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Marty’s Bar Patrons Evacuated After Facade Crumbles

MartysAs usual, Marty’s Martini bar was packed on Memorial Day. Everyone was enjoying their holiday off from work and sipping their cocktails, when suddenly there was a loud BOOM that came from outside the front of the building. Bricks and debris fell from the top of the building with a loud thunder-like crash and patrons were evacuated out of the back of the building immediately. A huge chunk of bricks fell from the parapet of the second floor of the building on the south west corner of Clark and Balmoral. Luckily there were no major injuries, although one man was struck with a few falling rocks, just outside of Huey’s Hotdogs. The block in between Ashland and Clark, on Balmoral, is currently blocked off and closed, hopefully just for a few days, until all of the falling bricks can be safely removed. Marty’s Martini Bar will remain open for business, but until further notice, patrons must enter through the rear of the building.

The building has had a number of issues with a deteriorating facade over the years and is managed by Lakeview Property Rentals LLC. Co-owner and property manager Liz Finan explained that they “have spent the last several months working with tenants upstairs and business owners on the first floor, to make sure everyone is supported while the over-due renovations were made. After this last winter the need to fix the structure of the building became urgent.”

The original permits to begin rehabbing the property were permitted by the city in March 2014. By the spring, the wall in the center of the Balmoral facing side, was leaning about 18 inches out from the rest of the building. While some tenants were accommodating, others didn’t want to collaborate and it created major delays on the timeline to get the building restored.

Just a week ago, the city of Chicago placed a vacate order on Wednesday, May 21, due to the deteriorating condition of the building. After repeated requests from the landlords, the city inspectors had to come in and ask Huey’s Hotdogs and T Mobile to close the front of their businesses while the renovation took place. While the second floor apartments had been empty for the last few months, the businesses that had the most urgent need of repairs stayed open on the first floor. Had the renovations taken place when they were intended to, the falling debris might not have happened.

Owner of Marty’s Martini Bar, Marty Rogo has been working hand-in-hand with the new property owners to make sure things move along smoothly, but that doesn’t mean that the rehabbing of the building doesn’t come without it’s set of challenges. There will be some setbacks with having the front not open, but he feels the new property managers have been great to work with, “I’m blown away by the commitment that our new landlords have shown to us and Andersonville. They appreciate the diversity the neighborhood offers as well as support for local independent businesses. We could not have asked for better owners of this building.” He has been able to do some of his own up-keep of his space and because of that Marty’s has been able to stay open through the construction. Patrons take note: Again, to access Marty’s enter through the back in the parking lot to get in the bar.

Lakeview Property Rentals wants to restore and rehab the building and units located on the southwest corner of Clark and Balmoral to make it the pinnacle of Andersonville. The company has already invested in the neighborhood with several different projects including, a rehabbed 3 flat on Olive, a restored 48 unit building at 4228 N Kenmore, among several others on the north side.

While the original plan was to have the construction done by October, it appears as though it will take until the spring of 2015. The building located at 5358 N Clark will have high-end apartments upstairs on the second floor with four 2-bedroom apartments, including outdoor balcony space. When it is all said and done they will have invested over 1million dollars in the building. They are committed to local and independent businesses in the neighborhood because that is what they are and that is who they want to support.


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