Boxing gym proposed for portion of old Border's space

UFC Gym requests allowance from transit retail district requirement


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The first rule of Oak Park fight club: You get a special use permit for Oak Park fight club.

Getting that special use permit could be the biggest battle Ultimate Fighting Championship Gym has on its hands in its efforts to open a new location at 1144 Lake St. in downtown Oak Park. The owners of the gym, which offers fitness training in mixed martial arts and boxing, also must get an allowance from a village zoning ordinance preventing such businesses from opening in the Transit-Related Retail Overlay District. 

UFC Gym, which has five locations in Chicago, aims to open a sixth in a roughly 5,000-square-foot portion of the first-floor retail space in the historic Marshall Field's building vacated by Borders Books in 2011. 

Nicholas Karris of Water Tower Realty Management Companies, which owns the property, said in a letter to village trustees that he has "has struggled tremendously to find a replacement tenant for the property" since Borders left.

Karris said in a telephone interview that Borders used the full 24,000 square feet of the first floor and basement level of the space, and the mere size of the property has made it difficult to find a replacement.

He said the gym would be on the northern half of the building with an entrance off of Harlem Avenue. That would leave the southern half of the first floor with an entrance off of Lake Street available for another tenant, he said.

Karris said the gym would be a benefit to the community by offering a variety of fitness classes in mixed martial arts, boxing, yoga, Pilates and nutrition, among others. 

"(The proposal) will go through a discussion with the village and we look forward to making it work, given the benefit to the community," Karris said. "And because it's the Harlem side entrance, we think it could work very well and still have the retail use on the Lake Street side."

He said having a tenant at the location also would help attract other businesses to the remaining space.

"We are talking to prospects currently, and it significantly helps the leasing process when prospective tenants know what the leasing plan is for the entire building," he said.

He said in the letter to village trustees that "we are in talks with a number of signature restaurant users for the remaining space and are optimistic that we can reach a deal quickly once the rear portion of the first floor is occupied."

Karris noted that the space is not the only location UFC is considering for the gym, adding that the business hopes to have its doors open to the public by this summer.

"Timely support is necessary to bring them to the village because they are considering other locations (outside the village)," he said.

Max Austin-Williams, executive director of Downtown Oak Park, said the board of directors of the business group has not formally discussed the proposal but that since UFC would take up the rear portion of the location "it would make the front end of the building that much more viable for tenancy."

He noted that the chain of gyms already is established throughout the country and in "vibrant communities." 

Omar Rudaini, owner and CEO of UFC Gym Chicagoland, said in a letter submitted to the village board that "three of the five (Chicago area) locations are ranked within the top 10 in the country, including the No. 1 gym in the country."

"Due to the success of this group's gyms in the Chicagoland territory, the franchisor expects to expand and open six additional locations within the next year," Rudaini said.

The proposal was submitted to the Oak Park village board at Monday's village hall meeting and forwarded to the Plan Commission for further consideration.

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Posted: April 22nd, 2014 6:17 PM

Hey Everyone, please go to and see what these facilities are all about, im sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. And they do have a retail component to them as well and attract as well as create more sales for surrounding businesses.

Robert from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2014 1:09 PM

This would be a great addition and some well-needed competition for FFC, which I go to and spend plenty of money at neighboring businesses after working out. Plus, non-contact boxing classes aren't offered at FFC so it could add some new fitness opportunities for residents. And frankly, more business is better than no business, which is what we have now in there. I hope this happens - would be a major addition to the district.


Posted: April 13th, 2014 10:43 AM

the bjj is a mix of different things. Dion asked Rickson Gracie to come out for a seminar back in the late 80's. i think it was the first gracie bjj seminar in the chicago area. in the 90's he trained under Wellington Diaz and Rickson Gracie. he worked with John Hackleman and Chuck Liddell in 2008 at 'the pit' in California. he's also worked with Pat Miletich of MFS in Bettendorf. Danny is the primary instructor for BJJ at Forest Park and he's pretty slick.


