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St. Charles committee seeks timeline for First Street development plan

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles aldermen on Monday sought a timeline for the proposed 1 W. Main St. project as a developer outlined proposals before the Planning and Development Committee.

After waiting years for the stalled project to enter Phase 3 of the development, aldermen urged Joe Klein with SMN Development to move the project along more quickly.

The St. Charles City Council has granted seven construction extensions for the project, which would develop the west bank of the Fox River bordered by Illinois, First and Main streets in downtown St. Charles. SMN Development owns the former Manor Restaurant building site.   

In 2008, the city approved plans for the proposed building to show a four-story structure with restaurant use on the first floor and office spaces on the upper floors. Klein also said part of the building would be rented as apartments. Aldermen, acting as Planning and Development Committee members Monday, did not take any action on the information Klein provided, but repeatedly asked for a timeline for when the project would be started.

Klein said he doesn’t want to build a structure that’s going to sit empty, so in order for the project to move forward, he said he would need to test the market with a commercial broker to make sure the proposed plans are viable.

“I would love to give you a time frame, but I don’t know that I can,” he said.

Third Ward Alderman William Turner pointed out that the council has given the developer 10 or 11 extensions. First Ward Alderman Ronald Silkaitis said with no financing set up and with several extensions granted, he’s not sure the project will move along fast enough.

“We’ve given you five years,” Silkaitis said. “Sometimes it takes a new developer to get the project going.”

Klein said a new developer would likely face the same obstacles SMN Development has faced, which are largely due to the economy.

“I think it comes to a point where we say, how much longer can we keep this going?” said 5th Ward Alderwoman Maureen Lewis.

Turner told Klein that he would like to see the financial information and market studies completed “in a reasonable amount of time,” but the committee did not take any action. Klein seemed optimistic that that would be accomplished.

“We want the construction of a building that’s consistent with the marketplace,” Klein said. “It’s got to be a building that’s viable in today’s marketplace. … The economy’s fragile, the demand is still slight, though it’s getting better. With careful planning, this building can be built.”

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