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Thu, Jan 30, 2014

Added Jan 24 2014

Dear Friends and Allies,

Logan Square is under attack. Developers like Mark Fishman are scurrying to buy up as much of the neighborhood possible, and working families, students, and small businesses are paying the price.

At buildings like 2635 N. Sawyer (50 units), Fishman has terminated the leases of many tenants outright, while offering others "lease renewals" for 250 dollars more per month.

At 3335 W. Diversey, all 4 small business renting space were evicted, and the 90 residential households have all been threatened with rent increases in the hundreds of dollars.

Fishman, a Deerfield resident, actually set up a local arts non-profit called "I am Logan Square" in 2010.

Try to imagine the cynicism and chauvinism required to establish yourself as representative of a community you don't even live in, as you evict thousands of the people who have called it home for decades.

Please join us for two upcoming events filled with fun, fight, and community building:

Thursday January 30th, 4:00-5:30 PM: Picket! Join us for a rowdy celebration of everyone's right to co-exist in front of Fishman's Office, 3215 W. Fullerton.

Thanks so much for your support,

Noah, with the 2536 N. Sawyer Tenants Organization

  • Victor Perez small business owner

    Thanks Rachel A for fighting for our community

  • Hi Rachel. Everybody has a right to protest but I just want to clarify one thing that keeps getting pulled into this discussion regarding the building on Sawyer. Mark Fishman is board member of I Am Logan Square along with several other people (including myself) from the community. Mark along with several other people from the community started the organization in 2010. The name originally stood for "Independent Artists and Merchants of Logan Square" but when we applied for non-profit tax status we decided to drop "merchants" from the name. I understand that given the situation on Sawyer the name is an incendiary opening, but I Am Logan Square does a lot of valuable work in the community. If you have any other questions regarding the organization please feel free to contact me. All the best.

  • You don't have a right to under-market rent.
    It's wonderful when you can find it, but it doesn't last forever.

  • Nimptsch3 Lawrence & Clark

    I don't know--my neighbor from the building on Sawyer said they're doubling his rent, and he wasn't exaggerating. Maybe no one has asked him how much they're raising his rent because he doesn't speak English.

    It really means nothing that they do work in the community. It's PR; everyone does that. Wal-Mart does that.

  • Allison L. Logan Square Resident

    I just looked at one of these apartments and for sure, they are overpriced and the common areas are pretty lackluster, did not look like the kind of building I would want to live in for that price. I found another similar studio and it was in better shape, a better location and building but still the same price. The secret is out—Logan Square was voted one of the best neighborhoods in the country:

    I'm as liberal as they come and of course, there may be ways Fishman could do this in a smoother, more respectful manner, I'm not saying they are without fault. But, to expect that no one with financial resources looking to take advantage of a gentrifying neighborhood and make a profit will show up in a place like Logan Square, is a bit naive. Rent prices will increase, properties will be bought, and people who can't afford it any longer will have to leave. It happens everywhere. Neighborhoods change.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't keep the pressure on them and ask questions and encourage more responsible building ownership but I think it's time to recognize that things are just not going to stay the same. Though the I am Logan Square tidbit is a bit insidious. *shivers*

    I assume you are talking to local government and focusing on legal ways to improve the situation in the future? Or are there actual laws that Fishman is breaking? Just citing injustice will only do so much when there are no concrete solutions or laws involved. An honest question!

  • Blaise Game Developer and Graphic Designer

    So happy to see this on here! My family and I will be at the picket with you on Thursday.

  • Buster

    Not to play devils advocate, but what differentiates Fishman from, say, C.B. Richard Ellis, a company that owns many downtown office buildings. They charge what the market will bear. Should business owners protest if they think the rents are climbing too high? It's capitalism. Is he accused of some sort of illegal rent hikes? What hikes should be allowed by land owners? Should we cap how much profit land owners can make in logan? Why can't he establish an organization in the neighborhood, since he owns quite a lot of it? Is the goal to guilt him into accepting lower profits on his property or to enact legislation curbing the profit landowners can reap? I appreciate people wanting affordable housing, but what is possible in terms of forcing private land-owners' hands? He's obviously trying to make the neighborhood more desirable, and his renovation of the logan theater and investment in buildings and restaurants certainly has that effect. Just curious what people are hoping he will do in the face of protests. And, hypothetically speaking, if you protestors were homeowners and had to sell your homes at some point, would you, honestly, in those shoes, sell lower than market value to keep home ownership affordable, or would you seek the highest profit?

