ST. CHARLES – The contract buyers of Charlestowne Mall presented their plans Tuesday to revive the shopping center.
Much of what they told the St. Charles Plan Commission was similar to what they shared at the Planning and Development Committee last month.
This time, however, the presentation was part of a public hearing about their request to amend the existing PUD ordinance to allow for proposed improvements.
David Pyle, an executive vice president with The Krausz Companies, said they want to change some physical aspects of the mall to make it more attractive to tenants, such as adding restaurants and banks along Route 64, redoing the main entrance and making the cinemas more visible.
Now, he said, Charlestowne Mall is like a fortress.
“You don’t know what’s in there until you go in,” Pyle said.
The mall’s interior also will get a new look, he said, listing a fireplace and children’s play area as potential elements. The goal is to make the mall a safe place for people to eat, shop and have fun.
“It’s a gathering place,” Pyle said.
Commission members expressed concerns about parking for the businesses along Route 64, traffic flow and walkability. Member Tim Kessler also wanted assurances that the exterior improvements would make the entire mall – not just sections of it – look new.
Pyle noted they don’t have control over Kohl’s and Von Maur because the retailers own their buildings.
Despite their questions and concerns, commission members said they liked the plans.
“I really appreciate and like what you’re proposing here,” Brian Doyle said.
Resident Bill Page wanted to make sure the contract purchasers – known collectively as SC Main 3800 – felt the community’s support.
“We’re being thrown a lifeline, an economic engine we haven’t had in years,” he said, cautioning the commission from criticizing the color and weave of the metaphorical rope. “I assure you, the citizens, are fully supportive of an innovative plan like this. I hope it comes to fruition.”
The public hearing was continued to Oct. 22. The Plan Commission is expected to make a recommendation to the St. Charles City Council at that time.