DuPage Airport discussing fate of Pheasant Run golf course, driving range

  • The DuPage Airport Authority has begun considering the fate of the Pheasant Run golf course and driving range after the iconic St. Charles resort closed.

    The DuPage Airport Authority has begun considering the fate of the Pheasant Run golf course and driving range after the iconic St. Charles resort closed. Courtesy of Pheasant Run Resort

  • The DuPage Airport Authority purchased the golf course from Pheasant Run in 2017 to block a housing development proposed for the site. Now that the iconic St. Charles resort has closed, airport officials are discussing what to do with the 94-acre course, plus an adjacent driving range.

    The DuPage Airport Authority purchased the golf course from Pheasant Run in 2017 to block a housing development proposed for the site. Now that the iconic St. Charles resort has closed, airport officials are discussing what to do with the 94-acre course, plus an adjacent driving range. Daily Herald file photo

 
 
Posted5/4/2020 5:30 AM

The closure of the iconic Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles has prompted DuPage Airport officials to begin considering the fate of the site's golf course and driving range.

Options could include selling or leasing the roughly 110 acres, which are owned by the airport authority and have historically been used for the resort's golf operations. But Executive Director Mark Doles said the airport is still in a "fact-finding" phase, wanting to explore all possibilities before deciding what should become of the property.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're looking at what the mechanisms are, highest and best uses, and how best for the airport authority to potentially divest ourselves of this asset," he said.

Whatever happens, Doles added, "we know it will not be residential."

The DuPage Airport acquired a majority of the golf course -- nearly 94 acres -- in 2017 to block the resort's plans to transform the site into housing. The $8.9 million land deal was part of a settlement for a condemnation lawsuit, filed a year earlier by the airport in an attempt to take over the resort and prevent what officials said was an incompatible use.

As part of the airport's acquisition contract, Doles said, deed restrictions were placed on the course to ensure it will never contain houses, condominiums or any other residential component.

"It's a terrible idea to have residences (immediately next to) the airport," he said. "That's why we purchased the property, to protect the airport and its customers."

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Pheasant Run retained ownership of the hotel and most of its frontage along Route 64. The resort also continued operating and maintaining the golf course, per an arrangement with the airport that was extended through this October, Doles said.

The resort's driving range just east of the golf course has always been owned by the airport authority.

Pheasant Run ceased operations March 1, a few months after resort management announced plans to restructure operations and reduce its staff by 75%. The 18.3-acre site at 4051 E. Main St. was listed for sale soon after, and an online auction was held in February, though the final $6 million bid did not meet the resort's undisclosed reserve price.

Uncertain of what's to come of the Pheasant Run property, Doles said, a subcommittee has since held a series of meetings with real estate professionals to "gauge interest and get their opinions" on the possible disposition of the parcels owned by the airport. Representatives from Colliers International, for example, suggested last week that the site would be ideal for an industrial use.

"At this point, we're just looking at options," Doles said.

The information gathered by the subcommittee is expected to be brought to the full board of commissioners for consideration later this year, he said.

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