Bringing new life to the largest entertainment resort in the Midwest

The indoor-outdoor pool at Pheasant Run is a highlight at the resort.

The indoor-outdoor pool at Pheasant Run is a highlight at the resort.

by Dan Rafter

The Pheasant Run Resort & Spa has had a long history in the western suburbs of Chicago. The 250-acre resort in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles first opened its doors in 1963. The 473-room property markets itself as the largest entertainment resort in the Midwest.

The resort, though, has not been immune to the effects of aging. It has also suffered from the sluggish economy, falling into foreclosure — where it remains — in 2011.

That’s why so many in and around St. Charles welcomed the news that a group of hotel operators and investors operating under the name Saint Charles Resort, LLC purchased the property on March 12.

Hostmark Hospitality Group, which has a long history of its own of developing and operating resort properties, will now manage Pheasant Run’s $5 million capital improvement project. Terms of the sale have not been disclosed.

“Being a Chicago-based operator, we have significant knowledge of Pheasant Run’s history and position in the region,” said Jerome Cataldo, chief executive officer of Hostmark Hospitality Group. “We know that the resort has fallen onto some hard financial times in recent years, not unlike many other hospitality assets have. We felt there was an opportunity to come in and stabilize the situation and improve the resort moving forward.”

An aerial shot of the resort's 18-hole golf course.

An aerial shot of the resort’s 18-hole golf course.

What do the improvement plans entail? Cataldo said that his company has both long-term and short-term plans to boost the resort, but that it is too early to get into specifics as the deal to purchase the property came together so quickly.

A press release announcing the resort’s sale said that capital improvements will include upgraded infrastructure and new looks for the building’s exteriors, public spaces and guest rooms and baths. Cataldo said that Hostmark will soon hire a prominent Chicago interior design firm to plan many of these improvements.

There is a lot to work with at the resort. Pheasant run boasts an 18-hole golf course, spa, two restaurants, 320-seat theater, comedy club, two pool bars, three lounges and three pools. It is also located just one hour west of Chicago.

The resort has been a strong player in the convention business, too, attracting plenty during its long history. It features more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space, 45 meeting rooms, two expo centers, three ballrooms and a 320-seat tiered auditorium.

“There are a lot of good attributes to the property,” Cataldo said. “It offers some unique features and capabilities. We’ll build on those and improve on those.”

Cataldo said that the golf course and exhibition space are two features that are especially strong at the resort, giving it a built-in advantage when competing for both leisure and business guests. The capital improvement plan will provide a boost to the resort’s other areas, Cataldo said.

“We are not suggesting a tear-down or anything of that nature,” Cataldo said. “We would like to improve it. We would like it to evolve into the next generation of a Pheasant Run that is relevant for the business demands and the social demands that are out there today.”

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