Written by Jack McCarthy
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 00:00
Iconic building could boost St. Charles theater, downtown
The sale of a longtime business structure in St. Charles could give a lift to the landmark Arcada Theatre as well as downtown business.
Earlier this month the city approved purchase of the iconic George's Sporting Goods building form the Poczekaj family, which closed their business earlier this year, after more than 40 years of business.
Acquisition of the building, located at 107-109 East Main Street in downtown St. Charles, has been of interest to the city for many years. The Poczekaj family decided at this stage in their lives, the mounting maintenance demands of the building made an opportune time to sell.
The St. Charles City Council approved a contract to purchase the property at its Dec. 17, meeting. The closing of the transaction is scheduled to take place before the end of the calendar year.
The building has been in a state of disrepair for some time and is consistently cited as a property that is in need of refurbishment by the Downtown St. Charles Partnership.
Aside from the obvious maintenance needs to the exterior, structural deficiencies inside the building also exist. While demolition is an option, the city hopes to rehabilitate and adapt the building for an alternative use, preferably as an annex to the adjacent Arcada Theatre.
A recent study indicated that the Arcada Theatre generates approximately $2 million in economic activity annually through direct, indirect, and induced spending, and creates 30 jobs.
The report also cited a lack of modern amenities as a major impediment to improved performance. This includes meeting and pre-function space, modern restrooms, concessions facilities and other complimentary uses. The city hopes to work in partnership with other stakeholders to address those issues and thereby enhancing the overall economic vitality of the facility.
The purchase will be paid for with approximately $230,000 in funds from other capital projects that came in below budget, and from projects that do not need to be completed this year.
St. Charles Mayor Donald P. DeWitte touted the purchase as a wise investment in the future of St. Charles.
“There is no question that the Arcada Theatre is an asset in our downtown. It has long been a landmark property and has served as a cultural and entertainment center for over 85 years. The facility has served the city well and I look forward to continuing that fine tradition.”
St. Charles Economic Development Director Chris Aiston sees the purchase as something that could pay dividends in the future.
“The Arcada draws patrons to shop, dine, and stay in our hotels. Restaurants cite the venue as something that pushes additional business through their doors, whenever performances are held. We hope to expand that to create even more economic activity and further expand the tax base.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 11:18