Plans for a Life Time Athletic Resort unanimously pass Naperville planning commission

Life Time Athletic Resorts — formerly known as Life Time Fitness — has received the endorsement of the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission for a new health club it wants to build at the southeast corner of 103rd Street and Route 59.

The 108,270-square-foot facility would not only offer traditional fitness equipment, but amenities that include a full-service spa, beauty salon, cafe, indoor pool, sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, physical therapy space and child care service for members using the facility, attorney Russ Whitaker told the commission last week on behalf of the company.

Life Time also is planning to take advantage of Naperville’s affinity for pickleball by offering both indoor and outdoor courts devoted to the fast-growing sport.

The facility, Whitaker said, will offer “more of that resort lifestyle, more of that country club lifestyle.”

In March 2023, the Naperville City Council agreed to sell 12.55 acres of the city’s 22.19-acre South 40 Lots site to Life Time for the fitness and recreational sports complex.

Under the approved purchase and sale agreement, LTF Real Estate Co. Inc. — the real estate arm of Life Time — will pay $12 per square foot for the land, or $6.56 million.

The sale has not yet closed, according to Bill Novack, director of the city’s Transportation, Engineering and Development department, because LTF was allowed time to put their project plan together, inspect the prospective grounds, and secure the necessary approvals and entitlements.

What went before the Naperville commission Wednesday was part of that process, Novack said.

LTF Real Estate brought three requests to the commission: rezoning for the property from community shopping center district to office, commercial and institutional district; a variance allowing Life Time to build a sign that typically would not meet code requirements; and resubdivision of the South 40 site into four lots, with first going to Life Time.

The resubdivision matter was only brought forward for reference, according to city staff, as commission review is not needed. Final approval is made by the city council.

As for the rezoning and sign variance requests, planners OK’d both unanimously. Novack said the matter could go to the council at its May 21 meeting or the first meeting in June.

Life Time’s development is part of a recent push to fill out the South 40 lots.

The city purchased the property in the late 1980s. Over the years, a fire station, an elevated water tank and a water reservoir, as well as office buildings for a local township, have been built on the site. That left the city with 22 acres of surplus land that is no longer needed.

In 2021, Naperville asked developers to submit proposals for building affordable housing for seniors and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a portion of the land. After months of deliberation and negotiations, the council agreed to sell a portion to Wisconsin-based Gorman & Co. for the housing project, which is now working to secure additional funding for the project, Novack said.

Should both the affordable housing and Life Time facility projects go forward as planned, only about five acres will remain. No decisions have been made on how that acreage should be used, Novack said.