So...back to the grindstone of working on finding a space.
I went and looked at the Evanston location again today, and had a nice long talk with the current owner, who seems like a genuinely nice guy. Bottom line; I love the space and the location and believe that the added costs will be offset (at the very least) by increased traffic. After taking a look at this guy's financials from the last few years, I called the listing agent and made an offer.
On my way over to see the Evanston space, I spoke with one of the owners of the Western/Armitage space, who told me they're going with another offer. I had known for a while that another, more well-established, hipper restaurant was interested in this space, and I figured they had the advantage over me and my unproven concept. The other factor was that this party approached this deal through an agent (coincidentally, it's the same agent who I'm dealing with on the Evanston space) and, therefore, they were offering the current owners quite a bit more than I would've had to offer them if I'd gone in through the landlord.
Confusing, eh? No shit. I'm having trouble remembering which deals are still alive from one day to the next. I'm not too upset about losing Western/Armitage, but that's only because I'm really excited about Evanston.
If that one blows up, I'll be back to square one, and this is starting to get frustrating. Oh, and the seller of the Evanston space told me that the landlord is very thorough and will want all sorts of information before agreeing to lease the space to me.
This is an eye-opening education about a process I've never been a part of before. I've bought and sold a few houses in my life, which seemed difficult and stressful at the time, but this whole thing is making that process seem simple. The hard part here is getting all three parties--buyer, seller, and landlord, on the same page at the same time. I figured that as long as there was a potential buyer, the landlord would be happy to rent to whoever, but that's way off. It's starting to look like the landlord is the harder nut to crack in these deals, which makes sense, I suppose, since it ultimately becomes a longer relationship and involves more money.
Tomorrow, I sign off on the written offer for the Evanston space. Here's hoping that this one moves forward smoothly and quickly.