On a sunny August afternoon, Scott Jannush described the scene outside his record shop window. It's quiet, the streets and empty and open parking spaces line the street, he said.
Jannush is the the owner of Borderline Music, 3333 N. Broadway, and he recently announced that after 13 years, he will be taking his business out of Boystown.
"It's time to get out of Lake View," said Jannush. "It's a dead neighborhood now for shopping and foot traffic."
Most significantly, he said, the gay community he wants to serve has moved on.
Jannush opened his shop during a time of boom for the neighborhood, he said. Now, he said, neighborhood parents are often offended by his Madonna posters and stricter rules on noise means he can't play music in his shop.
Jannush said that many of the neighborhood's gay residents, his targeted clientele, have moved north.
Now, Jannush is moving with them. His lease is up in September, he said. He hopes to find a new location in Andersonville north of Foster Avenue.
"It slowly just became an isolated neighborhood," Jannush said of Lake View.
At least part of the challenge for Jannush has been his location in the neighborhood. While the strip on Broadway his shop occupies has attracted LGBT shoppers, most of the neighborhood's gay nightlife is centered on Halsted Street. These days, his shop feels like an extended part of Wrigleyville, he said.
Jen Gordon, a spokesperson for the Northalsted Business Alliance, said that Halsted business owners have also faced some challenges in the last few years, but she attributes those to the struggling economy.
Developers continue to show interest in the neighborhood, she said. A New York-based hotel developer is planning to open an LGBT resort hotel in the area, and construction on a large condominium development is underway at 3740 N. Halsted St.
Both projects have been controversial among some residents, but many business owners say they need those developments to keep the neighborhood vibrant.
"They are much more optimistic than they have been in the past," Gordon said of area business owners.
Gordon agrees that the neighborhood has changed. For one, businesses serve more than just the LGBT community now. And many of their customers are tourists and visitors, not local residents. But, she said, for LGBT people, she thinks the neighborhood remains a destination.
Jannush, however, has only received support since announcing the move, he said. He estimates that 9.5 out of 10 customers have told him that they're happy he's headed north. The shop will be closer to where they live, they say.