Community

Arcade Building Sold, Business Owners Forced Out

Julie Whitehair | The PHOENIXThe Woodruff Arcade Building has been at the intersection of Broadway Street and Sheridan Road since the 1920s.

The Woodruff Arcade Building, adjacent to Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus and home to several businesses, has a new owner and new plans for the future. But the transfer of ownership has left some tenants confused and disappointed.

Former owner Michael Keller sold the building, located at the corner of Broadway Street and Sheridan Road. Keller signed a notice Dec. 29 telling tenants their lease had been transferred to Algonquin Venture Real Estate, LLC.

Keller confirmed to The PHOENIX that he had sold the building. He said he had been there for more than 40 years but declined to comment further.

Tammie Mann, a co-owner of The Coffee Shop, opened her business in the Arcade Building in 2011. Six years later, she said she received notice from the new owners in early January that all the tenants have about a year to vacate the building.

Mann said she and the other owners, her husband Richard and daughter Rachelle, are planning to close The Coffee Shop over the summer.

“I don’t know what we’re gonna do now,” Mann said. “Now we have all of [this] equipment … And it’s like, ‘Wow. Where are you gonna put a pie case?’ It’s not like you’re gonna take a pie case home. And it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I love that pie case. I spent like $8,000 for that pie case, it’s probably worth 40 cents.’”

Mann said Derhyl Randle, who she said is the building manager, and an Algonquin representative told her the building is set to be torn down to build residential apartments with retail space on the first floor. However, Dan Luna, Chief of Staff of the alderman’s office (48th), said the alderman has not yet received any plans for the building.

A representative from Algonquin Venture Real Estate LLC, the new owner of the building, declined to comment. Mann said she was also unable to reach the new owner to discuss negotiating her rent, which she believes should be lowered until her lease is up.

Mann said she has loved her time spent with Loyola students, which makes shutting down the business even more difficult.

“When I left my business career and opened this, I for sure thought this was where I would finish out my work life,” Mann said. “It never occurred to me that I would be having to make … another career decision.”

The Arcade Building is nearly 100 years old, according to the Edgewater Historical Society, and is considered a shopping arcade — a covered passage with multiple shops inside. The building opened in 1923, according to the society website, which also labels the building a “Category C” historic site. Sites designated in the “C” class are “historically and architectural (sic) unique in Edgewater.”

The impending closure of the building will displace multiple businesses — many of which are local and have been housed there for several years. Along with The Coffee Shop, the businesses include, The Mustard Seed Christian Bookstore, Halsey Onstage Costume Design and Planned Parenthood.

The Mustard Seed has held space in the Arcade Building since 1978, according to owner Phil Bujnowski. He started his business in 1975 by selling books out of his car, he said.

He said he wasn’t surprised when the building got a new owner because Keller had hinted he would soon sell. Bujnowski said he’s going to take the next 11 months to think about whether he wants to relocate or close up shop in face of competition from online retailers such as Amazon.

“Whether it’s time to let go, I’m not sure yet,” Bujnowski said.

The Planned Parenthood located in the building is the only one in an 8-mile radius. The location provides various services, such as birth control, cancer screenings and sexually transmitted disease/infection testing. A manager of the Rogers Park Planned Parenthood said the clinic would be relocating but did not say where.

Julie Lynn, manager of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said the Rogers Park location had more than 6,000 visits in fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017).

Efforts to reach Randle have been unsuccessful.