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Wicker Park Vintage Store Victim of High Rent, Owner Says

By Alisa Hauser | April 8, 2013 10:18am

WICKER PARK — After 14 years in Wicker Park, the owner of a large storefront specializing in vintage housewares, furniture and clothing is calling it quits just nine months after a rebranding.

The "rent increase this time around was just too much to bear," Ana Camino said.

Camino owned Lenny & Me, a vintage store at 1459 N. Milwaukee Ave. which rebranded in August to Caza the Spanish word for "to hunt."

Items at Caza will be marked 50 to 75 percent off through the end of April, Camino said.

Sale hours are 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Broker Joe Padorr from Seneca Real Estate Advisors said he believes he will secure a new tenant in the space soon.

"Outside of furniture stores that have been around for a long time, it's one of the largest storefronts on Milwaukee. There's no other available space that big and a lot of retailers want to get on the street,"  Padorr said.

"Several tenants" have shown interest in renting the storefront, from retail to medical offices and restaurants and bars, according to Padorr.

Padorr declined to comment on the rent at Caza, which is about one block south of the Milwaukee-Damen-North intersection, but said, "In general rents have gone up and slowly the rents will continue to increase going south on Milwaukee Ave. to Wood and Wolcott."

Though an online listing describes the property at 1459 N. Milwaukee Ave as being 6,000 square feet, Padorr said it's more like 4,500 to 4,700 square feet with a full basement.

When asked if he plans to rent to an independently-owned local retailer or a national brand, Padorr said, "In Wicker Park there is a great place for a locally owned and operated boutique and the right type of national brand. There needs to be a nice healthy mix. Nothing that you'd find in a suburban shopping mall."

Padorr added: "If the street turns into Woodfield Mall tomorrow that would be a bad thing...  If I had to guess some sort of apparel user [will rent the space], whether local or national that remains to be seen."

In addition to serving as a broker for the 1459 N. Milwaukee space, Padorr said that Seneca Real Estate Advisors brought national retailers Levis (1552 N. Milwaukee Ave) and Lenscrafters (1538 N. Milwaukee Ave.) to Wicker Park as well as EsKell, an independently-owned boutique at 1509 N. Milwaukee Ave.