Posted: April 13th, 2014 10:20 AM

Dion is a Christian, but nobody pushes religion on anyone any more than the folks at the Chick Fil A counter do, when you go there for a sandwich. Over two years the only religious thing I've seen is the location of a bible verse on an otherwise nondescript gym t-shirt. Don't worry you won't be sucked in to some goofy gym cult. Danny would be able to go over pricing as it varies by which classes you take. the number is (708) 524-1553. the website is a real mess and needs a serious redesign.

OP Dude  

Posted: April 13th, 2014 2:21 AM

Also, what's the price structure? Per subjects, class to class, monthly contract, yearly contract, all inclusive... I can't find any info on the websites about it. thanks.

OP Dude  

Posted: April 13th, 2014 2:19 AM

Thanks for the info. Joel. Do you know where his BJJ is from? Also, I heard that Dion encourages people at his school to practice his religion, is this true? While I respect peoples decision to practice whatever religion they way, I don't feel comfortable in a situation where I'm being preached to about their religion.

OP Dude  

Posted: April 12th, 2014 12:47 AM

Joe, I heard the Dion is a JKD guy, yet what's advertised is MMA. Do they teach MMA, Muey Thai, BJJ etc... What's the BJJ, Muey Thai coaches lineage if you don't mind me asking? It's hard to get a sense of who's teaching what from their site, or who the actual instructors are, unlike other sites that show the instructors training and competing history. I'm not questioning the quality, I don't know, but it's hard to jump into it without knowing.


Posted: April 12th, 2014 12:38 AM

trust, Casinos have a history of bringing a criminal element with it. These types of gyms have no history of bringing criminal or negative elements into an area. You're comparing apples and oranges, and twisting my logic.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: April 11th, 2014 10:51 PM

I just thought I'd toss in a plug for Dion Riccardo's Victory martial arts in forest park. It's off of Circle about two blocks south of Roosevelt. They already have running what the UFC folks are trying to put together, just on a smaller scale. If anyone is interested in this it might not be a bad idea to check it out while OP spends the next year or two hemming and hawing over what they want to do with the old borders space. great anyone from a beginner to folks who compete in amateur events.

ric from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 1:16 PM

Why do they not look at the space of the old newspaper. steps away from there. It has been empty for YEARS. they could get a good deal I bet. This type pf business does not need window space and they will most likely cover them up. not a site to see on Harlem.

Thornton from Oak Park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 12:42 PM

Absolutely yes. We need to stop micromanaging in this town. If you want to build a perfectly cute downtown, buy SimCity. A real town like ours needs tax dollars and businesses, and the owner should have wide latitude in renting out the space.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 11:32 AM

Interesting idea, although I'm not sure it's a good fit for a retail area. But in the same mode the village did approve FFC.. so there is precedent to having a gym in the area. it will certainly increase foot traffic, but folks going to the gym aren't likely to eat out or go shopping afterwards. If the boxing gym sells gloves, shin guards and thai pads... that would account for some sales tax. just saying.

trust from oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 8:11 AM

@Yes your logic involves including all interested and diverse businesses in a free market economy that would increase tax revenue and foot traffic. In that case in would be even wiser to allow a casino or an alcohol and cigarette superstore. Arguments could be made that responsible gambling is healthy entertainment and 2 glasses a day of red wine is healthy for the heart. Anyone who disagrees with this assertion must therefore be engaging in commercial discrimination ??


Posted: April 9th, 2014 5:13 AM

But whether it happens of not doesn't bother me either way. It seems like Oak Park wants a traditional downtown like Elmhurst, La Grange, or some other suburb. It's all good, but it's funny to watch people protest so hard against so many businesses that don't fit within a small box, when one of the charms of the village in the past was how they'd have wired businesses that may not have made sense in a "typical" town.


