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Planned Wrigley Hotel Would House Huge Chicago Athletic Club Gym

By Serena Dai | March 6, 2013 3:47pm | Updated on March 6, 2013 4:57pm
 The Cubs want restrictions on Wrigley Field and night events to be eased. 
The Cubs want restrictions on Wrigley Field and night events to be eased. 
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

WRIGLEYVILLE — The Ricketts family's planned hotel for the McDonald's lot near Wrigley Field will house a two-floor gym, the family announced today.

The family has signed a letter of intent for local chain Chicago Athletic Clubs to lease 40,000 square feet of space within the planned Sheraton Hotel, according to a statement, which added the plan is contingent on Wrigley Field renovation approval.

"All of this can happen if we can reach a common sense solution that allows us to run our business,” Tom Ricketts said in the statement. "This would be the one of the biggest investments in the city today and a vote of confidence in the City of Chicago."

The gym would be the biggest tenant in the hotel, which is part of an overall $500 million plan that includes renovating the ballpark and pumping up development in the neighborhood.

Chicago Athletic Clubs plans to invest $5 million in the space, including cardio and weight equipment, a 25-meter swimming pool, a batting cage and the children's fitness program called Kids Club. 

If the triangle-shaped property across Clark Street from the proposed hotel and to the west of the ballpark is developed as planned — with an open plaza for community activities — the athletic club could host programs there such as outdoor yoga, the statement said.

Chicago Athletic Clubs, which has six locations in the Chicago area, will also be participating in other marketing partnerships with the Cubs as part of the agreement. 

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Ricketts Family on this special opportunity," Pat Cunningham, owner of the athletic clubs, said in the statement.

The news comes about six weeks after the planned Addison Park on Clark Development by M&R Development and Preferred Equities Ltd. ditched their planned hotel south of Clark and Addison in favor of a potential 40,000-square-foot XSports fitness club.

They decided the area did not need two hotels after the Ricketts family announced the partnership with Sheraton, M&R Development head Tony Rossi said at the time.

Now, however, there are two competing 40,000-square-foot athletic clubs proposed for the intersection of Clark and Addison.

Rossi did not immediately respond to a call for comment. A representative of Steven Schultz, president of Preferred Equities Ltd., said he did not want to comment on other people's development plans.

The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the team's day-to-day operations.