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Owner of Vacant Building on Touhy: 'Nobody's Got Money to Open a Business'

By Benjamin Woodard | September 19, 2014 5:39am
 The buildings at 2827-39 W. Touhy Ave. have been vacant for years, officials said.
The buildings at 2827-39 W. Touhy Ave. have been vacant for years, officials said.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

WEST ROGERS PARK — The owner of a series of vacant storefronts on Touhy Avenue shot back at critics who say she refuses to sell or lease her storefronts.

She said Thursday the reason she has no tenants is because the economy can't support small businesses.

"Nobody's got money to open a business," said Virginia Koldon, 71, who's owned the building since 1976. "Things are tough. If the area is not supporting the businesses, they can’t stay there."

Last month, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) encouraged residents to attend Koldon's court hearing regarding building code violations. Silverstein said the extra pressure could help end the vacancies at 2827-39 W. Touhy Ave.

Another hearing is set for 11 a.m. Friday in courtroom 1105 at the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St.

But Koldonk says her building was brought up to code weeks ago and that many of the violations inspectors found were "petty."

"I'm really hurt, I'm really disgusted. ... It’s all political," she said, adding that she's also in the process of selling the building.

Silverstein said Thursday, however, that there was "nothing political" about the inspections or the city's lawsuit.

"We want economic development," she said. "We want to revitalize our communities."

The city's intention is to make the building "rentable," she said.

This building "is close to a block long of continuous vacant stores," she said. "This has been something that the community has also brought to my attention."

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