The St. Charles City Council on Monday gave a clearer idea of what it would like to see developed on the former St. Charles police station site along the Fox River.
During a special workshop meeting, alderpersons reviewed four proposals for the site. In September 2019, the department’s new $24.6 million state-of-the-art police station at 1515 W. Main St. opened. The new 56,000-square-foot station replaced the department’s former quarters at 211 N. Riverside Ave., portions of which date back almost 100 years.
The majority of alderpersons voiced their preference for two of the four proposals. That includes a proposal by Frontier Development, which has been involved with several projects in downtown St. Charles.
Frontier Development, along with Chicago-based The Prime Group, proposes to build one six-story building and parking garage that would contain 107 residential units, four restaurants, 164 hotel rooms, a spa/fitness center and conference space. An 85,000-square-foot outdoor plaza, two rooftop pools and 750 lineal feet of public riverwalk also are part of the plans.
The project would cost about $150 million to build, with the developers asking the city for a $20 million incentive.
Alderpersons also voiced their preference for a proposal submitted by Chicago-based Murphy Development Group that calls for the construction of a five- to seven-story building that would house 138 apartments, one restaurant and 3,000 square feet of commercial space. The project would cost an estimated $60.5 million, with the developer not seeking any incentives from the city.
St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek stressed that the nearby St. Charles Municipal Building – which was built in 1940 and is on the National Register of Historic Places – is not part of any development proposal.
Alderpersons also expressed their personal preferences for how they would like to see the property developed. Fourth Ward Alderman Bryan Wirball expressed concerns about the height of the buildings in the plans.
“What impact will it have on the neighborhood?” he asked.
Wirball also stressed the need for any proposal to set aside plenty of land for public use.
“I think there should be more of a public amenity, like an amphitheater,” he said. “Make it bigger, make it public.”
First Ward Alderman Ron Silkaitis said that “personally, I would like to see it just stay the way it is.”
“Clean it up and make it a park,” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen and I think my colleagues will all agree with that. And I respect that, too.”
He also is not in favor of putting a hotel on the site.
Residents also weighed in on the proposals, including former Kane County Board member Philip Lewis.
“If I were in your seat, I would ask for a proposal from the St. Charles Park District,” Lewis said in addressing alderpersons. “If the city were to donate the land, what kind of a vision would the St. Charles Park District have for the property? I would ask the Kane County Forest Preserve, if the city of St. Charles gave you this land, what vision would you have? Our community deserves this group of 10 people pursuing all opportunities. And I do not see you doing that.”