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Double Door Eviction Case Still in Limbo, 'Pretrial' Talks Continued

By Alisa Hauser | May 12, 2016 2:58pm | Updated on May 12, 2016 5:08pm
 The Double Door has been a Wicker Park staple since 1994.
The Double Door has been a Wicker Park staple since 1994.
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Facebook/Double Door

DOWNTOWN — Both sides of an eviction case involving the Double Door music club met for almost two hours Thursday but no settlement was announced.

The venue and the building's owner met with a judge behind closed doors during what was described as a "pretrial" talk.

The discussion was continued until Friday afternoon. If the matter is not resolved, the case will go to a trial on Wednesday.

Cook County Circuit Judge Orville Hambright, Jr. has presided over the long-drawn-out fight over months of court appearances that have tried his patience.

The building owner had said that under the rental agreement, Double Door had needed to give 180 days notice if the club was going to renew its lease, which expired on Oct. 31, 2015.

Club owner Sean Mulroney had said he submitted a single-page letter dated April 24, 2015 stating he was exercising an option to extend his current lease for three years. Mulroney had claimed that the letter asking for a lease extension was in an envelope attached to his May 2015 rent payment.

Brian Strauss, the owner of the building at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., had said he never saw any such letter. A legal complaint was filed on Nov. 3 asking for a judge to order the eviction.

Mulroney's lawyer has since confirmed that the letter was not sent by certified mail, as required in the lease, making the argument no longer a valid point.

Since the lease expired, Strauss had refused to accept rent but had been accepting "use and occupancy" payments of about $20,000 monthly from the club. Double Door, which has played host to wide-ranging acts including the Rolling Stones, Rise Against and Sonic Youth, continued to present acts.

Prior to Thursday, Mulroney said "money is the main issue" that was being negotiated.

Mulroney also said that less than two years ago he spent about $80,000 to repair the club's stairs and basement prior to the opening of Door Number 3, a lower level club for events.

Currently, the club's first floor and basement are listed for rent, according to a commercial real estate listing, which is asking $90 per square foot for the 5,000 square-foot first floor, and $20 per-square-foot for the 5,000 square-foot basement.

That would put the asking monthly rent for the first floor at $37,500 and the basement rent at $8,333.

The rental listings come after an offer from Speedwagon Properties to buy the mixed-use, 113-year-old building that houses Double Door and 11 upstairs apartments fell through. The purchase agreement was struck on Dec. 23, 2015, and was canceled on Jan. 26, county records show.

In January, Joe Shanahan, who is co-owner of Double Door and the Metro, told Tribune rock critic Greg Kot, "We've done the Rolling Stones, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Flaming Lips, Greg Dulli and so many important artists there. It supports the community. We want to stay."

Double Door opened in June 1994.

Related coverage:

Double Door Lawyer 'Hopeful' Club Stays As Case Heads to Trial (April 12)

Double Door Eviction Delayed as Court Fight Continues (Jan. 27)

Double Door Eviction Fight: Music to Continue as Case Drags On (Jan. 8)

Double Door Building Sale to Downtown Investors Underway, Records Show (Jan. 5)

Double Door's Landlord Could be Close to Selling Iconic Club's Building (Dec. 17, 2015)

Lawyer in Double Door Eviction Case: 'Time for Them to Go' (Dec. 10, 2015)

Double Door Liquors, Iconic Wicker Park Music Venue, Facing Eviction (Dec. 3, 2015)

Vintage Bass Guitar Missing After Double Door Owner Plays Diabetes Benefit (June 19, 2015)

Friends Rally to Help Double Door Worker Facing $46,000 on Medical Bills (Dec. 5, 2014)

Double Door to open Third Entrance For First Time (July 10, 2013)

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