What Should Fill the Vacant Corner at State Street and East Side Drive?

Visions for Vacancies: What would be the highest and best use for the property at the corner, next to Orlando's?

A reader e-mailed me with this question:

I grew up in Geneva and have been here for 28 years. (I currently live on the East Side.) I always pass the vacant corner at State and East Side Drive and wonder if there's been any interest from anyone to buy the property and build on it (if it's still for sale), if there are reasons why its not being developed (economic/environmental). I know at one point there were fuel tanks buried from the old gas station, but they've since been removed. I always wonder what would be "cool" to have go in there.

Here are responses from Geneva's two 3rd-Ward aldemen.

From Dean Kilburg:

"When we moved to Geneva in the 1980s, this was the site of a discount gas station and a good location for kids to ride their bike to buy pop and candy. I am aware that the site had the tanks removed and the land remediated over the last 15 years.

"Unfortunately for Geneva, the property has been tied up in a protracted legal struggle involving the lease hold—Orlando’s Pizza and Earle Aronson the property owner.

"Like many East Side residents, the new fire station, the Safanda Law Office and the addition of CVS and Aldi’s greatly benefited both the general appearance and level of commerce for East Side residents.

"It would be nice to see the northeast corner of this intersection further developed. Prior to the Aldi’s construction, I remember seeing a site plan for both the Aronson and the current Aldi property as a triangular parcel with a diagonal strip mall across the northern edge of the two parcels. I believe the Aronson site did present both some opportunities as well as some challenges (traffic flow) when it came to the eventual planning surrounding the current Aldi store.

"As you are probably aware, at one time this parcel and the land north of the site was the home of the Geneva Municipal Airport when aviation was in its infancy in the 1920s and 1930s. How Geneva has changed over the last 90 years!

"As to your writer’s inquiry, I would agree that it would be nice to see some final legal resolution and a clear path forward for those who see further retail potential and development for this busy and important East Side intersection."

Here's the response from Dawn Vogelsberg: 

"Dean has presented an excellent history of that piece of property and some of the challenges it has faced. I believe it is ready to go for any type of development if the right buyer comes along with a proposal/price the property owner agrees with. We residents and the city stand ready to help in any way once that situation comes along."

What would you like to see at that corner? Share your ideas in the comments section below.


Max October 15, 2012 at 05:24 PM
In Geneva, that's no joke.
Chad Baker October 15, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Independent coffee shop with an on-site roastery.
Michael H. October 15, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Please find a place in Geneva for a REAL Lou Malnati's restaurant, like in Naperville.
Ray Echer October 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I like this idea! A nice sit down restaurant would be a good idea, too. There's too much fast food in the area, it would be good to have a bit of diversity.
charles jennings December 03, 2012 at 05:45 PM
How about a gas manufacturing plant? There's still plenty of contamination down there from the piecemeal remediation job the consultant performed. I really don't think any potential buyer with a good consultant would recommend that piece of property to his client...


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