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Our View: Hope for a revitalized Charlestowne Mall

Published: Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 5:32 a.m. CDT

Charlestowne Mall is under contract to be sold, and the news has elicited an array of responses from the community.

St. Charles residents and consumers want to see progress at the mall, which today houses just a fraction of the 120 tenants it used to boast.

“I prefer indoor malls,” wrote one commenter on the Kane County Chronicle’s website, “so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the new owner has the business savvy to breathe some new life into Charlestowne.”

“This is great news!” wrote another. “Hopefully they will have vision and great ideas. I think playing off Von Maur’s success and going for another ‘high end’ retailer like Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus could revive the center and draw shoppers from other areas ... .”

Plenty of ideas exist for Charlestowne Mall, including potential plans that have been outlined by the city. New owners could mean great things for the shopping center.

What’s important is that the current deal lead to improvements, as no one wants a repeat of the inactivity that was experienced under the present ownership.

As we’ve said before on this page, customers will show up to the mall – if they have a reason.

What innovative ideas will new owners bring to the table? Every conceivable option should be considered – from the mall’s design, to its name, to its marketing, to what activities take place there.

And, if the ideas are worthwhile enough, what incentives might community stakeholders offer to get them off the ground?

Mayor Ray Rogina has said the city is willing to speak with those looking to buy the mall, which is encouraging. Discussion with the current mall owners never seemed to progress, but new players could completely change the retail forecast for the city’s east side, where Route 64 construction is soon to be completed.

It’s time to take some chances with Charlestowne Mall. Revitalization can’t come soon enough.

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