Mammoth upscale day spa planned in vacant Wheeling office building

  • This is an artist's rendering of the proposed Spa Forest, which would open in a renovated office building on the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road in Wheeling.

    This is an artist's rendering of the proposed Spa Forest, which would open in a renovated office building on the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road in Wheeling. Courtesy of Manhard Consulting

  • New York-based C. Castle Group Inc. proposes converting this vacant office building into a day spa that would include an ice room, sushi bar, body massages and a year-round outdoor pool heated to 98 degrees on the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road in Wheeling.

      New York-based C. Castle Group Inc. proposes converting this vacant office building into a day spa that would include an ice room, sushi bar, body massages and a year-round outdoor pool heated to 98 degrees on the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road in Wheeling. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted1/6/2020 5:30 AM

A mammoth upscale spa featuring an ice room, sushi bar, business lounge and year-round outdoor pool heated to 98 degrees is being proposed for a vacant office building in Wheeling.

New York-based C. Castle Group Inc. wants to renovate the three-story, 65,532-square-foot structure previously occupied by Solex College and Cole-Taylor Bank at the northeast corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Dundee Road. C. Castle has similar spas in New York and Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Wheeling's advisory plan commission will continue a public hearing Wednesday night on the tentatively named Spa Forest, with a recommendation to the village board on whether to grant a special-use permit expected to follow.

Manhard Consulting project manager Jared Placek stressed that C. Castle remains in the land-acquisition process for the building and 7 acres at 350 E. Dundee near Friendship Park.

"Due to this uncertainty regarding the timing of approvals following the village board approval and the associated permitting process for this development, a construction schedule and targeted opening date has not yet been put forth," Placek said. "The developer's goal would be to construct and open the facility as quickly as possible following village board approval, however."

Placek said the vacant office building at Dundee and Milwaukee is desirable for conversion into Spa Forest, in part because of its proximity to transportation options, the Des Plaines River and a Cook County forest preserve.

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Along with renovating the office building, C. Castle proposes a 6,844-square-foot addition on the east side to serve as a main entrance facing the forest preserve. The second floor of the addition would be a 9,029-square-foot deck with the year-round, 98-degree outdoor pool.

Spa Forest also would have the ice room, sushi bar, body massages and four different heated mineral pools mimicking traditional Asian and European baths. Other possibilities include an indoor pool, an aqua bar serving beer and cocktails on the second-floor deck and a charcoal room.

Certain areas of Spa Forest would be open 24 hours a day, including the lobby, a relax room, business lounge and infrared zone. Placek said general admission likely would be $40 and include some amenities, with additional charges for food, drinks and services. Some Wheeling plan commission members are enthusiastic about the idea.

"I'm looking forward to taking advantage, if I can afford it when it opens," plan commission member Robert Yedinak said during the first session of the public hearing Dec. 19.

C. Castle's Steve Chon said Spa Forest would be a place for families to gather. Chon's family-owned company opened the first Spa Castle in the New York borough Queens in 2007, followed by a location with a hotel near Dallas in Carrollton, Texas, and a third operation in Manhattan.

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