'We do want to see the right fit': Plans to redevelop St. Charles' Charlestowne Mall shelved
A plan to redevelop the largely vacant Charlestowne Mall on St. Charles' east side has been shelved after several city aldermen and plan commissioners questioned whether the proposal was the best plan for the site.
Plans were to raze the majority of the largely vacant mall to make way for 560 apartments and townhouses, a hotel, new restaurants and retail spaces along East Main Street.
During a city council Planning and Development Committee meeting in January, several aldermen raised concerns about the number of residential units proposed, along with the layout of the plan.
"It's a good plan but the question is, is this the best use of space?" 2nd Ward Alderman Ryan Bongard said at the meeting. "In speaking with constituents, they don't want to see 500 apartments."
On Friday, St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek confirmed the developers have pulled out of the project. The partnership of S.R. Jacobson Development Corporation and Lormax Stern Development Company LLC had previously entered into a purchase agreement for the former Charlestowne Mall property with current owners The Krausz Companies LLC.
In December 2017, Krausz closed Charlestowne's interior shops and enclosed mall space at the center. Anchors Von Maur and Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 remains.
Vitek said the city would like to balance the residential portion of any plan with "more of an entertainment opportunity over there."
"That's the overwhelming comment that I have heard through the city council," Vitek said. "And I do believe that we can try to accomplish that. We shouldn't settle. We've got a lot going for us. We know there needs to be more people here and we're going to bring residential, but there needs to be a balance over there, too. The east side is very important to our town, but we do want to see the right fit."
Vitek hopes another developer will submit plans to redevelop the property.
"Our plan is to work with the current owner to hopefully bring something that is more in line with the majority of comments from city council," she said. "We're not giving up."
During the meeting in January, 2nd Ward Alderman Rita Payleitner spoke in favor of the plans. She noted that other plans to redevelop the mall have been abandoned.
"I've seen and heard so many options attempted, discussed and ultimately not come to fruition," she said. "Is this a dream come true plan? Maybe not. But this is a good plan. It presents workable options, considering the very realistic challenges the site presents."