With bidding for the 18.3 acres that make up the Pheasant Run Resort property in St. Charles unfolding in February, it's time to envision what this iconic site could become in the future.
Sure, it could stay the same if it only turns out that an individual or LLC with a lot of money buys the whole works and declares the operation needs a little spit and polish.
That sounds a little too much like throwing good money after bad and is not likely to happen. With bidding starting at $2 million on the Ten-X commercial real estate site, there's no telling where a buying price will eventually land. It's probably safe to say anyone making a serious bid will do so with a definite vision in mind as the site enters the 2020s.
So, what do we know for sure? We know Pheasant Run has pretty much everything a savvy entertainment investor would look for -- an exhibit/conference hall, ballrooms and meeting rooms, a golf course and pro shop, a swimming pool, fitness center, restaurants, clubs, a theater and plenty of rooms.
We also know the place has, for lack of a better term, an "old" feel to it. Some of that is by design, but much of it is simply from age and old buildings and infrastructure. As we've seen on numerous HGTV episodes, it takes a clear vision, and a lot of money to make things more modern, but also stick to a theme.
For starters, the enclosed walkway between the MegaCenter and the ballrooms at Pheasant Run could be far classier and more inviting.
With "classier and more inviting" being the guide, an overall upgrade to the rooms and maybe a new themed-restaurant, such as a high-end bar with late-night music, could affect that sort of change.
I wouldn't change the theater setting. And even though we don't need another casino in the area, a small portion of Pheasant Run designated for gambling on the grounds might be a helpful revenue maker. Men and women on business conferences, and golfers in general, like that sort of diversion. There might be some legal barriers to that, though.
Another concept that surely means more for those with considerable wealth would be some summer condo or "lodge" arrangement for those who like summer hideaways here but spend most of their year in warm weather areas.
Those who have business, family or other needs in this area for a few months might find such an arrangement to their liking.
In thinking outside of the box, or maybe in it, a company that does this sort of thing in both locations and sells it as one package -- the seasonal condos for purchase or rent on Pheasant Run property and the other one in Florida, Texas, the Carolinas or Arizona. That could turn part of this St. Charles property into something quite different.
A change for Strawflower
At first glance, the signs on the windows at Geneva's popular Strawflower Shop & Rug Merchant appear to give conflicting messages.
The interior design store at 210 W. State St. is undergoing a renovation, thus the "renovation sale" sign. But the building is also up for sale, thus the commercial real estate contact sign.
The store and its unique clock tower have been a downtown Geneva icon for more than 40 years. Susan and Mike Haas opened the business in 1976.
We'll have to keep an eye on what unfolds at Strawflower in the coming months.
A new dining spot
It appears the Poke Bros. restaurant in St. Charles that opened over the holidays at 3835 E. Main St. is getting some favorable attention from those who have already tried it.
The franchise that features fresh fish made "Hawaiian style" has restaurants throughout the east and southeast. Illinois represents its farthest venture west. The two other sites in Illinois are in Naperville and Oakbrook Terrace.
In St. Charles, Poke Bros. operates out of the retail strip near the Super Target east of Kirk Road. It's next to CBD Demand and near Vino's Thai restaurant.
The site has about eight tables for indoor dining but does a strong carryout business.
Paper and digital
The decline of print media advertising has unfolded for some time now, and every day that passes, I am thankful newspapers are still around because they remain my preferred method for getting news and glancing at ads.
But all news and advertising organizations have embraced digital technology, and that's turned out to have some benefits when combined with print.
In the highly competitive local advertising world, Mark and Sharon Spero of MoneyMailer of the Fox River Valley understand how this transition has played out.
They recently sent out their 200th mailing of the monthly coupons. That's not an easy task for direct mailers, which have come and gone over the years.
The Speros have seen how search-engine-driven analytics and links to the online world have helped catch consumer eyes.
"In the old way, a consumer sees an ad and calls from that ad," Sharon said. "But now, they see an ad, go to the website or Google it, conduct a search and maybe order online. The consumer can move around from print ads to digital."
While newspapers have been around for hundreds of years and undergone various transformations, I do have to tip my hat to Mark Spero for operating the local MoneyMailer direct mail pieces for 21 years now.