Panel recommends approval of TIF district for former Pheasant Run Resort

A plan to implement a special taxing district to spur the redevelopment of the shuttered Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles is moving through the approval process.

On Thursday, a joint review board unanimously recommended that the city approve the proposed Pheasant Run Redevelopment Plan and Redevelopment Project. The panel also found the former resort property meets the criteria to become a tax increment financing district.

In a TIF district, property taxes above a certain point are funneled into development rather than to local governments.

The joint review board has representatives of local taxing districts affected by a proposed TIF. Representatives from Wayne Township, St. Charles School District, St. Charles Park District and St. Charles Public Library District attended Thursday's meeting.

The St. Charles City Council will review the panel's recommendation.

A public hearing on the redevelopment plan and project is set for 7 p.m. on Jan. 3 at the St. Charles Municipal Building.

St. Charles Economic Development Director Derek Conley said he was pleased with the joint review board's recommendation.

"We always want to be good partners with our taxing bodies," he said. "To have them show up and show their support is good. And now we move on to the next step, which is the public hearing."

Pheasant Run Resort closed in March 2020 after a failed attempt to auction the resort. McGrath Honda redeveloped the former Pheasant Run Mega Center adjacent to the property. Industrial buildings will be built on the former Pheasant Run Resort golf course.

The plan estimates it will cost $42.6 million to redevelop Pheasant Run Resort. That includes an estimated $16.5 million in demolition, site preparation and environmental cleanup, along with $9 million in land acquisition and assembly.

Other costs include $3 million in infrastructure/public facilities improvements, $1.5 million in rehabilitation costs, $5.5 million in interest costs and $6 million in statutory school district payments. But as Conley noted, there isn't a proposed project or even a defined land use beyond commercial for the property yet.

"Thus determining the redevelopment costs is very difficult," Conley said. "The $42 million captures all possible costs in the event that they are needed. However, for any potential project, it is not realistic that the full $42 million would be utilized."

Conley also said just because it's an estimated redevelopment cost doesn't mean it's going to be paid for by the TIF.

"The city is only looking to fill in a financial gap for a potential development," he said. "A majority of the redevelopment costs will be borne by the prospective developer."

Conley also noted the estimated redevelopment costs are for the entire former Pheasant Run property, including the former golf course.

According to the plan, a fire in May that destroyed large parts of the Pheasant Run Resort has increased the need to use tax increment finances to spur its redevelopment.

Two male juveniles - one from Carol Stream and one from Wheaton - have been charged with causing the fire. Two other male juveniles - one from Carol Stream and one from Winfield - have been charged with trespassing at the resort.

The plan addresses the fire and its impact on redeveloping the property.

"These conditions negatively impact the possibility for coordinated and substantial private sector reinvestment in the overall redevelopment project area," according to the plan. "Without the use of city planning and economic development resources to address certain issues, potential redevelopment activities are not likely to be economically feasible."

The plan states the permanent closure of the Pheasant Run Resort and golf course, along with the resort's physical demise and partial destruction by the fire "and the resulting impacts in this strategically critical area of the city, especially in light of the decline of the Charlestowne Mall across the street, requires the city to be proactive in encouraging its redevelopment."

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