With Pheasant Run set to close today, uncertainty remains over the property's future
Once known as a premier entertainment destination that put St. Charles on the map, the iconic Pheasant Run Resort is set to cease operations Sunday.
As the last guests check out this weekend and the historic Bourbon Street goes dark, uncertainty remains over what will become of the sprawling resort campus at 4051 E. Main St.
An online auction for the 18.3-acre site took place earlier this month, ending with a final bid of $6 million. The resort's undisclosed reserve, or the minimum price established by the seller, had not been met, though the auction website indicated a winning bidder could still be declared and a sale negotiated.
Weeks later, city officials say they have received no official word on the resort's fate.
The property has been marketed for sale since November, shortly after its management announced plans to restructure operations and reduce its staff by 75%. Forty-two remaining employees were notified last month that their jobs also were in jeopardy.
Resort management previously indicated it would be honoring reservations through February, but that hotel stays and events would not be booked any further ahead. Pheasant Run's online calendar shows no dates available beyond Sunday, which is listed as "checkout only."
Meanwhile, St. Charles officials have been bracing for any possible outcome.
Pheasant Run has historically generated $500,000 to $600,000 in total tax revenue for the city each year, City Administrator Mark Koenen said earlier. Should the property be acquired by new ownership, he said, city leaders are ready to act as a partner to help revive the eastern gateway to the town.
Aldermen and staff members also have begun considering how the resort's closure could affect the city's budget. During a meeting earlier this month, Finance Director Chris Minick said the loss of hotel/motel revenue alone would be a "substantial amount," and additional discussions on the financial impact are likely forthcoming.
Built in 1963 on what was once a dairy farm, Pheasant Run continued expanding in size and scope the next couple of decades as founder Edward McArdle developed his vision for the property.
The resort now has 293 hotel rooms, seven restaurants, and 31,930 square feet of banquet and meeting space. It also operates a comedy club, a theater, an indoor/outdoor pool and an 18-hole golf course it leases from the DuPage Airport.
In its heyday, Pheasant Run served as a draw for local community members, business professionals and vacationers from throughout the suburbs and beyond. Residents and former employees recall attending lavish events in its banquet halls and planning dates at a Bourbon Street restaurant.
The resort later faced financial turmoil, falling into foreclosure in 2011 and being purchased three years later by an investment group.
Ahead of Pheasant Run's impending closure this weekend, the city was made aware of some interest in the resort's Mega Center but has otherwise received no updates on the property, said Rita Tungare, community and economic development director.
Pheasant Run plans to continue providing its own security at the property in the immediate future, Deputy Police Chief Chuck Pierce added.