Naperville council to vote on golf entertainment project

TopGolf is planning a facility in Naperville similar to its one in Houston, Texas. |  Submitted
TopGolf is planning a facility in Naperville similar to its one in Houston, Texas. | Submitted

Naperville officials are slated to consider whether to add a major new entertainment venue to northwest Naperville when they meet this week.

Among the items on the City Council’s agenda Tuesday evening are requests for new late-night liquor permits from operators of two restaurants on opposite ends of Route 59 — one of them well-established and planning to add outdoor service, the other part of a larger complex and not yet under construction. Current city code caps the number of late-night licenses outside the downtown area at 35, and that maximum has already been reached.

Wild Tuna, south of 95th Street and just north of the pedestrian bridge, also has requested an outdoor seating permit in preparation to open a patio area. Because the sushi-focused eatery is near the Showplace Theaters at 95th and Route 59, it “regularly loses weekend late night customers looking for a meal after a movie,” a memo submitted by Liquor Commissioner and Mayor A. George Pradel noted. The specialized liquor permit, designed to accommodate restaurant customers after the kitchens have closed, also would enable Wild Tuna to serve patrons wanting to linger later into the night on the patio, the memo said.

The restaurant now stops serving at 11 p.m., under the limitations of its existing license.

“Wild Tuna does not anticipate that it will regularly utilize its late night permit by remaining open past 11 p.m.,” reads the memo, which notes that both food and cocktails would remain available on nights when the doors do stay open. “However, it desires a late night permit to cover those nights where customers require the restaurant to remain open late.”

On the north end of town is the site of the proposed new TopGolf attraction, north of Interstate 88 and west of Route 59. Planners of the $20 million development have said procuring an extended liquor license is a key element of their vision for the 14-acre site, which they hope to have open for business about a year from now.

The complex also would continue offering food until closing time if it receives the added permit.

“TopGolf considers alcohol and the ability to serve until closing an integral portion of its concept, but describes alcohol service as an expected amenity rather than a primary draw,” the memo says.

If the plans move forward, TopGolf will be a three-level, 65,000 square foot facility employing about 450 people. Amenities will include 104 driving range bays, four dining rooms, two bars and private event space with total capacity for more than 1,000 guests. Alcohol sales are expected to represent about 15 percent of the venue’s revenue.

The Liquor Commission has unanimously recommended approving both requests.The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers of the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.

Up for a vote

Issue: Approving plans for a new Montessori school at Wehrli and Lisson roads.

Background: Characterized as a “cleanup” of existing zoning, the request would revoke the parameters of a planned unit development approval granted in 1986 for a small retail shopping development and rezone the property to B1, a more appropriate designation for the neighborhood commercial use.

What it means: If the requests are granted, the 3,000-square-foot early learning center will occupy existing space in the 26,500-square-foot center at the southwest corner of the intersection.

Issue: Modifying plans for completion of Monarch Landing, the community for seniors in Naperville’s northwest corner that straddles the border between Naperville and Warrenville.

Background: The 2005 planned unit development agreement called for a continuing care retirement community that would comprise 1,650 independent living residences and 160 set up for assisted living. Fewer than one-fourth of the independent living units have been constructed so far.

What it means: The city’s approval of the PUD would create a framework for build out of the 80-acre community. Plans call for downsizing the continuing care retirement community and transferring its development to an outside buyer. No specific plans for the campus completion have yet been announced.

Issue: Writing a new chapter for the police regulations portion of the city code to regulate pawn shops.

Background: Officials have noted that because pawnbrokers in the city currently aren’t required to enter information about items they purchase into a regional database, thieves are likely to bring stolen goods to Naperville to avoid such requirements in neighboring communities.

What it means: The proposed more comprehensive record-keeping, which would require a $7,000 annual subscription to the tracking database, is intended to ease the process of recovering stolen goods before they can be resold or melted down. It would not apply to antiques dealers and other second-hand sale businesses.

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