

By Kristen Vake

Best known for its award-winning restaurants like Girl and the Goat and Au Cheval, the West Loop is now attracting retail businesses.

Tom Gavin and Lauren McGrady recently opened a lifestyle store called Rider, located under the train tracks on Lake Street in the West Loop.

“We’re filling a void that’s not here,” said McGrady. “A lot of people don’t have an outlet for clothing or gift items without traveling outside of the neighborhood or going to a place like Target.”

[vimeo 158112624 w=474]

In the last year, the neighborhood has gained a handful of retailers including Maria Pinto, Billy Reid and Kit + Ace.

Martha Goldstein is the Former Director of the West Loop Community Organization and is now a consultant at MG Consulting. She said at one point the West Loop didn’t even have a grocery store.

“The plan is definitely more retail to cater to the businesses that are moving in, to cater to the hotels,” said Goldstein. “So people will come here and make this more of a destination and that’s not what this neighborhood is right now…people come here to eat and they leave.”

The most recent proposals for the booming neighborhood include a rental tower, boutique hotel and condo development. These projects will go before the Chicago Plan Commission next week.

Photo at top: New retail boutique Rider opens in West Loop neighborhood. (Kristen Vake/Medill)