Double Door Settles Lease Dispute

Owners of Chicago’s 500-capacity Double Door avoided going to trial June 9th by agreeing to pay landlords a higher rent. Terms of the settlement also provide for an option to extend the venue’s lease from 2009 to 2014.

Days before the scheduled trial, Double Door co-owner Sean Mulroney told Pollstar that the landlords may have been trying to evict the venue to bring in a national chain willing to pay higher rent.

The club was paying $9 per square foot, or approximately $4,000 a month, the same price it paid in 1994 when it opened. Landlords said the fair market value of the property was about $27 per square foot, according to the landlord’s attorney, Howard Golden.

The original spark that ignited the case, however, was a dispute over the notification that Double Door was required to give to landlords about renewing the club’s lease. Golden said the notice was late; Mulroney, who is also an attorney, argued that he sent it on time.

After two and a half hours of discussions in the Cook County court chambers, the parties came to an agreement. But Mulroney said both sides still aren’t completely satisfied.

“Neither of us are 100 percent happy, but at least we have certainty,” Mulroney said. “In the landlord’s mind, he’s accepting what he feels is below market rent.”

Neither Mulroney nor Golden would confirm what the new rent fee will be, but Golden said the issue could’ve been resolved earlier had the club made an offer sooner. The attorney also dismissed Mulroney’s suggestion that the decision to settle was influenced by a packed courtroom of Double Door supporters.

“It was about money,” Golden told Pollstar.

Mulroney said that between three online petitions – that went up days after the club informed the public about the situation – more than 10,000 signatures were obtained to save the club.

“If you told me 12 years ago (when Double Door opened) that I’d be fighting to stay there until 2014, I’d tell you to shoot me,” Mulroney said. “But it’s a place we really care about and we’re glad to be able to stay.”

Mitchell Peters