The city’s purchase of the former , offers an opportunity for the building next door, the , to get some elbow room.
City Administrator Brian Townsend said Monday night, after the St. Charles City Council’s vote to purchase the building, that while the city has no specific plan for the building, it offers an option to partner with the historical Arcada Theatre, which has no room for growth.
“At this point, we don’t have a specific use intended for the building, however I don’t think that it would be beyond the realm of possibility to see it used as an annex or adjunct facility to the Arcada Theatre, Townsend said. “What we would like to do is to sit down with Scott Price, the owner of the Arcada Theatre building, and Ron Onesti, who operates the theater (via a lease agreement), and determine if there is a way that we could partner with them to make the George’s Sporting goods facility an asset to that theater and expand its footprint, both physically and economically.”
“There is no question that the Arcada Theatre is an asset in our downtown,” Mayor Donald DeWitte said in a press release issued Tusday morning. “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.”
Townsend described the theater as an economic engine downtown. Over the past several months, Townsend said, the city performed an economic impact study that determine the Arcada Theatre has a $2 million annual economic impact on downtown St. Charles. But, he said, the study points out that the Arcada’s economic impact is limited by its lack of modern facilities — bathrooms, concessions areas, pre-function areas — that could increase its potential.
The study, Townsend said, indicated the addition of modern amenities and some extra space could boost the Arcada’s annual economic impact to as much as $2.4 million.
“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,” said St. Charles Economic Development Director Chris Aiston. “We hope to expand that to create even more economic activity and further expand the tax base.”