North Riverside trustees on April 13 gave the OK for the owner of the North Riverside Park Mall to submit a planned unit development application to construct a two-story, 38,000-square-foot building to house a state-of-the-art, full-service health club in the east parking lot immediately behind Olive Garden restaurant.

Representatives from the Feil Organization, which owns the mall, met with village staff in late March about the plan, according to a memo to the village board from Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti.

During that meeting, mall officials pitched constructing two buildings in the east parking lot. The other building was described as a roughly 20,000-square-foot building that would house general retail businesses.

According to Scarpiniti, The Feil Organization has a prospective tenant for the health club space – the California-based chain 24 Hour Fitness, which operates some 440 locations. Most of them west of the Mississippi River. Illinois has two locations, in Schaumburg and Carol Stream.

According to an information sheet provided by the village, the proposed North Riverside location would have group and personal training areas, an indoor lap pool, a multi-use/basketball court, locker rooms with showers, sauna, and a variety of weight-training, cycling and cardio equipment.

There are no tenants currently identified for the smaller general retail building, according to Scarpiniti. As a result, elected officials, however, agreed with Scarpiniti’s suggestion to split the plan into two phases, giving mall officials the go ahead to apply for a planned unit development (PUD) for the fitness center at this time.

“Since there is no specific use or tenant for this building in mind at this time, village Staff is recommending approval of this phase be deferred and future processing of a second preliminary/final PUD application be considered once a known use is identified,” Scarpiniti said in her memo to the village board.

She also told the village board that The Feil Organization would be following a new set of guidelines the village is presently crafting that will guide planned unit development applications in the future.

Village Planner Robert Kallien has been working to overhaul the planned unit development section of the North Riverside zoning code. Those changes are expected to be submitted to the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission for review before going to the village board for final adoption.

It’s unclear exactly how long that code change will take, but Scarpiniti said she informed The Feil Organization that it would need to follow the proposed language for planned unit developments.

Getting the village board’s OK for a preliminary plan, the one presented to trustees on April 13, is part of the proposed new PUD process.

“Since submission of preliminary conceptual designs for this project would run concurrent with the village’s review of the new PUD procedural changes, village staff is recommending the mall’s formal planned development application once submitted follow these new guidelines,” Scarpiniti told trustees in her memo.

The planned unit development process will include a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission, where officials and members of the public can offer comment and recommend changes and conditions.

The village board will have final say on whether to approve any such development.

The proposed outlot buildings behind Olive Garden are part of a larger strategy by The Feil Organization to improve North Riverside Park Mall. Plans are still on tap to expand the mall’s theater by building an addition to the north side of the food court wing, effectively doubling the theater’s size. There’s also a plan to build a small 1,225-square-foot retail space addition onto the south side of the food court wing.

There are also plans to build a smaller 1,700-square-foot retail building in the outer parking area across the east mall ring road from Olive Garden, where Clover’s Garden Center has been located during summer months in recent years.