CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The operators of Chicago’s legendary Double Door rock club have filed a lawsuit, claiming they gave the building’s landlords the required one-year notice to exercise an option to renew their current lease in the Wicker Park neighborhood club.
Double Door operators Andy Barrett, Sean Mulroney and Joe Shanahan are scheduled to appear in Cook County Court today.
Harry and Brian Strauss, the landlords, have made plans to lease the space to a national retail chain, who is might pay more than four times the rent of the rock club, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The venue operators claim that the landlords have declared a “war on culture,” and told the court that, “Chicago’s pre-eminent small music venue will be fighting for its very existence.
Since June of 1994, the Double Door has hosted historic performances by the Smashing Pumpkins, the Rolling Stones and hundreds of other notable acts. It opened in a former biker bar, just as the neighborhood was starting to shed its seedy image.
Due to gentrification, rents in the area have skyrocketed since the club opened.
Mulroney, who is also a practicing attorney, said the fight isn’t really about whether club operators gave legal notice to renew their lease, but about the landlords’ desire to raise the rent for the space from $9 to $38 per square foot, or from approximately $45,000 a month to $190,000 – a price that would make operating the club impossible.
Howard Golden, the landlords’ attorney, would not talk about the specific increase his clients want, but only insisted that the rent was far below the market price.
The rumors of the dispute have been around for months now, but the operators decided to go public recently because they hope Chicago’s music community will support them in court over the next week.
Both told the paper that they are optimistic about success in court, but both said that regardless of the judge’s ruling, Double Door isn’t likely to close soon.
If the venue operators win their case, the lease will be extended for four more years with modest increases in rent, Golden said. If the landlords win, Mulroney promises to appeal, and he told the paper that process could drag on for as long as three years. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers