Daily Herald opinion: Redevelopment could provide a boost to the eastern gateway of St. Charles

The eastern gateway for St. Charles is more than an entrance to the city.

With restaurants, shopping centers and big-box retailers, the stretch along Main Street/Route 64 is a destination for diners and shoppers.

However, the area has suffered a blow from the closure of Pheasant Run Resort and the hollowing out of Charlestowne Mall.

Pheasant Run was a premier spot for suburban residents seeking a weekend getaway, and Charlestowne Mall would attract crowds with its carousel, movie theater and stores.

But Charlestowne never recovered from a slow but steady loss of tenants. Owner Krausz Companies closed the interior of the deserted mall for good in December 2017. Today, only one anchor store and the movie theater remain.

Pheasant Run, meanwhile, shut down in March 2020 after a failed attempt to auction off the property. Then a massive fire in 2022 left the main resort campus in ruins.

Still, city officials remain hopeful about what will happen next with those sites and other nearby properties.

“From the east to the west, there’s been quite a bit of redevelopment,” St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek told our Alicia Fabbre. “We still haven’t hit our limit. We continue to bring new and exciting things to our residents and visitors.”

We can see why the mayor is optimistic.

In a story published Tuesday, Fabbre reported that a developer expects to present plans this spring for a four-building restaurant and retail plaza at the northeast corner of Kirk Road and Route 64.

Meanwhile, UrbanStreet Group is looking to acquire Charlestowne Mall from Krausz. City officials say the development firm could present concept plans for the property as early as late spring.

St. Charles Economic Development Director Derek Conley told Fabbre he anticipates a mixed-use development that includes Von Maur and Classic Cinemas, both of which remain open at the mall. It would offer some residential, entertainment, and additional retail.

As for the former Pheasant Run property, St. Charles officials made a wise move when they took legal action to force the property owner to raze the vacant buildings. All that remains is for workers to complete the demolition of the tower building and a smaller structure.

A car dealership stands on the former Mega Center site, and an industrial park has replaced the former golf course.

Clearing the main resort campus of the ruined buildings should make the site more attractive for potential developers. The city also created a special taxing district for the site to spur redevelopment.

St. Charles officials say they anticipate a mix of retail and office uses on the former resort property.

We understand that redeveloping the mall and resort properties will not happen overnight. But it appears the city is moving in the right direction with both iconic properties.

Our hope is that the eastern entrance into St. Charles will get the needed boost that city officials are working to achieve.

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