Future up in the air for 50 vendors in Little Village Discount Mall who are poised to be kicked out
CHICAGO (CBS) -- The future for vendors in Little Village is in flux.
Many who have called the Discount Mall home for decades may soon get kicked out for good. But as CBS 2's Marissa Perlman reported Friday night, the local alderman is hoping to get them a new place to do business.
"Ever since I was really little, this is probably one of the first places I came to," said Eduardo Lopez Gutierrez.
Lopez Gutierrez grew up inside the Little Village Discount Mall, at 3115 W. 26th St. Now, he is worried what could happen to his parents' longtime business – and the community that comes together inside the walls of the mall.
"You take away the heart of Little Village," he said. "It would take a big hit on the community."
Lopez Gutierrez's parents' small business in the mall paid for him to go to college. Now, shops have started moving out – their stalls standing empty.
"Everyone's taking stuff out – maybe putting things back in," Lopez Gutierrez said. "We're not sure what to do next."
A Cook County judge on Friday denied an emergency injunction filed by attorneys representing the vendors – trying to prevent about 50 vendors from being locked out of their leases.
The owner of the mall, Novak Development, announced last month that it had reached a deal to extend the lease with one side of the mall. But that meant the other side would be forced out.
"This uncertainty was really having a big toll on vendors in Little Village," said Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th).
At a news conference alongside vendors, Sigcho-Lopez said an agreement with the owners has now been reached. Sixty percent of the 150 mall vendors will be able to stay indefinitely – but about 50 will need to leave.
The city will be formally asking for a 10-week extension on their leases until the mall can find a second location for the 50 being forced out.
"That will give us enough time to relocate them to either location," Sigcho-Lopez said.
But for some families, the confusion is too much. Some are choosing to get out before they are kicked out.
"This is their main source of income, so you can only mess around with moving around because bills still need to get paid – you still have to put food and money on the table," said Lopez Gutierrez, "so it's definitely not easy."
By Tuesday of next week, dozens of vendors that call the Discount Mall home will learn whether they will get an extension on their leases until that second location is secured – or whether they will have to leave immediately.
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