At last, the empty Giesche Shoes store may finally undergo it’s long-awaited transformation, as the owner of Maize + Mash has proposed a new plan for the building which has been vacant since 2014. The vision for the new space includes a restaurant (we don’t really need another one of these–but if it’s good I’ll take it), a café (interesting, with Blackberry Market across the street) and an event space (intriguing).
As with many other small brick and mortar operations these days, Giesche’s went out of business and has sadly sat empty for far too long. Back in the day Giesche’s was where my family would go to get all of our shoes, and when you’re young and need to replace your gym shoes every year, it was always a memorable experience to go in and pick out a new pair. I remember enjoying walking up the open staircase to the second floor of the building and peering out the vast wall of windows overlooking Main Street. After more than 60 years in business, I’m sure there are many other residents who have similar memories of Giesche’s, so it’s always a little sad to pass by the empty store.
Maize + Mash owner Nick Roberge is the man behind the plan, who also owns Barrel + Rye and The Burger Local in Geneva. He and co-owner Jack Waters are launching a new burger venture in Wheaton called The Burger Social at 108 N. Hale Street, so these guys know what they’re doing and do it well. The Glen Ellyn plan commission will be reviewing the concept for the Giesche building this Thursday, November 9 at 7 pm in the Civic Center as part of a pre-application meeting.
“The idea is just to see if there’s any interest in the concept itself. What they want to do is see if there is any support for this type of project before they decide whether they’re even going to go forward,” said Glen Ellyn Planning and Development Director Staci Hulseberg.
According to the Daily Herald, the preliminary proposal would split the first floor of the building with 3,300 square feet set aside for the restaurant and 3,500 square feet allotted to the café. The second floor would be all for the event space, estimated at about 6,300 square feet. Developer Joel Frieders believes an event space in close proximity to the Metra station “would be highly sought after by wedding parties, reunions and smaller gatherings.”
My favorite part of this new vision for the building is the inclusion of both an outdoor patio, and rooftop dining, two aspects that were promised to be a part of the Two Hound Red microbrewery that is currently under construction but behind schedule. While this plan for the Giesche building is still purely conceptual and far from a sure thing, the mere possibility of a new development at the corner of Hillside and Main is news to get excited about.
Stay tuned for further details after Thursday night’s meeting.