Posted: April 9th, 2014 5:05 AM

Jason, then using your logic, FFC is not in the right location either as far as tax goes. As I explained twice already, this isn't an "MMA studio", but more of a toned down fitness focused version. I think you should do a little more research before judging whether someone knows or doesn't know what they're talking about. I never suggested everyone who eats cupcakes are fat. The point was that we have a ton of eateries with unhealthy foods there, but people are bothered by a fighting fit place..

trust from oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 1:20 AM

Also not sure why some are picking on oak park for giving incentives and having retail use laws to develop a retail character. Every municipality in Chicago does this. You are not going to find a libertarian utopia in Chicagoland as it stands. It's not specifically an oak park thing. Commercial inclusion is a myth anywhere you go around dear chi city.

trust from oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 1:00 AM

The "free market" has been allowed to take its course in the neighboring shopping districts of Austin galewood maywood most of river forest north ave business district of oak park. Doesn't seem like it always works so well or rather these are seemingly free markets with people messing up behind the scenes.

trust from oak park  

Posted: April 9th, 2014 12:53 AM

No such thing as a genuine free market in reality. Someone is always working behind the markets pulling strings. Better to have someone that's somewhat trustworthy like the oak park govt planning things than working under the myth of a free market while more sinister forces really do the planning.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 11:07 PM

The village needs sales tax revenue and the district needs an attractive business that will attract other taxable retailers. This place accomplishes neither. Not a bad business, just bad for this location. Not everyone who eats a cupcake is fat and not wanting to put an MMA studio in this specific location doesn't mean you promote obesity. Arguing on these points shows you don't know what you're talking about.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 7:24 PM

Seems like you need a place to work out your anger?


Posted: April 8th, 2014 7:09 PM

I haven't been this FURIOUS since I read this same article earlier today!!!!!

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 5:12 PM

Whatever happened to Sleepy's. I saw a Sleepy's store in a small strip mall on Rt. 83 just across from the Oak Brook Mall and it looked like a perfectly decent store with an attractive sign and I wondered if negative reactions expressed by residents in WJ was partly responsible for driving them away? Let's not lose another good business on that corner out of ignorance. And who is the Karris clan, the landlords? An earlier post blamed them for the vacancy due to infighting.

Jack from OP  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 4:47 PM

Hans, Misconceptions some people have about these places are that they're filled with meathead, macho, frat boy types. If you're training with your partner or gay friend there, I don't think anybodies going to care. You would just be 2 people working out, what's there to get "weird" about?


Posted: April 8th, 2014 3:37 PM



Posted: April 8th, 2014 3:23 PM

I must have missed the uproar from that Karate place then, either way if all those kids are good neighbors why wouldnt a bunch of fitness minded people with disposable income also be good neighbors?

Violet Aura from Republik of OP  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:15 PM

I just know one thing--their clientele won't be populated with the typical 20 or 20-something bearded hipster with skinny jeans, Italian shoes and man purses...

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:06 PM

@Foomer - Actually people complained like crazy when the martial arts studio opened. From what I've heard, they've turned out to be good neighbors.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:52 PM

No one complained when some tacky karate studio took up a prime spot in the Avenue District surrounded by restaurants but when a legit fitness center wants to open up for adults at harlem and lake we all go nuts? Face it FFC is too expensive for most and leaves a lot to be desired if you are under 50, this new facility seems great


Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:11 PM

curious, no I'm not the "potential biz owner", as stated before. I'm a long time practitioner of MMA, which is why I get my 2 cents on the topic. I really have no personal interest beyond another taxable business, being a resident... If Oak Park can find a better tenet, by all means, thats great. For what I do, I don't think the UFC gym is suitable, but for fitness with some basic skills, it seems alright. I'm not huge on the brand, and don't care for Dana White, but it's mainstream now.

Chris Williams from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:08 PM

To No: I, as a resident, have no problem with reasonable variances and so forth, the problem is with Oak Park, and ten thousand cupcake shops that go out of business in 48 hours.

Chris Williams from Oak Park   

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:05 PM

So true Judge Judy, so true. What's crazy is that the attitude prevails even as we lose more and more retail, and lose diversity in retail, as many people have pointed out. There is nothing trashy about MMA or ultimate fighting - they have become completely mainstream, they are not dangerous sports, etc. And now Penzy's is leaving. Great! Let's just have that entire block vacant, and call upon the ghost of Steve Jobs to open an Apple Store.

Judge Judy from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 11:59 AM

Sheesh, Oak Parkers sure fit the stereotype, don't they? They advocate and promote "tolerance", but only for the things they approve of. A gym (that isn't exclusively pilates or treadmills) is considered "trashy"? Wow.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 11:56 AM

Maybe if businesses and builders would quit asking for special exemptions from variance and zoning requirements, residents would be a little more open-minded. But the flip side of that is that the village needs to work harder to attract what DOES explicitly fit into our predetermined guidelines for usage.

