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Embattled Morseland Bar Will Soon Be Demolished, Alderman Says

By Linze Rice | March 11, 2016 5:35am
 The old Morseland bar at 1218-20 W. Morse Ave. will be demolished soon, Ald. Joe Moore said, but no date has been set yet.
The old Morseland bar at 1218-20 W. Morse Ave. will be demolished soon, Ald. Joe Moore said, but no date has been set yet.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

ROGERS PARK — The former Morseland bar is set to come down soon, after years of building code violation battles and unsuccessful attempts to find new tenants.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said the building at 1218-20 W. Morse Ave. will be torn down because it had become too costly for the owner to get up to code. He did not say when it was due to come down.

On Wednesday, construction crews were making preparations at the site and scaffolding could be seen.

As of Thursday, a demolition permit had been applied for, but not yet granted by the city.

The Morseland was closed by the city in November 2012 after owner Gregory Altman operated the bar and music venue without a license, according to officials. Property records showed at the time Altman owed the state more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes.

Police issued the Morseland several tickets in 2012 for operating without proper city licenses, according to police reports.

In May 2013, the foreclosed building went up for sale, and in March 2014 the building was sold for $605,500 to 1218 Morse LLC, who lists Rob Rowe, president of Sierra U.S. Commercial Real Estate in Chicago as its agent. Sierra then managed the property while looking for a tenant.

A building permit was issued for the property in October 2014 for workers to "remove kitchen and all piping" and "replace 110 sheets of drywall," according to city records.

By February 2015, still uninhabited, the city had put a lien on the property for $2,240, of which $1,200 came from trash build-up that caused potential rat nests, $500 in rat abatement, and $500 to remove the garbage.

In July, Rowe settled with the city for $560 and agreed to keep the property vacant and unrented, as well as promised to get the building up to city code by Jan. 11 or face $500-per-day fines until corrected.

David Gassman, former owner of Boystown nightclub Spin, earlier bought the parking lot adjacent to The Morseland and also owns a few nearby residential buildings, according to property records.

At the time, his broker said Gassman intended to use the parking spaces and several garages on the lot for his tenants.

Owners could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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