New restaurants, building improvements slated for St. Charles shopping center
Built decades ago along the high-traffic Main Street, a St. Charles shopping center embodied the western theme of its titular restaurant, Tin Cup Pass.
The establishment is long gone from the anchor space, later occupied by a Gino's East pizzeria. And yet the 1970s design -- complete with wooden accents, outdated paneling, and red and green awnings -- remained intact at the visually prominent development on the city's east side.
That is, until new owners swooped in earlier this year with a more than $1 million plan to revitalize the property.
DLJ Stone Creek LLC purchased the site at Main Street and Tyler Road in February and has since been working to update the shopping center, now called Stone Creek.
The canopies and lumber walkways have been removed and are being replaced with more modern signage and design elements, such as stucco, stone and tile, general contractor Spiro Douvris said. Eighteen windows were installed throughout the east building alone, he said, and tenant spaces are getting new storefronts.
The parking lot also is being redeveloped and enhanced with landscaping.
"We've gone beyond the call of duty to bring it to where we think it'll be viable," Douvris said. "It's long overdue."
The team is led by principals Dan Jones, Chris Ford and Andrew Jones, who have partnered with architect Pat Marzullo on the design improvements. With construction slated to be complete Nov. 15, the development group now is working to secure tenants in hopes of filling all vacancies by the end of the year, Douvris said.
A breakfast restaurant, The Southern Cafe, is moving into the anchor space, vacated by Gino's East in 2017. Owners of the establishment also plan to open a barbecue joint next door, though a name has not been finalized, he said.
On the west end of the shopping center, a space is slated for Marino's, an Italian restaurant with other suburban locations, Douvris said.
Existing tenants include a yoga studio, a Chinese restaurant, a barber shop and various other uses. Of the 15 storefronts, he said, only four remain vacant.
"I think there's a demand for a shopping center of that caliber in that sector," he said. "The area needed that revitalization."
St. Charles staff members reviewed the improvement plans to ensure they met the city's design standards before a building permit was issued, said Russell Colby, community development division manager. They did not need to go through any special zoning approval process.
City officials are encouraged by the new economic activity at the shopping center, which they agree needed an update. The departure of Gino's East also hurt the development, Colby said, especially given its location along such a highly traveled corridor.
"It's a great location, it just was in need of some reinvestment," he said. "This effort to completely modernize the appearance, we think, should attract new businesses, new tenants to the area."