Chris Williams from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 11:56 AM

Apparently many people commenting on this proposal think the "character of the community" is best served by leaving vacant one of the biggest and most visible retail spaces in Oak Park. Yes, let's leave it vacant, and wait for the tooth fairy to open a cute little shop. Or maybe in five years some retailer will be interested. In the meantime, let's leave a huge gaping hole in downtown Oak Park. Brilliant.

RF Dan  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 11:18 AM

These posts are unbelievable, I consider OP fortunate to attract any business that will bring more tax revenues and people to downtown. Who are these people that feel they can dictate what businesses are good or bad for OP, let the market do that and stop the silly posts

Chris Carrier  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 10:53 AM

I guess I'm just so happy it's not Sleepys that I'd be fine with it. I'm sure it would be a nice, attractive facility and I think the name is more about capitalizing on marketing. My greater concern is that there's a full facility gym just a few doors down. The focus might be a tad different, but there would be lots of overlap. Still, I think it would not detract from the community and it's a hard space to fill.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 10:32 AM

Hey, commentor Yes: Pretty zealous support. Potential biz owner perhaps? Count me as a NOPE. Not the right plan for that corner. And again: not the right biz AT THAT LOCATION. Why is it so difficult to consider that context matters?

Lydia from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:28 AM

As a business owner myself I applaud the business for wanting to open in Oak Park. As a resident of Oak Park I'd prefer to see something that fits in that area, not a gym. It's a beautiful building, Mr. Marshall Fields is probably turning his nose up at the idea.

Jakob Eriksson  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:03 AM

The silly name of the business is definitely unfortunate, but the business itself seems like a fine use of the space to me.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 8:55 AM

This is so precious....rofl.

Yes , yes & yes  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 8:45 AM

To all you naysayers, you should be aware that OPPD offers martial arts and fitness classes. Do we run them out of town. This town needs to fill some space, stop whining every time someone tries to move in. Drive along Roosevelt, look at Berwyn, then OP's side. We have a dolly store, thrift instruments, upholstery, thrift, & knife sharpening...good times! Berwyn will say yes if we don't. The gym sounds like a fun business for our community.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:40 AM

So you think the village is equatable to mount Rushmore? As for going next to a family eatery, the UFC logo is no more "hard core" than what the Hard Rock Cafe logo suggest. The Hard Rock has images idolizing musicians that were Heroin addicts, junkies, alcoholics... Yet I'm sure families have no problem going there. The UFC is not "fringe" anymore, as people got educated, and it's mainstream. You sound like you're IN the village government. But, again, I don't care about the space anymore.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:32 AM

looking like a cabbage. Those past statements about banning the UFC were based on the same sort of ignorance you hold. Seriously, I don't really care anymore if the Gym comes to Oak Park...


Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:27 AM

While the limited rule set may seem safer, it in fact causes much more damage because people are constantly taking multiple hits to the head, ending with multiple concussions. MMA has a much safety track record because you have more choices how to end the fight. You can strike, you can have someone tap out with a choke (much safer), you can use joint locks to force a tap (again, much safer). And there are many fights with very few strikes to the head. It's common for a boxer to walk off cont...


Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:20 AM

no from Oak Park, you say the UFC is an "OVERLY VIOLENT SPORT THAT'S BEEN BANNED IN THE PAST BY MOST STATES", yet it has less head trauma's (the more dangerous common injuries in these sports) yearly compared to other full contact sports such as boxing and football, both of which are acceptable in the US. So what's the difference? In football, you continually slam into each other over and over, full speed, piling on top. In boxing you can only strike above the belt, with many head shots cont...


Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:15 AM

a bit more contact, there will be some more advanced classes. But really, no one thinking of going into full contact fighting will train there, because it's not FULL CONTACT, which means HARD SPARRING. You are confusing the UFC competition (actual full contact fighting), with the GYM brand which is predominantly fitness based.


