Life Time Fitness Development in Chicago Suburb Gains Approval

The development project approved the Northbrook Illinois Village Board this week includes a Life Time Fitness club Rendering courtesy Development Summary handout
<p>The development project approved the Northbrook, Illinois, Village Board this week includes a Life Time Fitness club. (Rendering courtesy Development Summary handout.)</p>

Life Time Fitness, Chanhassen, Minnesota, has succeeded where other companies have failed through the years in a bid to develop a controversial suburban Chicago real estate site.

The Northbrook Village Board on Tuesday approved the Life Time Fitness-led proposal for a mixed use development at 1000 Skokie Boulevard, according to a Northbrook Star report. The project calls for a 91,000-square-foot Life Time Fitness club, a Finger Companies luxury apartment building and a 43,000-square-foot Children's Learning Adventure day care facility on the 18-acre site. Failed attempts at developing the site included a proposed Marriott hotel, Costco and Walmart (twice in 2004 and 2013).

The project gained approval from the Village Board on a 4-to-3 vote. Village President Sandy Frum was one of the votes against the project. Michael Scolaro, who voted for the project, called it "a positive step up for Northbrook," and Todd Heller, who voted against the proposal, called it "ugly," according to the Northbrook Star report.

The Village Board's vote came one week after the Northbrook Building and Zoning Committee voted 2-to-1 to recommend the project be approved by the Village Board, according to a Northbrook Star report.

The committee reviewed the proposed redesign of the apartment building that would cut the number of apartments by 10 percent to 304 units, and a proposed redesign of the parking lot to alleviate traffic flow concerns around the club and the day care center. The committee heard from some members of The Northbrook Justice Team, a social advocacy group that pushed for more affordable housing on the site.

On Jan. 12, the Village Board was scheduled to consider legal documents and approve the concept plan and tentative plat for the proposal. The board heard from those for and against the project at the meeting before calling on the committee to meet for a "thorough and quick review" of the proposal.

Some residents at that meeting expressed concerns about the development increasing traffic in the area. One resident in support said adding fitness and daycare facilities would increase property values by attracting younger people. One business owner neighboring the site who supported the project said he did not want to be "next to a vacant mound of dirt."

Life Time Fitness, which was part of a 2008 development proposal at the site, will add to a competitive mix of club options for consumers in the area when it opens. An open date has yet to be announced. The Northbrook North Suburban YMCA, LA Fitness, Five Seasons Family Sports Club, 9Round, Eco Gym and Hot Ground Gym are all within 10 miles of 1000 Skokie Boulevard.

Life Time Fitness did not immediately respond to a request from Club Industry seeking comment for this story.

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