  • Nimptsch3 Lawrence & Clark

    "Buster", it's about corruption and profiteering. You ARE playing devil's advocate. I could justify anything that way--why should we blame dictators for taking over countries? They had a great opportunity and they seized it! Wouldn't we all? Can we blame them? Why should I be angry with a company for secretly thinning down their product with water in order to make a bigger profit? "It's capitalism"! As you say. It's an absurd argument to anyone who doesn't want to live in an anarchist society.

  • Fischman has been a known douchenozzle of a landlord for a long time in Logan. No one should be surprised at this.

  • Buster

    "Nimptsch3", I'm not saying I agree with anything Fishman does (other than his restoration of a neglected theater and starting one of my favorite restaurants on a neglected corner, and starting an arts organization that does neat things). I'm legitimately asking what the desired result is with a protest. If it's to better conditions where there is neglect, I get that. If it's to convince Fishman not to up rents to the max that the market will bear, I get that too. Is it both? And if the goal is to ask him not to charge what the market will bear... I could see that as being a challenge when you're talking about a business that revolves around charging the max the market will bear. I've had awful landlords in Chicago over the years... My rents been jacked up... I've lived in neglected apartments. So I understand. I'm just trying to get a handle on exactly what he's doing that's illegal. If it's work without a permit, that should be fixed. If it's illegal evictions, that should be fixed. If it's rent hikes that are hard to swallow, I get that too... But I'm curious what can be done if they're not illegal, other than appeal to his compassion.

  • Buster

    Checking his permits with the city, looks like he's pretty much got permits to redo everything in the apartments on Sawyer, new flooring, electric fixtures, cabinets, tile throughout, regulazing bathtubs, paint, etc. Did he recently buy the building, or has he kept rents consistent up until now with the major renovation?

  • Eventually everyone is priced out. Enjoy it while you can. The Empty Nester's with cash to burn will flock to the area and the Students/Hipsters will find themselves out in the cold.Its the cycle of life. The artist move in and prove that it is safe then come the monied trust fund hipster/student the urban professional with sidewalk wide prams follow a few Bro's and then their Parents. Go West young man/woman. If you can buy.

  • The building was in a state of neglect. Fishman bought within the last six months.

    The previous owner was charging under market rent.
    The state of neglect is the fault of previous management, not Fishman.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    This is a very common problem in evolving neighborhoods. Crime, aging property, and shifting market preferences keep some very desirable areas below market for great lengths of time. Their prime location brings in lower income families, the artists, etc. The market shifts focus back into that area and the developers swoop in to renovate property and sell or rent it for whatever they can. This is not a crime. This is not comparable to a coup de tat, as some would say. I'm not speaking of this specific developer, just development in general. There are crooks in every field and all areas of the world. It's to be expected in any situation. All developers cannot be held responsible for them. Development is necessary and easily justifiable. Buying a piece of land is done with the knowledge that you must always be able to keep up with the property taxes. Renters do not have the right to live any where they chose. Some places will always be out of their budget.

  • Farid R Verbal Jujitsu

    Wait, so if I manage to get financing to buy a multifamily building and actually close the deal so it belongs to me/my company I should not be able to charge whatever rent I want to? Fishman could be the biggest douchebag in the world but if that property belongs to him he can do whatever he pleases with it.

  • Sighryn Roscoe resident

    It is happening in other areas as well. I just moved a friend out of a building in EdgeWater. Horizon Realty evicted the whole building.

  • Unless you purchase you are fighting a loosing battle. Rents are based on demand and Logan Square is in demand.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    Evicted an entire building? That isn't very likely. If the people in the building you are referring to had leases they could not have simply been told to leave. The courts will not allow that. Courts allow eviction only if you are behind on your rent or have violated your leasing agreement. If they didn't have a lease they really didn't have the rights to stay at the building beyond a 30 day notice to vacate. That being said, 30 days is a really short amount of time to go and find a new place. I wouldn't call that a really compassionate move. But did this entire building have month-to-month leases? Something doesn't sound right about your story.

  • Sighryn Roscoe resident

    The tenants in the building I am referring to all got a 30 day notice to move. Some were on month to month some have leases ending in June. It happens all the time in this city legal or not. It happened to me 10 years ago. I was in the building 8 months then we all got a notice that the building was sold so we all had to move. I still had another 4 months left on my lease. It was my favorite apartment in my 15 years and 4 apartments in chicago.

  • Donny Kerabotsos 30 year RP resident...

    I would advise you, or anyone else who this has happened to, seek the help of a lawyer. There are many subsidized tenant-law specialists in this city. There are very few circumstances in which your landlord can break your lease.

