Emergency injunction filed Tuesday to prevent imminent vendor lockout at Little Village discount mall


Lawyers representing vendors at the Little Village Discount Mall filed an emergency injunction on Tuesday to prevent the imminent lockout of about 40 vendors from the south side of the famous shopping mall on March 26.

Vendors were expected to leave their booths or be locked out, have their merchandise confiscated and moved to offsite storage at their expense by the end of this week. The mall had reached a deal to extend the lease of only one of his two operators. The deal meant closing one side of the shopping center indefinitely, with nearly half of the vendors that make up the discount mall closed by March 26.

But for merchants, there is a glimmer of hope, even if only temporarily. They are currently awaiting an emergency hearing appointment in Cook County Circuit Court on their motion for a temporary injunction.

A complaint filed on Tuesday said sellers could face irreparable damage and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods and goods if they are barred from the mall. .

“[Mall operators]used to profit from collecting rent from these people all along. But now they treat them like licensees with little notice and no relocation costs. We want to get them kicked out,” said Ramsin Canon of Canon Law Group, a lawyer representing mall vendors. “They had the benefit of[having]long-term tenants. But now they don’t want the obligations and responsibilities of long-term tenants.”

A kid who owns a dress shop in the Little Village discount mall on February 14, 2023.

Novak bought the square about three years ago for $17.5 million and had plans for a new shopping center.

“Novak has not commented on the ongoing lawsuit,” a developer spokesperson said in a statement to Tribune regarding the emergency injunction filed on Tuesday.

Vendor at Little Village Mall is a culturally rich place of importance for generations. We sell a wide variety of products, including Latin American musical instruments, handcrafted boots and cowboy hats, Spanish and Latin American music, movies and art, handcrafted jewelry and clothing. Birthdays, proms, coming-of-age ceremonies, christenings, christenings, electronics, household items, snacks, food and more.

“We were seeking a court ruling that the client is the tenant and therefore has all the rights a tenant has under the lease agreement,” Canon said. We wanted to obtain a preliminary injunction to essentially maintain the status quo until the court makes its decision, as it may take some time.”

Canon said his customers should be considered tenants, not weekly licensees as claimed by the operator, and therefore have all the rights a tenant has under the lease agreement. Additionally, the mall operator said it did not allege that the vendors had failed to pay rent or violated the terms of their rental agreements.

“Some of these people have been there for a long time, 30, 20, 15, 10 years. We have made significant investments,” Canon said. “They are clearly lessees and should therefore have the other rights you would have under an Illinois commercial lease, including the right not to be locked out of the property for no reason. included.”

Guitars for sale on a rack at Caesars Music of Illinois inside the Little Village Discount Mall on January 5, 2023.

Today, the West 26th Street business district is the city’s second-highest shopping and tax center, behind Michigan Avenue in downtown, earning it the nickname “Second Magnificent Mile” .

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The plaza at 3115 W. 26th St. houses several businesses alongside a discount mall operated by two leasing companies. The Pilsen Plaza, where he is staying, is owned by Park Kyung-hee, the owner of the hotel. Another, his PK Mall Inc., operates the south side of the mall where vendors set up shop.

Under the new landlord’s proposed rent increase, PK Mall Inc. has a core focus of “offering below-market rents and short-term contracts with little or no credit history” to allow local families. I decided that I could not follow my mission. , many of which are immigrants, to start and build sustainable businesses with minimal risk,” according to a letter sent to merchants in early March.

Aldo. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25, who represents Little Village, said Novak Development worked diligently with vendors and the city government to close successful businesses that have survived the recession and even the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope it can be prevented.

“What’s the rush to shut down?” he said. “There are hundreds of jobs being cut overnight with no alternatives or plans. What[Novak]can do is give them enough time so the city can help them relocate. ”

“I hope the next mayor of the City of Chicago will take action against these kinds of greedy developers,” said Sigcho-Lopez. “This is not economic development. In immigrant communities, displacement has been followed by the exploitation of wealth, which continues to create inequality, unemployment, poverty and violence. It creates economic opportunities.”

Contributed by Laura Rodríguez Presa of the Chicago Tribune.

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Written by Natalia Chi

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