Proposal for Lincolnshire athletic center clears bureaucratic hurdles

 
 
Updated 8/28/2018 4:57 PM
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  • A sprawling athletic center has been proposed for land that's now an office complex in Lincolnshire.

    A sprawling athletic center has been proposed for land that's now an office complex in Lincolnshire. Courtesy of Lincolnshire

A controversial proposal for an enormous indoor athletic facility has cleared two important bureaucratic hurdles in Lincolnshire.

The village board on Monday agreed to rezone the land being eyed for a 450,000-square-foot business to be called The St. James, allowing commercial businesses to operate there.

Trustees also approved a special use permit for the development, which could include an unspecified hotel, restaurant and commercial recreational facility. No interested companies have been identified for those other businesses yet.

The plan targets 43 acres north of Half Day Road and west of the Tri-State Tollway. The site now is a mostly unused office campus.

The two-story St. James is the centerpiece of the proposal. It will have an Olympic-sized pool, a water park, sports fields, ice rinks, a health club, a restaurant and many other amenities.

In a news release, company co-founder and co-CEO Kendrick Ashton predicted The St. James will be "the most dynamic sports, wellness and active entertainment destination" in the Chicago area.

Although a groundbreaking hasn't been scheduled yet, the Virginia-based company expects a 2020 grand opening. It will be the company's second center.

"Our goal is to bring The St. James experience to as many communities as possible," Craig Dixon, the company's other co-founder and co-CEO, said in the news release. "With (this) approval, we're well on our way to bringing this experience to the Chicago region."

Not everyone is excited about the project, though.

Many Lincolnshire residents spoke against the proposal at public hearings this summer, voicing concerns about traffic and the aesthetics of the proposed complex. Far fewer people publicly supported it.

Monday's rezoning and permit approvals don't necessarily mean the project is a sure thing. As the project moves forward, architectural designs, building plans and other elements will require village board approval.

"No building permit will be issued for any construction on the site until all the ... village approval processes (and) requirements have been met," Village Manager Brad Burke said.

Northfield-based Medline Industries owns the land. If The St. James fails to purchase the site within a year, the zoning will revert to office campus, village officials said.

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