Posted: April 8th, 2014 2:09 AM

no from Oak Park, No, I do not need to rethink what I wrote. Yes I'm a resident. No, I don't work in PR. Yes, I have trained in mma gyms and I know the different between a "fighters" gym where they training you to fight full contact, and an exercise gym with a much less intense focus on fighting, and more on fitness. You don't see the difference probably because you've trained in either. UFC gym is more like the exercises from the martial arts... but if there are a few individuals that want

It's called a retail space for a reason from Oak park   

Posted: April 8th, 2014 1:50 AM

Apparently 90 % of these posters are arguing the public perception of a boxing gym. That's not the point people. This is a retail space!! We need sales tax dollars. And I am in tne real estate business and can tell you that the Karris clan is so busy infighting that they have scared off any normal, serious tenant. Don't come to city hall claiming no one wants the space Karris, Karris is the problem , not the size, the location or Oak Park zoning overlay regulations !

Harlem and Lake Resident from oak park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:32 AM

I watched the video that Bridgett cited as well. I vote no! No! No! No! With a no cherry on top! Speaking as a young person myself who frequents gyms in the Harlem and Lake area, I can say without a doubt that this gym would be forsaken by the young person community in favor of pretty much any other gym.

Neighbor from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 12:17 AM

I watched the franchise video as Bridgett rec. I vote yes! The place looks like fun and full of energy. We could use some of that around here. A lot of younger people who might live in all the condos going up would be attracted to this gym. Physical fitness, nutrition, etc. have very high market value today. And the visibility would be on Harlem so the Lake St. " character" won't get wrecked. And maybe some Holley Court residents will join. Ya think?

no from oak park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:50 PM

@Yes What PR firm do you work for? You say you live in the community - do you want to think about that answer and try again? You say the UFC Gym "isn't really about" full contact fighting. But then again, they do use the phrase 'Ultimate Fighting' in their name, and ULTIMATE FIGHTING HAS A LONG HISTORY AS A FULL-CONTACT, FRINGE, OVERLY VIOLENT SPORT THAT'S BEEN BANNED IN THE PAST BY MOST STATES. Hmmmmmm.

Sam from Oak park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:06 PM

Gym might allow us to protect ourselves as we ride through the hood on the green line. We could be trained in panhandler defense, iPhone protection. We could offer may wood defense, Austin defense and Harlem/north avenue intersection pan handles window roll down face punch tactic

no from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 11:00 PM

If you had a family-friendly restaurant, would you want a store with the name ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP moving in next store? Don't think so. The OP government is not trying to keep anyone out. They are just trying to orchestrate the village to fit a vision of what participatory community members want to see in their village. Would you also complain if a McDonald's was not allowed on top of Mt. Rushmore? It's simple urban planning.

Violet Janus from Oak park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 10:55 PM

I guess since this is oak park we can't call a fight club white trash retail but it is multi ethnic trash retail.

no from oak park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 10:52 PM

@Yes You have to look at it from an urban planner's perspective. Or a brand perspective. Or comprehensive Downtown Oak Park perspective. This is a major intersection and really does set the tone for shopping in the area. Does 'Ultimate Fighting Championship' fit into the tone set by other stores? Let's play a word association game. Ultimate Fighting Association-Coors Light-Rural Area-Trailer Park-Cigarettes, etc. Downtown Oak Park - Starbucks - Gap - Whole Foods, Library, etc.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 10:28 PM

The landlord, according to the article, says that renting the entire space is not happening. So cutting it up seems to be what they are looking to do. Interesting, considering that the landlord for Penzey's is looking to do the opposite and combine a few smaller spaces in to one big space. Looking forward to the OPEDC to making sense of all this. Speaking of which, wouldn't this potential gym go to the OPEDC first, before asking for a variance from the Board? Or am I wrong about the sequence?

Marie Perkins from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 10:11 PM

So Oak Parkers, what store or business would YOU like to see in the former Marshall Fields space? Keep in mind the parking situation (or lack thereof) It would have to appeal to the local crowd within walking distance. It must be big enough to fill that ginormous space. And something to maintain the history of the building. I'm at a loss of what should go there. I thought Macy's but people still aren't over the Marshall Field's thing downtown. A museum? Anyone?

