Climbing wall, family fun center coming to Arlington Heights

 
 
Posted5/22/2018 5:30 AM
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  • The shuttered water park attached to the One Arlington residential building in Arlington Heights will be renovated into a climbing wall recreation facility and family entertainment center.

      The shuttered water park attached to the One Arlington residential building in Arlington Heights will be renovated into a climbing wall recreation facility and family entertainment center. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, March 2018

Plans for a family entertainment center and climbing wall recreation facility -- just one piece of the ambitious Arlington Downs mixed-use redevelopment -- earned approval Monday from Arlington Heights trustees.

First Ascent, which would offer courses for climbers of varying skill along with exercise classes and gym equipment, plans to open its first suburban location at Arlington Downs, on the northeast corner of Euclid Avenue and Rohlwing Road. Officials say the facility will take up about half of an existing 46,000-square-foot building -- once home to the CoCo Key water park -- and will be larger than its four other locations in Chicago.

The other half of the former water park will become home to Funtopia, which would cater to children, with a smaller climbing wall, jungle gym, ropes courses and nine party rooms. The company has locations in Glenview and Naperville.

"This is going to be one of those destination places," said Trustee Jim Tinaglia, who was part of the 7-0 vote of the village board Monday night to grant special use permits. "It's going to attract people from far and wide."

With an interior building height of some 50 feet, First Ascent's Arlington Heights location would likely become a site for competitive rock climbing events, said project architect David Gillespie.

The two venues will have separate spaces but common locker rooms, a restaurant/lounge area and a newly constructed mezzanine.

The two-venues-in-one will occupy the building attached to the One Arlington residential tower, formerly a Sheraton hotel, which was renovated and became the first piece of the development to open. The 27-acre site has been slow to grow since breaking ground in 2013, but with an eye toward jump-starting it, developer Springbank Real Estate Group unveiled revised plans this winter that included First Ascent and Funtopia.

At one time, a new water park was proposed, with a building addition for an arcade, but those plans never materialized.

Other plans still to come before the village board include additional residential buildings, including senior living spaces, a scaled-down and rebranded hotel, and retailers.

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