Whirlyball bringing game center to Naperville

“The most fun you can have going 4 mph” is coming to an area of northwest Naperville that’s quickly growing into an entertainment district.

WhirlyBall plans to build a facility at 3103 Odyssey Ave. near where Topgolf opened in 2015 and where an ice arena and concert venue called CityGate Centre North anticipates opening in 2020.

Adam Elias, vice president of strategic planning for WhirlyBall, said corporate clients in the Naperville area are excited for a venue to play the mechanized team sport in bumper-car-like vehicles closer to their offices.

The planning and zoning commission unanimously approved WhirlyBall’s request to locate its 41,000-square-foot building on the property, despite it featuring just 150 parking spaces — 27 fewer than required by code.

The space will feature two game courts for the WhirlyBall sport, which Elias described as a combination of lacrosse, basketball, hockey and bumper cars. It also will include a restaurant with an outdoor patio, 12 bowling lanes, laser tag and private spaces for events.

WhirlyBall has operated its first location on Roosevelt Road in Lombard for 25 years and also has a suburban spot in Vernon Hills as well as a facility in Chicago. Its expansion outside Illinois includes a WhirlyBall in Colorado Springs.

Design-wise, consultants said the Naperville site will be a step up, with masonry, wood and glass materials.

Planning and zoning commissioners agreed, saying the business will fit in with recreation options near the interchange of Route 59 and I-88.

“I think this is going to be a good addition to our entertainment area out there by Topgolf,” Commissioner Brett Fessler said.

“I can tell you,” Commissioner Bruce Hanson said, “that my 14-year-old twins and I will be there.”

WhirlyBall plans to begin seeking a building permit soon, pending city council approval. Construction would take about nine months with the facility ready to open sometime next spring.

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