Yes, now, maybe  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 10:01 PM

Bridgett, being a townie myself, I felt I was pushing back a bit more against what I perceived as some misinformed statements. I've been around mma schools for quite some time, so I know what they're about, but I'm not trying to sale this place. It's going to be kind of like the McDonalds of MMA gyms, which I don't think it great. I'm not convinced with the quality as a "fight" program, but fitness should be fine. So I am a bit skeptical, but I'm still waiting for something better to present.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:50 PM

Bridgett, I live in Oak Park, and no, I have nothing to do with the UFC gym. I'm personally more into full contact combat sports to train as a fighter, which the gym isn't really about, so it's not for me. I'm thinking about that corner solely from a business point of view. What does Oak Park not have? What can draw people from the outside? I too don't want the "wrong" business, and it's up to the people or village to decide what that means. Is it bad for the Oak Park vibe? It's not my decision.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:43 PM

Think of it was an LA Boxing type of place with a wider more contemporary appeal. LA Boxing is not where serious boxers go to become champions, but a lot of professions are looking to be fighters, but want a taste of it while getting a working... Hence the wide appeal.

UFC from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:42 PM

I challenge Trustee Lueck to a cage match but she has to leave her gallon of soda outside the cage so it's not used for questionable purposes in the cage.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:41 PM

@Yes, are you an Oak Park resident? River Forest? Forest Park? Are you a franchisee of UFC Gym? Don't try to oversell, and insult the townies in the process. BTW, I found UFC's promotional video, selling franchises, interesting...


Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:39 PM

To be fare to both sides of the argument, I think we have to see, because it also really comes down to the instructors. If they get some Blue belt to teach a BJJ fitness class, it would be pointless, but if they get a Black Belt under a reputable professor, then that's worth it. It's definitely NOT a "fighters" club. People learning to "fight" will most likely go else where, but again it depends on the instructors they manage to get.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:39 PM

So it's a health club with a bit of attitude. If the property owner can rent a portion of the vacant Border's space out to a business that will likely draw a large clientele, and which will likely have the residual benefit of a percentage of its clients grabbing coffee breakfast or lunch in the area, or even- we can dream, shop locally- what's the problem?


Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:18 PM

Something else to consider is what type of business can draw people to the village to spend money? Another cup cake shop? Any major chain of MMA/fitness school will have people that will be attracted to it. It's the type of thing people will travel for. Maybe people who think this is a bad idea can go out and attract what they think is a better business that will bring in more people?

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:17 PM

to NO, why do we "deserve" A+ dining options? We deserve what the market will bear, if we don't further mess it up by micro managing. If we look at it differently, what seems to be an odd mix of restaurants, nail shops, quirky boutiques, etc is a perfect reflection of what we deserve. We should embrace it, & market us as a diverse place to easily do business, then back it up. How's a UFC gym any less desirable than Derby Lite (not quite fit gals in tights, on skates)?? It's all good. Celebrate!


Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:07 PM

Plus, as OP Transplant also says, it's going to be hidden in the back, and won't disturb the religious empty store front that so many seem to prize.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:05 PM

No from Oak Park, this isn't a "boxing gym". I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what an established mixed martial arts school is. To say it again, it's a place that will provide a large variety of classes that cater to people with different interests. Boxing, Muey Thai, BJJ, MMA, Yoga, Pilates, Cardio, weights... It can be sport or martial art specific, fitness based or restorative. It's the type of up scale big business that do exist in town centers nowadays.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 9:01 PM

I want to watch Rocky "catch da chicken"

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 8:51 PM

As was made clear in the article and in multiple posts below, the gym will be located in the rear of the building - not facing Lake Street. I think it's safe to say that the front of the building will remain vacant through most our lifetimes.

No from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 8:40 PM

Please. There are plenty of vacant properties in OP that would be perfect for a boxing gym. Not what Lake/Harlem needs to set tone/character for a shopping district. And I agree that there are too many restaurants, none of them excellent. OP deserves A+ dining options, not ones that are merely good-ish.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 8:31 PM

That's right, Mike, cause all those moms and dads sitting in the stands need to get fatter, and there's obviously not enough eateries here selling fatty, greasy foods and high sugar deserts. Yeah, who needs, health, fitness, sport and a way to defend themselves... That's just silly. Hooters obviously makes sense.

