The South Loop was historically home to vice districts, including the brothels, bars, burlesque theaters, and arcades. Inexpensive residential hotels on Van Buren and State Street made it one of the city’s Skid Rows until the 1970s. One of the largest homeless shelters in the city, the Pacific Garden Mission, was located at State and Balbo from 1923 to 2007, when it moved to 1458 S. Canal St.
Dearborn Station at the south end of Printers Row, is the oldest train station still standing in Chicago; it has been converted to retail and office space. Most of the area south of Congress Parkway between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, excepting Chinatown, is referred to as the South Loop. Perceptions of the southern boundary of the neighborhood have changed as development spread south, and the name is now used as far south as 26th Street. The neighborhood includes former railyards that have been redeveloped as new-town-in-town such as Dearborn Park and Central Station. Former warehouses and factory lofts have been converted to residential buildings, while new townhouses and highrises have been developed on vacant or underused land. A major landowner in the South Loop is Columbia College Chicago, a private school that owns 17 buildings.
South Loop is zoned to the following Chicago Schools: South Loop School and Phillips Academy High School. Jones College Prep High School, which is a selective enrollment prep school drawing students from the entire city, is also located in the South Loop.
Real Estate Options
The South Loop neighborhood offers a perfect balance of high rise living in a calmer, quieter setting where other downtown areas can’t compete. This neighborhood is primarily residential with plenty of nightlife and shopping all within walking distance. It offers seemingly unlimited options for buyers or renters looking for new construction as the South Loop continues to boom with residential growth.