Wicker Park is a 'Young SoHo' Explains Active NY Investor
WICKER PARK — Music lovers and hipsters can breathe a sigh of relief.
Joseph Dushey, 26, vice president of leasing and acquisitions at New York-based Jenel Management Corporation, said the building was "very well kept by the previous owners, with good tenants and a great location. We have no plans to make any changes."
"When I see something's good [for the neighborhood] I keep it. When I feel something's not as good, I change it. I add and change things for the better," he said.
Jenel Management Corp. is owned by Joseph Dushey's father, Jack Dushey.
According to records filed with the Cook County recorder of deeds, the 10,000 square-foot two-story building that houses Reckless Records and Rodan Lounge and six offices was sold Jan. 6 to a company created by the Dushey family's investment firm for $1,373,500.
In August, Crain's Chicago Real Estate Daily reported that Jenel Management Corp. had been snapping up properties with ground floor retail space in Bucktown, particularly on the 1600 block of N. Damen Avenue.
Managing the day-to-day operations for the Dusheys at the Reckless building is local developer Steve Lipe, who also partnered with Jenel Management on the Native Foods development at 1484 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Dushey said he sees Wicker Park as "a young SoHo," referencing the Lower Manhatten neighborhood in New York City known for artistic and eclectic boutiques.
Not everyone is jazzed about Jenel Management Corp's recent entry into the neighborhood.
Ken Lubinski, a third-generation owner of Lubinski Furniture at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. said he's been approached by investors on a near weekly basis who are "anxious to buy Wicker Park's commercial and mixed-used buildings."
Referring to independent building owners as "quickly going the way of the dinosaur," Lubinski said the scenario usually involves investors coming in, purchasing properties and re-renting them at rates which are "not cost effective for independent operated businesses."
"Large corporate chains can afford to pay the higher rents, so this means smaller businesses, typically owned by people who also live here too, are forced to leave our beloved area," Lubinski said.
Norm Levin, owner of Sewing Gold at 1511 N. Milwaukee Ave. said he was approached by Joseph Dushey in October and was asked if he would be willing to sell his building, which has been in his family since 1935.
"We're not going anywhere. If we do anything we might rent out our building but we are not for sale," Levin said.
Reached by phone, Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, said he chose to expand his brand to Wicker Park because "I love the area, it's an interesting place and it's become better over time."