  • Mark Fishman is no ordinary property owner. In order to make Logan Square a more vibrant and diverse community, he received LOT of tax dollars, including Tiff funds for various projects. Logan Square is a pretty politically progressive community full of community activists. Based upon this, we dumped a machine alderman and elected a non machine Alderman. I think our community, including homeowners such as myself would have staged a revolt against Fishman receiving funds these funds had we known that it was his plan to use our tax dollars to increase his wealth and become such a ruthless and miserly curmudgeon to students, poor, and working class people, in our community whom we cherish as we do those move her for the restaurants, bars,the Bloomingdale Trail, etc.

  • Allison L. Logan Square Resident

    Okay, finally some concrete information. Are there stipulations on how they use the tax money they received? What are the local laws in place that prevent misuse? Is this "non-machine" alderman going to be at the rally? What about tenant rights lawyers? What is the end game, where is this going? New laws, etc.??? I hear all this loud and clear, but when I see a notice to just go picket something I don't want to go unless I see a clear agenda and know who will be there. You may have that but it would be great to see it written loud in clear on a place like EveryBlock. Just my honest assessment, thanks!

  • RubyRed Dancer, Drummer, Cyclist

    It sucks that Fischman owns so much property in Logan Square. It's actually why I ended up not moving there. I found an apartment rented by a real individual instead of an agency. For me, the priority was on dealing with a person, not an answering service or a website when I have a problem with my apartment. I'm not saying everyone has the luxury of making that choice, but rental agencies treat you like a number, which you are to them, so I deprioritize them when looking for a place to live.

  • Jerry Cargill Photographer, Teacher, Live on Milwaukee Ave.

    I'd say that if someone doubles your rent, it's about as effective as an eviction, in fact more effective that an eviction. As far as an actual eviction, you can't evict someone during the winter months, and you have to go to court to get the process going. Doubling rent is quicker and cleaner. If you have no soul, and money is your god, why not just keep it simple?

  • I've found these write-ups to be useful in hearing voices from the bigger picture of this topic:,0,4601577,full.story

    I also report on crime & politics for LoganSquarist, and from those who I've talked to, this is what tenants are saying:


    I invite all to move into Humboldt Park before it's to late. There are many homes priced at reasonable prices but not for long. Become a property owner in Humboldt Park and never worry about rent increases again. I have seen two bedroom condos starting in the 80K's and they are selling quickly.

  • Erin, Victor Montanez was one the individuals that I was referring to who was there at the founding of I AM Logan Square. When he was not given the amount control that he wanted over the some of our arts programming, he decided to part ways with the organization. The "write-up" that you are referring people to is nothing more than a Facebook post.

    I will always be thankful that I live in a neighborhood of such passionate and opinionated individuals. I believe that everyone has the right to protest when they fit to do so, but I wish people would stop drawing I Am Logan Square into this discussion regarding Sawyer. Your headline on Logansquarist even refers to IALS. I understand that it is a convenient metaphor but it is not relevant in this situation. If you would like any additional details on the real work I Am Logan Square does in the community, I would happy to meet with you in person later this week. I believe we have each other's email.

  • I can't blame Fishman for anything - neighborhoods change, and he just happens to be one of the winners here in LS. If it wasn't him, it would be someone else. As a current renter, I personally don't care much for his company since, last time I looked, they didn't allow any dogs over 40 lbs. in their units.

    At any rate, he just donated $1500 to Joe Moreno exactly 1.5 months ago...and my guess is that it won't be the last time...

  • Jennifer Bridgeport to Bucktown and some places in between

    Our building was sold and the leases terminated. The new landlord said it was legit due to a clause in the lease regarding building sale. And yep, the new landlord is doubling the rent IF we want to stay.

    The point is not that they CAN do it. It's how they go about doing it. He's forcing all of us to move during the worst winter in over 30 years.

  • I doubt they knew the winter was going to be this bad, however it's better to get them out quicker, the less revenge damage the tenates will do.. :)

  • Jennifer Bridgeport to Bucktown and some places in between

    I just asked him to delay until the end of March. But he said "people do it all the time!!!" He had no compassion.

  • Jena

    Gotta love that the guy started (so I have read, at least) "I Am Logan Square' yet lives in Deerfield and prices people as though they live in the North Shore. I've seen my fair share of Fishman apartments and while they're nice enough, they're insanely high cost. $950 for a *studio* plus a $300 non-refundable pet fee PLUS $50 a month extra for a small dog/cat PLUS utilities? Who can afford that?

