News - Kane County

St. Charles alderpersons voice support for proposed multi-use building in downtown St. Charles

The St. Charles Plan Commission Tuesday night will review plans for a proposed four-story mixed-use building at 1st and Prairie streets in downtown St. Charles.

Plans for a four-story mixed-use building at First and Prairie streets in downtown St. Charles continue to move forward.

The St. Charles City Council’s Planning and Development Committee reviewed the concept plans last week and was generally in favor of the plans. St. Charles-based J&B Builders has filed a concept plan for the remaining vacant lot in the Brownstone planned unit development.

The Brownstone planned unit development was approved to enable redevelopment of the former Piano Factory Mall site for townhomes. The land use plan adopted as part of the city’s 2013 comprehensive plan identifies the property as mixed use.

The proposed 50-foot-tall, four-story building would front South First Street. The first floor would house commercial space and parking while up to 20 condominium units would occupy the second to fourth floors.

The condominium units would be owned, not rented. Staff suggested the uses could be limited to business/professional office, retail or an art gallery. J&B Builders agreed with the recommendation.

“Our plan is for four to five boutiques that would be small – 700- to 900-square-foot units along First Street that would appeal to the owners in the surrounding community,” Brian Buoy, of J&B Builders, previously had said. “The commercial units will only be available for purchase for the buyers of the residential units to allow for that unique live/work relationship.”

Fourth Ward Alderperson Bryan Wirball said he would like to see some of the architectural elements of the nearby buildings incorporated in the project.

“It seems rather plain to me,” Wirball said.

Fourth Ward Alderperson David Pietryla also said he would like to see the building blend more with the other nearby buildings. Third Ward Alderperson Todd Bancroft, however, said he liked the contrasting architectural styles.

“I think it’s kind of a nice feel,” he said. “I think it’s a nice contrast.”

J&B Builders is requesting reimbursement for improvements on the public portion of the property including, but not limited to, excavation/stone, concrete work, landscaping, pavers, tree grates, plantings, mulch, irrigation and lighting. The company is requesting a reimbursement not to exceed $400,000.

“In the past, the city has reimbursed a developer for streetscape improvements within the First Street tax increment financing district,” city planner Ellen Johnson told alderpersons. “Note that this property is located outside of the TIF district.”

Second Ward Alderperson Ron Silkaitis had concerns about giving the developer financial assistance because the property is not in the TIF district.

“This would come out of the city’s general fund to do this,” Silkaitis said. “And I have a real concern with that. I would like to see more information on real costs versus estimates.”

That was the one big concern he had with the project.

“In general terms, I’m pretty satisfied with it,” Silkaitis said.

Plan commissioners on Aug. 2 reviewed the proposal and expressed support for the project. They also had several suggestions, including that traffic and pedestrian circulation around the First and Prairie intersection be evaluated in order to plan for future connections south to Mt. St. Mary Park.

The developer plans to act on that suggestion.

“If we do go forward with the development, we plan to perform the traffic study recommended by the Plan Commission,” Buoy told alderpersons. “We also plan to take in account staff recommendations regarding a pedestrian crossing and would be happy to incorporate any type of pedestrian crossing across Prairie into our site plan.”