CROWN POINT — Local antique vendors and shoppers now will have twice the space to sell and search for relics of times past.
The Crown Point Council approved a resolution to grant Mark Kratkoczki, owner of Crown Antique Mall, a use variance to open another retail space in the city’s industrial district near Interstate 65.
There’s need for a second location, Kratkoczki said, as people are coming in every day asking for space.
"[I'm] relieved. Now we can get to work and serve the community and sell our wares. We got a lot of people who want in, and it's hard to fulfill everybody," Kratkoczki said.
The new space will be at 595 E. 110th Ave., right next door to the current mall.
When Kratkoczki first went in front of the Board of Zoning Appeals to discuss opening the mall in July, members were concerned there wouldn’t be adequate parking to accommodate the business’ traffic.
However, Kratkoczki said it hasn’t been an issue.
“Parking has not been a problem, we’re going to add another additional 35 spots I believe to it. So, it’s going to help even more with the parking,” he said. “There’s been no complaints from our neighbors — we’re doing good. We’ve got great response from the town, and we’ve been busy.”
Although, the second location received a favorable nod from the city’s BZA, some council members weren’t sure about granting another variance.
Councilwoman Laura Sauerman, D-4, said she was concerned Kratkoczki issued a public call for a second space before appearing in front of council. Her biggest concern, however, was the zoning of the space.
“One of the reasons that the … my understanding the [reason the] first building was given special consideration was because ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t know we couldn’t do that. I didn’t know it was an industrial area. We didn’t know that we needed to go through these things … We have no place else to go and all of that,’” she said.
“Which swayed me in my choice of how I voted for that with the six-month probationary period. I have to admit, I don’t feel as kindly toward this situation. I’m glad for your success, we’re glad that there haven’t been any problems.”
Additionally, Sauerman said she believed there are better options for a second location.
You have free articles remaining.
“I’m not convinced this is the best use for the space,” she said.
Sauerman said her original impression was that the industrial space was a temporary solution while Kratkoczki searched for a permanent location for the mall.
“This time I feel like, 'Wait, we’re not making this a retail center. That isn’t the purpose, that isn’t the plan. That isn’t the desire for that area,'” she said.
However, Kratkoczki said he signed a five-year lease for the space, and he’s hoping to make the East 110th Avenue locations permanent.
“Our biggest thing is it’s right next store, 50 feet away. It’s the same parking lot. So if we’re going to expand, what better time to do it when the building is empty right next to us?” he said.
Kratkoczki later told The Times he signed the lease for the new location Wednesday. Like the current mall, it will be 10,300 square feet that can accommodate 80 more vendors. It also will carry a five-year lease.
"We're planning on staying for good. We want to make it a permanent attraction in Crown Point," he told The Times after the meeting.
Councilwoman Carol Drasga , D-4, echoed Sauerman’s concerns.
“I am definitely against it this time. This is not a business district,” she said.
Ultimately, council passed the resolution 5-2, with Sauerman and Drasga voting against the measure.
Kratkoczki said he plans on having an open house for new vendors at noon Saturday, with a soft opening scheduled for the first week of October. The second location has a hopeful grand opening date of Oct. 19.
Business hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.