Second Ward Alderperson Rita Payleitner wants to know the feasibility of redeveloping the former police station site along the Fox River in St. Charles before considering any development plans for the site.
During the St. Charles City Council meeting Nov. 21, Payleitner proposed that at the next City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting Dec. 12, alderpersons should vote on a motion directing staff to do a feasibility study of the former police station site.
“Such a study should include, but not be limited, to infrastructure limitations, geotechnical analysis and environmental evaluations, and from these studies develop new guidelines for request for concept (request for proposal) submissions,” she said. “And in so doing, return all submitted plans with an invitation to resubmit along with any other new proposals once updated guidelines on feasibility have been developed.”
After the meeting, Payleitner said she hoped a feasibility study of the site would provide clarity to the City Council on what can be done when it comes to the redevelopment of the site.
“We’re not doing anybody any favors if we’re going to move forward with a big giant plan that can’t be built,” she said.
St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek recently said she plans to revisit the redevelopment process in the spring. There has been much public opposition to Frontier Development’s plans for the site. Frontier Development, in partnership with Chicago-based The Prime Group and Architectural Wood Expressions, 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 up to $20 million tax increment financing and revenue sharing financing provided by the city.
Alderpersons also have been reviewing Murphy Development Group’s proposal to build a five- to seven-story building that would house 141 apartments, a restaurant and retail space. The project would cost an estimated $60.5 million, with the developer not seeking any incentives from the city.
Resident Mike Kanute applauded Payleitner’s proposal.
“I think it’s a productive step forward,” said Kanute, part of a group called Citizens for Responsible Development. The group is opposed to Frontier Development’s plan for several reasons, including that the proposal is too big for the riverfront and that heavy traffic will overwhelm the surrounding neighborhoods and Main Street.
“We just want responsible development that makes sense for that site and makes sense for the community,” Kanute said. “We continue to hear from people in our community in opposition to the Frontier Development proposal specifically.”
Vitek has said resident feedback is integral to the process, has been gathered in various ways and will continue to be accumulated by email, public comments in meetings and City Council interactions.
“Every resident’s opinions and thoughts are important,” she said. “The redevelopment of the former police station site has sparked much discussion, reflecting a variety of viewpoints and sometimes invoking an impassioned response. I welcome the discussion and all discourse that focuses on the positivity of what St. Charles is and what it can be. I will always lead my decisions based on such positivity.”