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St. Charles Officials Discourage Razing of Historic Judd House

Developer trying to revive Foxwood Square project meets informal opposition for second week in a row.

The Judd House, 309 6th Ave., St. Charles, Ill. | Credit: City of St. Charles
The Judd House, 309 6th Ave., St. Charles, Ill. | Credit: City of St. Charles

A week ago, it was the St. Charles Plan Commission that gave a less than lukewarm reception to a local developer’s pitch of a concept plan that includes razing the historic Judd House as part of a reboot of the Foxwood Square project.


On Monday, Michael Ciampi of Michael Vincent Homes learned that St. Charles aldermen had similar concerns — about preserving the Judd House, about maintaining the integrity of the city’s relatively new historic preservation ordinance, and about ensuring that the Foxwood Square project itself continue as it originally was approved.


While neither the Plan Commission nor the City Council Planning and Development Committee cast any votes on the concept plan, it is clear the developer faces an uphill battle getting approval for a reboot of the project that would raze the mansion to make more room for several new homes at the site.


The Judd House sits on the block bordered by Indiana Avenue on the north, South 6th Avenue on the east, Ohio Avenue on the south, and South 5th Avenue (Route 25) on the west. The home, which was built in 1878, and its yard occupied the entire block.




The original planned unit development ordinance for the site was approved by the city in 2007, and called for the construction of five duplexes along the edge of the block, and the conversion of the mansion into two condominiums. The developer built only two units on the site before filing for bankruptcy, and the project has remained in limbo ever since.


Michael Vincent Homes wants to reboot the project, but believes to do so, it must demolish the mansion to make room for three more housing units on the site as well as for additional off-street parking. He needs city approval to vary from the original planned unit development ordinance approved in 2007, as well as city approval to raze the mansion.


Ciampi told aldermen on Monday that renovating the Judd House would be expensive — he estimated the building would need to be gutted, with a cost of $400,000 to restore each of two duplexes that would be house in the mansion, making that aspect of the project a financial hardship.


He also said the mansion’s aesthetics are not favorable for the development.


While the original PUD called for residential units of as much as 3,000 square feet and costing in the neighborhood of $600,000, Ciampi said Michael Vincent Homes wants to build more, smaller units of about 2,000 square feet and selling for a little more than $300,000 each.


But, as did plan commissioners on Jan. 7, aldermen questioned whether the old mansion should be torn down, noting it is a unique structure in the community.


Other concerns raised about the project include the increased density of the new concept plan, as well as concerns that the design of the buildings does not blend with the Judd House.


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A week ago, it was the St. Charles Plan Commission that gave a less than lukewarm reception to a local developer’s pitch of a concept plan that includes razing the historic Judd House as part of a reboot of the Foxwood Square project.


On Monday, Michael Ciampi of Michael Vincent Homes learned that St. Charles aldermen had similar concerns — about preserving the Judd House, about maintaining the integrity of the city’s relatively new historic preservation ordinance, and about ensuring that the Foxwood Square project itself continue as it originally was approved.


While neither the Plan Commission nor the City Council Planning and Development Committee cast any votes on the concept plan, it is clear the developer faces an uphill battle getting approval for a reboot of the project that would raze the mansion to make more room for several new homes at the site.


The Judd House sits on the block bordered by Indiana Avenue on the north, South 6th Avenue on the east, Ohio Avenue on the south, and South 5th Avenue (Route 25) on the west. The home, which was built in 1878, and its yard occupied the entire block.




The original planned unit development ordinance for the site was approved by the city in 2007, and called for the construction of five duplexes along the edge of the block, and the conversion of the mansion into two condominiums. The developer built only two units on the site before filing for bankruptcy, and the project has remained in limbo ever since.


Michael Vincent Homes wants to reboot the project, but believes to do so, it must demolish the mansion to make room for three more housing units on the site as well as for additional off-street parking. He needs city approval to vary from the original planned unit development ordinance approved in 2007, as well as city approval to raze the mansion.


Ciampi told aldermen on Monday that renovating the Judd House would be expensive — he estimated the building would need to be gutted, with a cost of $400,000 to restore each of two duplexes that would be house in the mansion, making that aspect of the project a financial hardship.


He also said the mansion’s aesthetics are not favorable for the development.


While the original PUD called for residential units of as much as 3,000 square feet and costing in the neighborhood of $600,000, Ciampi said Michael Vincent Homes wants to build more, smaller units of about 2,000 square feet and selling for a little more than $300,000 each.


But, as did plan commissioners on Jan. 7, aldermen questioned whether the old mansion should be torn down, noting it is a unique structure in the community.


Other concerns raised about the project include the increased density of the new concept plan, as well as concerns that the design of the buildings does not blend with the Judd House.


Let Patch save you time. Our free newsletter can be delivered to your inbox. Fast signup here. Then like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @StCharlsILPatch.
Lois Lane January 15, 2014 at 07:47 AM
Sure, you could tear the Judd house down and put all the pieces in the same place the Farnsworth mansion is stored. Wasn't bad enough that this developer was allowed to cut down all the beautiful trees on this property? That was just shocking to watch!
Kelly Kramer January 15, 2014 at 08:39 AM
I'm relatively new to the area, but I love this building. Has there ever been any talk of turning it into an arts center and studio space?
Steve Rogers January 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM
An arts center is a grand idea. If the city values the building that much then it should put its money where its mouth is and buy it and rehab it. No private developer in his right mind is going to do it.
Lois Lane January 15, 2014 at 01:07 PM
Yes, an arts center is an excellent idea. Or perhaps the Park District could use it for classes or meetings.
Kim Malay January 15, 2014 at 11:51 PM
Personally I think looking at this property for a senior housing development would be a great use. The home use to be a nursing home for a few decades. It could be done again then build additional units like they did by the old Delnor. We need senior housing, it does not impact the schools and would be a great way to preserve the home. I commend the Council for supporting the preservation of this home.

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