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Article updated: 8/23/2013 12:39 PM

Indoor sky diving business coming to Naperville

By Marie Wilson

A .7-acre lot in Naperville's Freedom Commons originally set aside for a bank soon will be home to something that's been called a lot more thrilling -- an indoor sky-diving facility.

The city council this week unanimously approved plans for Texas-based iFly to build a 9,800-square-foot sky-diving facility with a 50-foot-tall flight chamber at the southeast corner of Freedom Drive and Independence Avenue.

Approval was so simple for iFly that the changes it needed -- an amendment to plans for the Freedom Commons development and a sign variance -- were approved without any public discussion at the council level.

Councilman Steve Chirico, who acted as mayor pro-tem Tuesday night in Mayor George Pradel's absence, said he thought a question or two might arise from the dais -- possibly about the building's 67-foot height. But none did.

Chirico said he originally wondered whether the height of the tower was appropriate for the site, but then realized several hotels in the area already are taller.

"It seemed like it wasn't really going to stick out at all," Chirico said.

The building will be constructed just north of Cooper's Hawk Winery and will include the flight chamber as well as multipurpose rooms for birthday parties and corporate meetings.

Plans for the Naperville iFly facility, which will be the Chicago area's second after a location set to open in Rosemont, also breezed through the city's planning and zoning commission last month.

Commissioners called it a "very cosmopolitan use" and a "people-magnet" and said they want to be among the first lined up to try a half-hour indoor sky-diving session for $59.99.

For that price, new customers get all the gear, training and expert assistance they need to sky dive in a 14-foot-wide flight chamber with 11 other fliers. No jumping out of an airplane or off a ledge is necessary, as participants lean from the ground into the wind created by a fan system, iFly spokesman Stuart Wallock said.

"We offer a completely safe environment in which to experience the same thrill and excitement of jumping out of an airplane and free-falling," Wallock said.

While the Rosemont facility is set to open first, Naperville's iFly is expected to open sometime next spring, officials said.

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