Mike from Elmwood Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 8:23 PM

YES, Hooters WOULD have been better! Or a Sweet Tomatoes, Blueberry Hill (for breakfast) or ANY restaurant! BOXING?, Come on!


Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:55 PM

April Fools, with all the fatty food eateries already in Oak Park, I think Hooters would actually do well here. Plus, all the dads could secretly perv at the waitresses while pretending to uphold their moral high ground on the exterior. Maybe you should make the pitch.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:51 PM

People seem to not complain when there are a multitude of cupcake, candy, chocolate, pizza, ice-cream stores. Is this the "character" "no from Oak Park" is talking about? So having a business that helps to keep you fit, healthy, and gives you self-defence skills "is a stupid idea"? But having dozens of businesses that make you and your kids fat and unhealthy is not? Ok, I think I'm starting to get this "character" thing.

April Fools?  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:47 PM

I thought for sure this headline was a joke. Why not a Hooters?


Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:46 PM

This is better than "Sleepys"?


Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:45 PM

... or any other chain store. Maybe people can spell out exactly what IS the "character" of the village, so then we can cross out all the potential businesses that don't match that ideology. Considering the hallmark of Oak Park being an accepting place for diversity, it sure can be close minded and snooty when it comes to choosing which businesses fit into their ivory tower. I mean, it's not like a pawn store, and does provide a range of different services you can't get in Oak Park.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:41 PM

Is anyone from the Village going to tell them they must wear helmets?


Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:38 PM

"Ultimate Fighting Championship" is now a mainstream brand name with a huge roster of respected athletes attached to it. It's not some smoke filled, leaky pipe gym with seedy unsavory types hanging about. I don't know why some people are crying about the "look" of the old building, when the article clearly states the gym will be tucked away in the back. Are you worried their logo in their window will disrupt the "charm" of lake st.? Then maybe we should get ride of GAP, Potbellys, Chipotle...

no from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 7:05 PM

It would honestly be better for surrounding property values to have an empty beautiful old building with a nice marshall fields clock attached. To me that looks better for the property value proposition for neighboring buildings than to have an 'Ultimate Fighting Championship Gym' move in. Obviously Water Tower Management is desperate to pay the building's mortgage but that doesn't mean that the community should take the first tenant with a check. Patience, please.

no from oak park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 6:48 PM

This is a stupid idea?.Busiest corner of Oak Park and they want a government waiver for some trashy-named gym?.yeah this doesn't really fit into the character of the community

OP Transplant  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 6:42 PM

I wouldn't be thrilled about this proposal if the gym were going to front Lake St., but since it's using the back of the space, leaving the Lake Street doors available for a more suitable tenant (God willing...some day), and since a business like this has the potential to bring traffic downtown, I think it could be a nice addition.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 6:20 PM

Tired of Taxes, They will obviously be taxed. I'm guessing the "fighters", or class participants will go where ever they choose afterwards... Isn't that the same with anything? Unless you didn't read the article, but this isn't your run of the mill fitness clubs. It's specialized instruction of a variety of sports, martial arts and fitness programs. This is the kind of thing that people will travel to Oak Park for.

Tired of Taxes from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 5:56 PM

Will this business contribute to our sales tax base? Will the fighters go straight to Downtown OP restaurants afterword? Don't we already have a fitness center on the same block? This reminds me of the yogurt invasion of the late eighties. Yo, Adrianne.

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 5:53 PM

Love the idea, looking forward to having a new tenant in the Borders space. Hope this all "works out"?.

Dan Lauber from River Forest  

Posted: April 7th, 2014 5:47 PM

Bet all those folks who successfully sought to exclude the medical use in the basement and the Back to Bed store are just thrilled with this proposed use.


Posted: April 7th, 2014 5:40 PM

YES! Bring It! This is what Oak Park needs. The UFC has become mainstream, and this business does not shout "struggling run village that can't attract decent businesses", while offering health, fitness, sport, and much needed realistic self-defense methods to the public. You'd think with some of the young thugs walking about, this kind of business would be welcomed with open arms, but there will no doubt be people whining about how it doesn't sell Brie, or isn't a fancy furniture store.

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