St. Charles is buying the former George's Sports Center building, with the idea that it could be used to enhance the next-door Arcada Theater.
The city council approved the $225,000 purchase Monday. The city expects to close on the deal before the end of the year.
The two-story building, at 107-109 E. Main St., has about 6,600 square feet of space, plus a basement. There are several apartments on the second floor, but no one has lived in them recently, City Administrator Brian Townsend said.
The theater is just to the west. City officials say the adjacent building could be used to expand the theater's offices and the concessions-and-restrooms area, both of which are tiny for a theater the size of the Arcada.
"I think it has always been on the radar," Townsend said. Such improvements could increase the economic impact of the Arcada on the downtown, he said, according to an economic study presented to the city last month.
City official would like to meet with Arcada owner Scott Price and theater operator Ron Onesti to see if they want to expand, he said.
The George's Sports Center building has been "a top target" of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, because of its appearance. The store was there since the 1970s, and the building has suffered from deferred maintenance, Townsend said. It needs roof repairs, tuckpointing, new doors and windows, and some stabilization work in the basement, he said. The city is finalizing a plan on what work needs to be done now, and what can be done later.
The store, owned by the same people who own the building, closed at the end of 2011. The owners then approached the city about the sale, Townsend said.
According to the St. Charles Township assessor's online records, the building and land had an appraised value of $483,549 this year.