  • Farid R Verbal Jujitsu

    @Jena - but you are not forced to live in one of his buildings. One of the reasons people move out of neighborhoods is the cost of living. If it is too high you move to a more affordable place. If a company owns a building they absolutely have the right to charge rent as they see fit. If they want to charge higher rents then it is up to the market to decide if the rents are high and the market can vote with their dollars and not lease from this company. If enough people do this then they will lower rents, no building owner wants his building unoccupied for long.

  • Buster

    Deerfield! Disband the "I am Logan Square" organization immediately. We cannot afford to allow outsiders to sponsor art in our community! We can, and must, only support organizations if their founders live in Logan Square proper. Urgent update: I just heard that the farmers at our farmers’ market don’t grow the produce in Logan Square! And that the Boys and Girls Club is a national organization. Close the gates. Close the doors! We can do better on our own.

  • Like someone up-thread said, he's allowed to do what he's doing, but that doesn't mean he should, and that doesn't mean it's what's best for this community. i was priced out of my last place and i hope it doesn't happen again, but this kind of action by a monopolist like fishman makes it seem inevitable. what "the market will bare" will push Logan ever closer to the gentrified monotony of Wicker and Old Town and every other neighborhood that has lost its character, and i think that's damned depressing.

  • Avondaler noisy neighbor

    Fishman isn't a monopolist, he just happens to own a number of investment properties that are in very high profile locations in the square - which may give you the false impression that he owns everything in Logan. There are plenty of other landlords and management groups who have buildings you can live in, some with reasonable rents and some not so much. There are plenty of options in blame Fishman & his 20+ buildings for singlehandedly ushering in the gentrification apocalypse is alarmist and silly. If you are really worried about this, you should probably set out for Fishman-free neighborhoods - or maybe not, because other investors are buying up properties in those neighborhoods, too. People who will also charge what the market will bear, whatever that is.

  • Buster

    ...and the comments (especially those in the "press") lambasting the man for living in Deerfield show extreme naïveté. I have property owners on my block that don't even reside in this country. I'd take Fishman, who actually maintains an office and works in our neighborhood, over them any day.

  • Sheesh, I am so sick of hearing about "what the market will bear." It's not a sacrosanct principle of how life should be. Especially when you receive TIF dollars or some other form of government subsidy (corporations are especially good at this) or are a near monopoly anyway (telephone companies, gas companies, electric companies). Everyone knows the guy is a scumlord looking to bloodsuck a population for as much as he can. If that's how the market works, you can have it back. Here are some reviews of his landlord scumness, one good review of 7

    Also her is the facebook event page, forgot to include it in the original post\

  • Buster

    It may not be a sacrosanct principle of how life should be, but it is an economic system pretty popular in our country, characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Also, take a look at reviews on yelp for the homestead group, capstone property management, Wilmont properties, connected property management, etc. I don't think producing negative online review is difficult to come by when trying to disparage an apartment management company. I know capitalism can suck sometimes, but it's why we pay what we do for pretty much anything we consume. Owning large properties that you walk by makes fishman an obvious target, but you could make the same accusations against the people that sell milk. Are they bloodsucking scum for making the margins they do on dairy?

  • Jena

    God help me if I ever become the sort of person who says "Eh, everyone does it, who cares?" M Fishman is a slumlord, you don't have to defend him:

    If he charged a lot but provided a good service, no one would complain.

  • Anyone who sites Yelp as a source in a discussion is immediately discredited.

  • Nimptsch3 Lawrence & Clark

    ha, anyone who misspells "cites" in a discussion is immediately discredited. I don't see how EveryBlock is so different from Yelp

  • Nimptsch3 Lawrence & Clark

    PS I reported you as "unneighborly" for picking on Jena, k? Feel free to report me as unneighborly, too! Or just don't pick on people.

  • Farid R Verbal Jujitsu

    Fishman could be the very definition of scumbag, but he owns the building and he has the right to do whatever he pleases with his property. Another way to look at it - imagine one of your great aunt dies and leaves you a lot of money and you decide to buy some real estate. Now you put in some more money, upgrade it a little bit, add some security system, new carpets, new furnace etc. You obviously will not charge the same rent the previous owner was charging. You would also want to protect your property by charging non refundable deposits, pet deposits etc.

  • @Buster: well spoken.

    Re: Yelp, I heard a wise person say "don't believe everything you read on the internet. "

    @Jena, "If he charged a lot but provided a good service, no one would complain." Do you really believe human beings act like that? I hope I'm not being un-neighborly but that's kind of a naïve thing to say.

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This was posted to 3215 W Fullerton Ave.

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