The City of St. Charles is continuing to study alternatives related to the revitalization of Charlestowne Mall. Nationally-known retail expert John Melaniphy has completed an assessment of Charlestowne Mall and the market area it serves. The city has received the final version of the Melaniphy report and is holding a community workshop on August 9th. The Melaniphy report is more extensive than the presentation that was made at the June 11th Planning & Development Committee meeting and provides information to support the recommendations that Mr. Melaniphy made at that time.
The findings include the following recommendations:
- Mall ownership needs to be replaced with an aggressive developer/owner who will invest money into the mall.
- The mall’s name needs to be changed and a new image created.
- Charlestowne Mall needs to be downsized by approximately 250,000 square feet. Eliminating the Sears concourse will cut tenant space by 250,000 square feet, or 52.7 percent.
- Eliminate the berms in front of the mall for better visibility and possible restaurant development.
- Add a Mariano’s Supermarket where Sears was located, along with other major box stores.
- Consider adding some additional stores with Mariano’s such as DSW, Ross Dress for Less, Burlington Coat Factory, Best Buy, hh Gregg, Half priced books, Gordman’s, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Staples, Abt Electronics, LL Bean, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, Woodman’s, Plum Markets, a major Fitness Center, and others.
- Contact Abt Electronics because they are the leaders in appliance & electronic sales in the Chicago area and they need a southwestern store.
- Add entertainment venues like Dave & Busters.
- Create a restaurant “Street” or restaurant “Park” near the cinema and improve the Food Court. Add casual dining - a mix of Italian, American, Seafood, Sports Bar, Steaks, Pizza, and a perhaps a banquet facility. If physically possible, create a retention pond so that some of the restaurants can be “on water” with a link to the mall.
- Commence re-leasing the mall to previous specialty tenants, especially apparel & accessory stores.
- If necessary, move government offices into the mall, as well as universities, colleges, trade schools, and others into the mall.
- There may be a market for multi-family housing and a hotel in the back of the Mall.
Clearly, some of these items listed are within the exclusive control of the current property owner. The city intends to communicate the recommendations to the mall owner and encourage them to consider implementation. The city will also offer assistance in implementation in whatever ways it can.
The next step in the process is a visioning workshop with the community. All residents, businesses, and other interested parties are encouraged to attend the workshop to share their thoughts and ideas about the future vision of Charlestowne Mall.
The date and location for the Charlestowne Mall visioning session is 7 pm on Thursday, August 9th in the Council Chambers at City Hall.