Wicker Park may be losing yet another classic neighborhood fixture. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Double Door's landlord filed a complaint with the Cook County Circuit Court on November 3 after the music venue's lease expired on October 31. The landlord is seeking rent payments for November as well as attorney fees.
The landlord's attorney, Bonita L. Stone told the Tribune that they hope Double Door will leave the space at 1572 N Milwaukee Ave "peacefully." Barring that, she said the eviction would be handled in the courts. Double Door's staff did not comment, but did file a motion asking for a change of judge in its case on Thursday.
Despite all the controversy, shows remain listed on the venue's website—The Get Up Kids are slated to play tonight.
This isn't the first time Double Door has faced the boot. Back in 2005, the landlords wrangled the venue into court over problems regarding the lease, but eventually an agreement was reached.
It's worth noting that the neighborhood has changed significantly since Double Door opened in 1994—a time when Chicagoans lovingly referred to the Wicker Park intersection the club occupies as "The Crotch," rather than its current "Six Corners" misnomer. 20 years ago, Wicker Park was devoid of the veritable alphabet soup of kitschy restaurants, bars and boutiques that now line its streets. Developers and investors weren't swarming the neighborhood for property to buy and rehab and rents weren't so high.
Conspicuous in Wicker Park's transformation is the restaurant group that owns the popular neighborhood taco joint Big Star. One Off Hospitality, which also runs Violet Hour and Dove's Luncheonette, has been amassing Wicker Park properties for years now, forming what Eater Chicago dubbed an "empire." The restaurant group's most recent acquisition was the Francesca's Forno space, which is directly adjacent to Double Door. You can bet Double Door's landlords have noticed the new neighbors moving in.
Beyond not paying rent on time, it seems likely that this move by Double Door's landlords is a decision motivated by financial opportunity. If Double Door gets kicked out, the next tenant will be paying a premium for this easily accessible spot in one of the city's hottest neighborhoods.