LAKEVIEW — Tenenbaum True Value Hardware, a beloved third-generation hardware store in Lakeview, could soon become a five-story apartment building with retail on the first floor after the developer’s plans cleared a key city panel.
The city’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards unanimously approved SNS Realty Group’s proposal to rezone the property to allow for a development replacing the hardware store at 1138 W. Belmont Ave. It goes to the City Council next for final approval.
The plan calls for 33 apartments, 16 parking spaces and 28 bicycle parking stalls, according to documents filed with Ald. Tom Tunney’s (44th) office. The project will be a transit-oriented development, meaning it has lower parking requirements because of its proximity to the Belmont “L” station.
“You might have seen this just in the last week or so, the closing of the Tenenbaum Hardware store,” Tunney said at the zoning meeting. “They’ve decided they don’t want to work as hard as their parents or grandparents.”
Pam and Steve Lipshutz, siblings and third-generation co-owners of Tenenbaum, announced last week that the store was gearing up to close after 98 years in business. The store began its closing sale last Thursday, with the goal of selling everything down to its fixtures and equipment over the next two months.
“We’ve gotten very emotional about closing, it’s so bittersweet after all these years,” Steve Lipshutz said.
The siblings fought back tears as they discussed the store’s closing last week.
“We’ve made a lot of great friends that are customers over the years, and I know they’re heartbroken,” Pam Lipshutz said. “But it’s just time. The building is tired, we’re tired and business isn’t what it used to be.”
“I’ve probably spent more time at this location in my life … than any other place in the world, so it’s pretty much home,” Steve Lipshutz said. “It’s hard because people have been stopping by all morning to see us and say, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe you’re leaving. What will we do without you? We’ll miss you.’”
Pam Lipshutz said the store has come to be known for its friendly atmosphere where anyone can come in and ask for hardware help without feeling judged or brushed off by staff. Over the years, the family’s hardware store has become known for top-notch service from people who treat customers like family.
Throughout the years, customers have been invited to the siblings’ weddings, and they’ve attended funerals for a few customers in the past year.
“It’s almost like family. That’s why closing is hard,” Steve Lipshutz said. “It’s like saying bye to family.”
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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