Plans moving forward to convert historic factory building in St. Charles into apartments
Developer Bob Rasmussen has a history of preserving historic structures.
Now he is involved with an effort to preserve a two-story brick manufacturing building constructed in 1904 for the Heinz Brothers Cut Glass Co. and later used as a lamp factory. Rasmussen and his business partners recently purchased the building at the northeast corner of South 13th and Indiana avenues in St. Charles. "We like the history of it, and we like the look of it," Rasmussen said. "It's worth saving."
The previous owner of the building dropped plans to convert it into 14 luxury townhouses because he said the structure had fallen into disrepair and was too costly to save. Rasmussen disputed that contention.
"Anything can be saved," he said. "It's just a matter of what it takes to save it. It's still in pretty good shape. There's a decent amount of work to do. But it's not insurmountable."
Rasmussen is working on the project with two partners, Roland Dzekciorius and Rick Dahl.
"Roland has worked with me for many years and owns Roland's Masonry," Rasmussen said. "His insight and expertise on the exterior structure/facade was critical in the decision to purchase and save the building. He's already begun a lot of the restoration work on the exterior to shore it up and make sure it's all in good shape. And we're currently in the process of putting the roof on it, getting it weather-tight for the winter so that we can work on our future development plans."
They plan on converting the building into apartments.
"We own quite a few apartments between St. Charles and Geneva, so we'll probably continue down that path," he said. "Our final plans will probably get in front of the city sometime before Christmas."
Officials with the nonprofit group Preservation Partners of Fox Valley are excited the building will be preserved.
"The Heinz Brothers' Cut Glass Factory is a significant structure that tells the story of the growth of St. Charles at the beginning of the 20th century," Al Watts, community engagement director for Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, said in an email. "This factory and others like it -- such as the Cable Piano Factory, which no longer stands -- brought hundreds of jobs to St. Charles for men and women. The neighborhood near the cut glass factory was mostly undeveloped prior to its construction in 1904. Housing began to spring up in that neighborhood after the factory was built."
Watts said Preservation Partners is assisting Rasmussen with a review of the structure's potential eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. Being placed on the register would make the building eligible for state and federal historic preservation tax credits, he said.