Huge H&R Block office at Belmont/Clark, waste of space

The northeast corner of Clark and Belmont is now going to be occupied by a gigantic H&R Block office? Why? No other business wanted that valuable chunk of real estate? That area screams out for a restaurant or perhaps another store (the previous Pink Frog was some sort of a vintage clothing store) I just think that is a strange place to put a business that is really only active for 3 or so months out of the year. I wouldn’t think the demographics of Lake View really scream out for cheap tax filing and ripoff quick tax refund loans.

For the record, H&R Block no longer makes tax refund loans. They have a product with a strikingly similar name: Refund Anticipation Check (RAC). It is not a loan. Rather, the taxpayer arranges to have their refund sent to an H&R Block subsidiary. AFTER the refund is received from the state or IRS, tax preparation fees are deducted from the refund and the balance is given to the taxpayer in one of several ways. They no longer give out money BEFORE the refund amount is paid out.

Everyone thinks that a restaurant is an instant money maker. If you know how to cook well, everyone tells you “You should open a restaurant and get rich!” The fact is that the public is very fickle about restaurants. The business is more about savvy marketing and a whole bunch of luck than about good food. Many dreamers have gone broke opening up a restaurant that they knew would be perfect!

I’m sure that the people who know the business were given the opportunity to look at the location, but decided it wasn’t worth risking their money. But anyone who thought they knew better could probably outbid H&R Block for the location if they wanted to risk their own money. That’s harsh reality.

If only there were some sort of mathematical method for a landlord to determine which potential tenant has the greatest interest in a retail space . . .

As someone who worked at H&R Block, nowhere near Chicago: RALs and RACs existed at the same time. Also H&R was (or is?) not alone in offering similar options. I couldn’t shake people off with a stick and tell them they could wait a bit instead of doing a RAL. They needed it now, for current expenses, or frivolities. FYI, RALs did not give a commission; there was no reason to suggest them except as one of the options. RACs are convenient if you can’t pay for the accounting fees, but still not worth it for the couple of days it gives you.

And yes, people who think restaurants are easy money are stupid. Even if it’s packed every night, they still can fail.

Since there’s already a little H&R in the same building, it makes sense to rent from the same landlord if they decided to go bigger. If it’s not there right now, it hasn’t been gone for long, it’s right next to the internet cafe. They do offer some banking products, and classes. I’ll bet that will be a location where classes are held since it’s a bigger storefront. It’s also likely not set up for a restaurant in terms of plumbing and gas service, so it would need major renovations the landlord is probably not willing to make.

That entire area of Belmont is slowly getting a bit more upmarket as well.

I’ve seen multiple conflicting reports that the area near the Dunkin Donuts on Belmont and Clark will be bought up and changed.

This report conflicts with other reports that the area was going to be home to new apartments and condos

Any positive change in the area will be welcome. Hopefully, Alderman Tunney will turn his attention away from Wrigley Field and concentrate on development on Belmont from Clark to Sheffield and work to eliminate the blight and petty crime annoyances in that area.

I still don’t like an H&R Block there, but I guess it won’t hurt the area.

Both Halsted and Clark from Belmont to Addison need attention, especially on weekends. Part of the reason I moved out of Lakeview after a decade was to not have to deal with those areas on the weekends when I work nights and used to have to walk through there to get home. A work friend recently moved north of Belmont from where he was and was unpleasantly surprised with how risky his walk home felt on Fridays and Saturdays. Much better since I advised him to use Broadway though it’s probably a half block longer walk that way. It’s only been like that in the last 5 years or so.