Chicago Lakeview Commercial Space: For Rent

Has anyone noticed the increasing number of ‘space for rent’ signs in Lakeview? The strip of buildings that houses the coffeeshop is almost half vacant. There are plenty of signs on Halsted and Belmont and Broadway that all say ‘space for rent’. I’m wondering if store rents have outpaced what merchants are willing to pay. I wonder if that means they’ll loosen the restrictions on out-of-state franchises and allow the place to be turned into an outdoor mall. Any Chicago realtors got the scoop?