St. Charles back to square one on redevelopment of former police building

St. Charles officials are circling back to the possible redevelopment of the former police department site at 10 State Ave.

The city-owned property has been vacant since September 2019, when the department’s new police station opened at 1515 W. Main St.

After hearing several redevelopment proposals in 2022, St. Charles did not move forward with any of them. Now the city wants to start fresh with a Downtown Riverfront Property Feasibility Study for the site this summer.

Government Operations Committee members on Monday recommended approval of an agreement with Chicago-based architecture firm Solomon, Cordwell, Buenz & Associates, Inc. (SCB) to conduct the feasibility study.

The agreement is expected to go before the city council for possible final approval at its next meeting on May 20.

After previous ideas for the site received pushback from residents and council members, the city rejected the proposals and decided to conduct a feasibility study.

SCB was the only firm to submit a bid to do the study.

Economic Development Director Derek Conley said the intent of the feasibility study is not to propose development plans. It will collect data to provide the city with more information on what type of development best would fit the site based on the surrounding area and existing utilities and identify the costs associated with making the site developable.

According to the proposal response from SCB, the scope of the study will include a technical analysis of the site and assessments of the existing conditions. Through data collection, testing and site visits, SCB will provide environmental, geotechnical, flood plain and utility analyses.

The study will also analyze previous development proposals and provide the city with estimated demolition costs, traffic impact and parking analyses.

If approved, the study is expected to be conducted this year and completed in four to five months for $118,680.

“We are excited to work with the city and the community to prepare a strategic redevelopment plan for the former police station property,” Christine Carlyle, SCB’s director of planning, said in a letter to the city.

“As a team, we understand the challenges of a complicated riverfront site such as the former police station site along the Fox River,” Carlyle said. “Our riverfront plans recognize the importance of open space, bike trails and integrating the historic downtown fabric while knitting together the utility, roadway, and parking infrastructure efficiently to support the desired development and help mitigate flooding.”

If approved, SCB will organize a kickoff meeting with the city to review and finalize the project plans, including a timeline with milestones and delivery dates, key roles and communication protocol, and a proposed schedule of meetings and workshops with city officials and residents.

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