September 22, 2005

Press, 9/14: Edens club to close doors at end of month

Edens club to close doors at end of month; Restaurant sought on site
by Brian Nadig
September 14, 2005

The Edens Health Club, 5130 N. Cicero Ave., will close its doors Sept. 30 after a last-ditch effort by a group of its members to buy the club fell through, and the property's owner hopes to move forward with plans to lease the property for a Wendy's restaurant.

Tennis Corporation of America president Steven Schwartz said that the company, which owns the property and operates the health club, is hoping to arrange a meeting between Wendy's representatives and residents so that their concerns are addressed. "We're looking to work things our (in terms of) sound and lighting abatement," Schwartz said. "Wendy's is willing to make some concessions."

Schwartz said that the project would reduce the amount of traffic in the alley which separates the site from the residences to the west because Wendy's has indicated that it plans to block access to the alley from its parking lot. Currently the alley can be accessed from the health club's parking lot.

Some residents also oppose plans for a drive-through facility at the restaurant. Although the zoning of the site allows for a restaurant, a special use permit is required for the drive-through. The Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to consider the owner's request for a special use at its meeting on Friday, Oct. 21.

Residents also have said that making left turns into and out of the health club parking lot is difficult and have expressed concern that Wendy's would attract more cars to the site.

Although Alderman Patrick Levar (45th) has [said] that he is leaning against the special use permit, the zoning board acts independently of the City Council, and it rarely denies a request for a permit for a drive-through.

Opponents of the Wendy's proposal have circulated petitions against the project and have worked to keep the health club open. Initial plans called for the club to close on July 31, but the closing was delayed in light of the residents' efforts.

Schwartz said that the club has not been profitable over the past 10 years and that it would have been difficult to keep it operating beyond September because many members joined other clubs once they heard about the redevelopment proposal. He said that several years ago the site was considered for a CVS Pharmacy but that the deal fell through because the drug store chain was unable to purchase the adjoining properties which it also needed.

Source: Nadig Newspapers

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