ALTON — An Alton native who has lived in California since 1982 is investing in his hometown area by recently purchasing four commercial properties costing $2.285 million.
“My wife has suggested for years that we buy property in Illinois,” said Charles “Chuck” DuVivier, 63, of Encinitas, north of San Diego. “I resisted for years, as we’ve been really (involved) in the real estate business in California.”
He said he changed his mind because of better investment opportunities in the Alton area. He also got reacquainted with his hometown while making frequent visits to his parents’ home as they prepared, then moved into a senior living facility.
DuVivier is a son of retired pediatrician Dr. Edward “Ned” and Marjorie DuVivier of Godfrey.
“There is lots of stuff happening in Alton and we want to be part of it,” he said.
Just this year, DuVivier and his wife Kate bought properties at 550 Landmarks Blvd. and 557 E. Broadway in Alton, both in February. In March they purchased 400 Landmarks Blvd., and 39,140-square foot Wilshire Mall at 651 Berkshire Blvd. in East Alton, all under ownership as Fair Oaks Valley LLC, public records indicate.
The couple, real estate managers and developers, solely comprises Fair Oaks Valley LLC.
Their building receiving their most attention now is 400 Landmarks Blvd., in which another married couple is planning to open The Old Bakery Beer Co. Crews from Quality Assured Industrial Painting of Alton are sandblasting off layers of old paint from the brick interior walls. They will be doing some painting, but DuVivier said plans are to leave the brick walls exposed.
DuVivier said he had been interested in buying that circa 1930, former Colonial Bakery building near the city’s riverfront but did not know what type of tenant it could attract.
“It is a really nice, old building but it was a mess,” he said. “It is big, with lots of light and columns, and the ceilings are high. It’s big and exciting; it’s intimidating being so big. It has a lot of character.”
Coincidentally, the real estate firm he was working with also was trying to find a location for a microbrewery for Alton natives James Rogalsky and Lauren Pattan, now of St. Louis. An agent put the clients in touch with each other, in essence finding a major tenant for DuVivier, who then bought the property.
Once the renovations are completed for the brewery, which Rogalsky said may open around Thanksgiving, DuVivier said he wants to rent space on the upper floor to other tenants.
“We are trying to get someone that doesn’t conflict” with the microbrewery-restaurant, he said.
The brewery, restaurant, bar and banquet room will occupy about 18,410 square feet of the 42,779 square-foot, three-story brick building.
As part of the purchase, DuVivier also got the long-empty, metal-sided building on the 1.2-acre site that had housed Colonial’s discounted bakery products store but currently has no plans for the structure.
“I would like to use it someday,” he said.
He said the parking lot is sufficient for the time being, only in need of a coating and striping, and he may pave it later. “The building has a lot of issues” that need attention first, he said.
At this point, DuVivier said 550 Landmarks Blvd., the former Germania Federal Savings and Loan Association building, is full with six tenants and he plans no immediate major renovations. The East Alton building has space for lease and he is seeking a tenant or tenants.
DuVivier, a former City Council member and previous mayor of Encinitas, has been involved in numerous civic and humanitarian projects in California and internationally.
Linda N. Weller may be reached at 618-463-2559 or on Twitter @Linda_Weller.