Proposed TIF district for former Pheasant Run Resort moving ahead

The main lobby, Bourbon Street, and the A, B and E wings of the hotel rooms at Pheasant Run were destroyed, according to a news release from the St. Charles Fire Department.

A tax increment financing district being proposed to spur the redevelopment of the shuttered Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles continues to move forward in the approval process.

On Dec. 1, a Joint Review Board recommended to the city that the proposed Pheasant Run Redevelopment Plan and Redevelopment Project complies with the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Act and should be approved and that the Pheasant Run Tax Increment Redevelopment Project Area satisfies the eligibility criteria defined in the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act.

A Joint Review Board is made up of one representative from each taxing authority affected by a TIF along with a public member. Representatives from Wayne Township, St. Charles School District 303, the St. Charles Park District and the St. Charles Public Library District were at the Dec. 1 meeting.

The vote was unanimous. The St. Charles City Council will review the recommendation.

A public hearing on the redevelopment plan and project is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 3 at the St. Charles Municipal Building.

St. Charles Economic Development Director Derek Conley said he was pleased with the Joint Review Board’s recommendation.

“We always want to be good partners with our taxing bodies and to have them show up and show their support is good,” he said. “And now we move on to the next step, which is the public hearing, just so we can get input from anyone else that’s interested and then we will take this to the City Council.”

Once a municipality creates a TIF district, its property assessment is frozen and new or increased taxes generated by improvements are used to pay for improvements or other development incentives.

Pheasant Run Resort closed in March 2020 after a failed attempt to auction the resort. McGrath Honda redeveloped the former Pheasant Run Mega Center adjacent to the property, and industrial buildings will be built on the former Pheasant Run Resort golf course.

The plan estimates it will cost $42.6 million to redevelop Pheasant Run Resort. That includes an estimated $16.5 million in demolition, site preparation and environmental cleanup along with $9 million in land acquisition and assembly.

Other costs include $3 million in infrastructure/public facilities improvements, $1.5 million in rehabilitation costs, $5.5 million in interest costs and $6 million in statutory school district payments. But as Conley said, there isn’t a proposed project or even a defined land use beyond commercial for the property at this time.

“Thus determining the redevelopment costs is very difficult,” Conley said. “The $42 million captures all possible costs in the event that they are needed. However, for any potential project, it is not realistic that the full $42 million would be utilized.”

Conley also said just because it’s an estimated redevelopment cost doesn’t mean it’s going to be paid for by the TIF.

“The city is only looking to fill in a financial gap for a potential development,” he said. “A majority of the redevelopment costs will be born by the prospective developer.”

Conley also said the estimated redevelopment costs are for the entire former Pheasant Run property, including the former golf course. A fire in May that destroyed large parts of the Pheasant Run Resort has increased the need to use tax increment finances to spur its redevelopment, according to the plan.

Two male juveniles – one from Carol Stream and one from Wheaton – have been charged with causing the fire, while two other male juveniles – one from Carol Stream and one from Winfield – each have been charged with trespassing at the resort.

The plan addresses the fire and its impact on redeveloping the property.

“These conditions negatively impact the possibility for coordinated and substantial private sector reinvestment in the overall redevelopment project area,” according to the plan. “Without the use of city planning and economic development resources to address certain issues, potential redevelopment activities are not likely to be economically feasible. These factors potentially weaken the likelihood for redevelopment opportunities, limiting employment and contributing to a lack of future investment in the area. To address these conditions, the city seeks to adopt the Pheasant Run TIF in order to enhance future opportunities for viable redevelopment.”

The plan states the permanent closure of the Pheasant Run Resort and golf course, along with the resort’s physical demise and partial destruction by the fire “and the resulting impacts in this strategically critical area of the city, especially in light of the decline of the Charlestowne Mall across the street, requires the city to be proactive in encouraging its redevelopment.”