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Naperville planners OK reuse of former LA Fitness building for Advocate Health Care medical outpatient facility – Chicago Tribune


A building in Naperville’s Freedom Commons complex that hasn’t been actively used for more than a year is now one step closer to being repurposed into a medical outpatient facility.

Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission members voted at their meeting Wednesday to endorse a zoning change for property at 1836 Freedom Drive — which formerly housed a LA Fitness gym — so that it could be redeveloped for an Advocate Health Care outpatient center . The project is now headed to the City Council for final approval.

“We’re very, very appreciative of the commission’s review of our project and the unanimous recommendation that it provided,” Peter Friedman, a partner at Chicago-based Elrod Friedman LLP and counsel for the project, told Naperville-Sun in a call Friday. “We’re looking forward to the city council’s review of the proposal as well.”

LA Fitness shuttered its location at Freedom Commons in Naperville in March 2023. Advocate Health’s outpatient facility seeks to revitalize that vacated lot, which totals 45,000 square feet.

Capital Healthcare Properties will be the developer and owner of the project, CHP manager partner Dan Ahlering said at the meeting Wednesday.

The Chicago-based firm is solely dedicated to health care real estate, Ahlering explained, noting that over the past several years, CHP has developed over 500,000 square feet of medical outpatient facilities. Most of those have been “on behalf of leading, Illinois-based health care systems,” Ahlering said.

Advocate Health will be the sole occupant of the medical center proposed for Freedom Commons, Ahlering said. He described the imagined facility as a “state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery treatment center” that will provide cardiac services with one procedure room, as well as associated prep and post-recovery services.

The facility will also offer primary care, cardiovascular clinician offices, cardiac diagnostic services, lab and imaging, Ahlering said.

He added that as an outpatient center, all procedures and services provided will not involve overnight stays.

Redevelopment would entail several exterior improvements to the subject property — including the addition of patient drop-off and discharge areas around the building — as well as the refurbishment of parking, sidewalks and landscaping.

“This will truly be a world-class health care facility, providing exceptional care for the community,” Ahlering said to planners.

To allow for the facility, however, there’s a zoning stipulation that needs to change.

While a medical office is a permitted use in a community shopping center district — which is what Freedom Commons is zoned — individual properties within the complex have been designated for more specific uses.

The property CHP is looking to redevelop was identified for “fitness,” according to an agenda report city staff prepared for Wednesday’s meeting. CHP was requesting that planners endorse changing that use from fitness to medical office.

The developer also sought a deviation that would allow its outpatient facility to go without an outside loading deck that city code usually requires for a medical office building of this size.

Both requests easily passed the Planning and Zoning Commission.

If all zoning and state approvals are received on schedule, CHP plans to start construction on the project in the fourth quarter of this year, Ahlering said Wednesday, with Advocate anticipating its first patient as early as January 2026.

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