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George’s Building Could Be Used as Arcada Annex

Building has space the Arcada does not for amenities that are either too small or missing in the historical theater, city official says.

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.”

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Steve Swanson December 18, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Some of the ideas--bathrooms, concession areas, pre-function areas--might be valid uses for the space, but I think that there are even better ways to use it: why not devote some of it to a performance area for local bands, poetry readings, stand-up and improv comedy...things that would not make sense for the Arcada because the draw might not be large enough. Maybe the upstairs could be used for such or as rehersal areas or even a theater group, like the Steel Beam.
joss December 19, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Interesting discussions on this topic over here http://stcharles-il.patch.com/articles/city-of-st-charles-to-buy-george-s-sports-center-building-for-225-000#comments_list
joss December 19, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Why is the city giving Onesti hundreds of thousands of dollars (and he didn't even have to ask for it?!) Hmm...seems the City of St. Charles has already given Onesti $80k, of which he was supposed to repay all but $41,250 (no mention of whether Onesti ever repaid this partial "loan") and given another $65k for various interior improvements , not to mention various tax breaks, etc. Google "Onesti" and most results also include Dewitte...I have no problem with the city fairly and transparently supporting local businesses, but I do have a problem with cronyism. http://stcharlesil.gov/sites/default/files/meetings/2011/attachments/a03-07-11-cc-IIB2.pdf http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20100307/news/303079944/print/ http://insidestcharles.com/category/collaboration/page/2/

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