St. Charles developers are incorporating a vacant downtown building into their ongoing renovation plans for the Arcada Theatre, aligning with the city's vision for strengthening its entertainment district.
The city bought the former George's Sport Center at 107-109 E. Main St. seven years ago, hoping to preserve the site's condition and find a use that would complement the historic theater next door.
That goal could be achieved within the next six months, pending final approval of a redevelopment agreement with Frontier Development LLC.
The St. Charles-based company purchased the Arcada building in May with the intention of fixing it up and improving the theater experience for patrons. Those plans now include the George's building, where developer Curt Hurst has proposed creating a piano bar and lounge -- run by Arcada operator Ron Onesti -- on the first floor, he said. Additional restrooms also would be constructed.
The second floor would then be transformed into offices for the theater, along with a suite for performers and special guests, according to the concept plans. The proposed improvements also include improving grading and drainage at the rear of the building, enhancing the space as an outdoor patio, and upgrading the utility services to both George's and the Arcada.
"This is exactly what we wanted," Alderman Dan Stellato said.
"It's what we wanted, and then some," Alderman Rita Payleitner added.
The project received early support Monday from aldermen, who voted as the planning and development committee to convey the property to Frontier at no cost. The deal would include several protections to ensure the improvements are completed as promised, said Rita Tungare, community and economic development director.
Frontier also must remedy any outstanding code violations in the Arcada building -- an issue the new owners have been working through for the last several months, Tungare said. A new sprinkler system is being installed in the theater, and electric upgrades and a new HVAC system are forthcoming.
"George's and the Arcada are being seen as a unified project," Tungare said.
Hurst said his team has been working diligently to update the 93-year-old Arcada building and address any outstanding concerns that have been raised over its condition.
The city also has invested in improving the George's site in recent years in preparation of any future tenants.
Hurst said his plans for the building will "complement the entire entertainment experience."
The city council is expected to vote on the redevelopment agreement Oct. 7 after some details are finalized, Tungare said. The city would then convey the property in November, and facade and site work would begin within 30 days.
The project is expected to be completed by February 2020.