New Medical Centers Will Be “Bookends” on 95th Street
The former sites of Bally's Total Fitness and Ed Napleton Honda will get new occupants, adding to Oak Lawn's wealth of medical care
Two unrelated and separate medical center construction projects were discussed at an informal neighborhood meeting on Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Ernest F. Kolb Elementary School, 9620 Normandy Avenue.
The projects promise to change the face of the busy intersection of West 95th Street and South Normandy Avenue. Approximately 36 people attended the 7 p.m. meeting in the school’s auditorium. Nobody in the audience expressed any opposition to either project.
One of the facilities is a new building that will replace the existing structures on the former site of Ed Napleton Honda, 6701 W. 95th Street. It will be occupied by an unnamed medical care provider. The other project will be a new building for Little Company of Mary Hospital that will replace the Bally’s Total Fitness center across the street at 6700 W. 95th Street.
"This is a meeting requested by your trustee," Village Manager Larry Deetjen told residents, referring to Jerry Hurckes. "It's a more informal basis but they have to go through the legal process as well."
Deetjen performed emcee duties for the evening. He described the two projects as “nice bookends” that will complement that portion of West 95th Street when completed, adding that no TIF money is involved in either project.
Orland Park-based Jeanes Construction Company, Inc. and Architectural Resource Corportion (ARC Architects) in Frankfort are working together for their client, Illinois Properties, LLC, on the Napleton Honda development.
“We’re here in the pre-planning, programming stage,” said Massimo Bianchini, president of ARC Architects. “It’s very preliminary, we don’t have a developed building, but we do have a developed site and a building program that we’ve been working with.”
Bianchini said the plans call for a building that would be 40,000 to 45,000 square feet with a parking ratio of five cars per thousand square feet of building (200 to 225 cars).
The new 3-story building will be set 40 feet back from the property lines than the existing two-story building. The new structure will be about 15 feet taller than the Napleton building it will replace, and approximately six feet taller than the neighboring school.
“The goal behind the building,” said Bianchini, “is to be a quality medical project.”
The medical center will house an outpatient orthopedic clinic. It will feature physical and occupational therapy components and have MRI capabilities. The existing brick wall and two driveways, one on south Normandy Avenue and one on south Rutherford Avenue, will be preserved. Bianchini said that the “energy efficient” brick, stone and glass building have “drop off points” in the front and rear.
Donald Jeanes, president of Jeanes Construction Company, assured neighbors that everything his construction company does is performed “in a first-class manner” and that their sites “are always clean.”
Jeanes and Bianchini had no renderings to show at the meeting, but assured neighbors that they would be presented to the Oak Lawn Village Board of Trustees as they go forward.
“Right now we’re still working with the client to come up with acceptable designs,” said Jeanes. He pointed out that his firm also built the Mayer Medical Physicians Group’s facility at 11600 South Kedzie Avenue in Merrionette Park, as well as “a number of schools in the area.”
One neighbor asked about the effect that the new medical facility on the former Napleton Honda site would have on local traffic. It was pointed out to them that the traffic would undoubtedly be less than it was when the auto dealership was there. This is especially important to the neighbors because Kolb Elementary School is next door to the former Napleton lot, situated immediately south of the property.
Another neighbor expressed concern about the truck and heavy equopment traffic traffic that would be used for the demolition and construction. Jeanes and Bianchini both assured residents that they would be mindful of congestion and traffic near the site.
Jeanes and Bianchini hope to break ground sometime this coming summer, after the formal approvals are granted by the village.
The second “bookend” will be the Little Company of Mary Hospital building to be constructed across the street. The Bally’s Total Fitness complex will be demolished. Rick Nelson, vice president of Riverwoods-based Irgens Development Partners LLC presented renderings of the proposed structure. The renderings were created by PFB Architects of Chicago, which has partnered with Irgens for the project. The renderings depicted a modern building with windows on all sides, a stark contrast to the windowless brick “fortress” that currently occupies the space.
Nelson said the 45,000-square-foot building will be brick masonry and three stories high plus a basement level. He said the new building will have the same footprint as the current Bally’s building. It will have MRI and other diagnostic capabilities, as well as an outpatient “urgent care” component. He said that this is not the same as a hospital emergency room, and gave a broken arm or sprained ankle as examples of typical use of the urgent care.
The two top floors, Nelson said, are to be leased out to independent physicians not affiliated with Little Company of Mary.
Some neighbors were concerned about the effect that the new medical facility would have on traffic at 95th Street and south Normandy Avenue. One neighbor complained that drivers often make “crazy” left turns when exiting Bally’s to go eastbound on 95th Street. Someone suggested that the village look into putting a traffic signal at the intersection.
Others neighbors were concerned about access to the large parking lot. It is bordered to the north by Centennial Park, which is Oak Lawn Park District property. Creating access to the park, through the existing paved parking, was discussed. Ground breaking for this project is also expected for the summer of 2011.