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updated: 10/6/2021 8:26 PM

Plans to redevelop Charlestowne Mall face competition from similar proposal planned nearby

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  • Plans to redevelop the nearly vacant Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles are threatened by plans for a big development nearby, one company's representative says.

    Plans to redevelop the nearly vacant Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles are threatened by plans for a big development nearby, one company's representative says.
    Robert Sanchez | Staff Photographer

 
 

A developer that plans to raze the majority of Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles to make way for apartments and townhouses is concerned that a similar proposal planned nearby could thwart the project.

"We were completely taken by surprise by the Springs project," Manny Kianicky, with S.R. Jacobson Development Corp., told plan commissioners on Tuesday. "To put that many units in one area at the same time is extremely alarming. It has the potential of basically preventing us from going ahead, to be perfectly honest with you."

Kianicky is concerned about plans of Wisconsin-based Continental Properties to build an apartment community on 27 acres on the north side of Smith Road at Pheasant Trail, known as the Petkus property, as part of the Springs at Smith Road project. The property is in unincorporated Wayne Township, and St. Charles can annex the property under the conditions of the boundary agreement between West Chicago and St. Charles.

The proposal includes 340 units within 17 two-story buildings. That would include 34 studio apartments, 136 one-bedroom units, 136 two-bedroom units and 34 three-bedroom units.

Charlestowne Mall had first opened in 1991 and is now largely vacant. The partnership of S.R. Jacobson Development Corp. and Lormax Stern Development Co. LLC. have entered into a purchase agreement for the former Charlestowne Mall property with current owners The Krausz Cos. Inc.

In December 2017, Krausz closed the interior shops and enclosed mall space at the center. Anchors Von Maur and Classic Cinemas Charlestowne 18 remain in the mall.

Plans call for retaining Classic Cinemas and Von Maur and demolishing the other mall buildings. In their place, 324 garden apartments in nine three-story buildings would be built on the eastern portion of the site along with 208 rental townhouses on the northern portion of the site.

The proposal also calls for 40,000 square feet of new commercial development along Main Street as well as putting in a hotel pad to accommodate a 135-room hotel.

Kianicky said a recently commissioned market study shows "there isn't room for both of us."

"What we've basically said to the city is you've got to make a choice," he said. "I don't believe that there's any configuration of apartment or townhouse units that we can do that are going to be different enough that there's room for all of us at the same time. We're all going to be competing for the same customers."

The proposed redevelopment is estimated to cost at least $25 million. To fund the project, the developers plan to use tax increment financing. But they have not submitted a formal TIF request to the city yet.

Once a municipality creates a TIF district, its property assessment is frozen and new or increased taxes generated by improvements are used to pay for improvements or other development incentives.

"Keeping Von Maur and Classic Cinemas open during redevelopment is also important," Kianicky told plan commissioners. "It's going to be a challenge. We're working with both of them to figure out the best way for this to happen."

The Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant and Starbucks/Verizon buildings near the mall would be retained.