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Logan Square Residents March, Rally Against Skyrocketing Rent Increases

By Evan F. Moore | March 26, 2016 3:34pm | Updated on March 28, 2016 9:47am
 Renters of properties owned by Mark Fishman were told that their rent would go up $600.
Renters of properties owned by Mark Fishman were told that their rent would go up $600.
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DNAinfo/Evan F. Moore

LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square residents, along with concerned citizens from neighboring communities, marched Saturday to voice their concerns about rent increases of up to $600 per month by real estate developer Mark Fishman. 

The march began at Parson's Chicken and Fish, and concluded at Logan Theatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., where a rally was held. The theater is owned by Fishman.

Juan Gutierrez, who has lived in Logan Square for the past 27 years, said longtime residents "can't afford to live here."

"I've seen people move out and people with money moving in," Gutierrez said. "I've seen the rent go from $600 to $1,200, and up to $1,800. We can't afford to live here."

According to Census data complied by Somos Logan Square, Logan Square has lost more than 19,000 people since 2000 due gentrification. Many of those were working-class Latino families. 

Drew Rindfleisch, pastor of San Lucas United Church of Christ, says longtime neighborhood homeowners are also seeing the writing on the wall.

"It's not just renters. It's homeowners' property taxes that are going up," Rindfleisch said. "We're trying to get a tax rebate for these families. A lot of black and brown working-class families have moved out. One of the battle gentrification is to get these families a tax rebate."

Mark Fishman, who owns about 80 properties in Logan Square, told DNAinfo that he is not the villain that his tenants make him out to be.

Fishman, who bought his first building in the neighborhood 26 years ago, argues that he has helped the community thrive by investing in Logan Square long before the neighborhood became a highly desirable place to live.

"I believe the fundamentals of real estate were (and are) as good as it gets: excellent building stock, plentiful green space and transportation," he wrote in an email to DNAinfo Chicago. "I have the same feelings and excitement that I did 26 years ago when I purchased my first building — the boulevard system in Logan Square truly sets it apart from any other area in the city."

Fishman, who has made few comments to the media over the years, said previous ownership had allowed the last two buildings he bought on Milwaukee Avenue to fall into substantial disrepair.

"This reinvestment in Logan Square building stock is important toward the continued growth and vibrancy of our neighborhood, but also speaks to the pride that we take in our community," he said.

Madeleine Doering, a spokeswoman for Fishman, said her response to the protest was that "The Fishman offices are closed for the holiday weekend."

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