Maybe if St. Charles called it Darth Mall…

It would appear that some St. Charles constituents are just as nervous about The Quad St. Charles as I am. And it would also appear that prospect is making at least one alderman even more nervous.

Upset with DH reporter Jim Fuller’s 4/22 take on the impending mall revitalization deal between the City and California based The Krausz Companies, 2nd Ward Alderman Rita Payleitner demanded a retraction.

Rita Ann Payleitner

Rita Ann Payleitner

Which begs that age old Zen koan question, how do you retract something that was never there in the first place? The correction Payleitner wanted was the removal of any allusion to Krausz issuing an ultimatum regarding their impending $20 million sales tax break.

Before we continue, and even though it’s giving away a company secret, I would humbly advise all Kane County politicians (even aldermen) to avoid “demanding” anything from a columnist, blogger, reporter, or editor. To quote the late, great Sam Kinison as he admonished a heckler, “Trust me, the last thing you really want is my complete and undivided attention.”

On the other hand, most editors will listen to reasonable requests and they almost always allow a reasonably written guest view.

The obvious irony in all this is, even though Jim never used the word, it actually was an ultimatum! To quote the developer himself as he referred to the massive city concession, “We believe this is an all-or-nothing proposition,” Krausz said, “We don’t see a halfway solution. Radical transformation is going to be expensive.”

Mr. Fuller even went as far as going back to Dan Krausz to determine if any of his in-print declarations were misrepresented in any way, shape or form. The end result of that conversation is there will be no correction.

Look, if I put myself in those STC city council shoes, I too would have a hard time voting against this project. They’re getting an empty mall torn down for “free,” there’s no upfront risk, and it allows that governmental group to wax poetically about “possibilities.”

But the truth is, there’s always a risk. When you look at the eyesore known as the former St. Charles Mall and you look at the stalled First Street project, St. Charles is developing a reputation as a City that sucks the life right out of retail. And a third failure might just make that permanent.

Not only that, but just like it is with mediocre baseball free agents, once some lunatic GM pays one of ’em $10 million, the rest are going to ask for the same thing in arbitration – and get it! (To prove my point, Edwin Jackson’s getting $15 million!)

I’m not saying politicians shouldn’t take risks, but if, like me, you believe the mall business model is dead, then there’s your answer. And even though I know it’s the worst kind of wishful thinking, I will continue to believe that city councils should do the right and not the expedient thing.

One thought on “Maybe if St. Charles called it Darth Mall…

  1. . . If St. Charles sucks the life right out of retail . . then Downtown Elgin must be a BLACK HOLE . . .

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