After owners spent $30K to remodel downtown store space, Naperville council says med spa not allowed there

·2 min read

Despite the owner spending $30,000 on renovation of the site, a med spa cannot open in a vacant space storefront at 131-133 S. Washington St. in downtown Naperville because city code prohibits it.

The Naperville City Council this week affirmed that first-floor businesses in the Central Business District should be reserved for retail stores and restaurants and denied a variance request that would have allowed Skinovatio Medical Spa to open.

While council members said they sympathized with the plight of owner Saad Zuberi, they opted to support the recommendations from the Planning and Zoning Commission, Naperville Development Partnership and the Downtown Naperville Alliance, which all urged the council to reject the variance.

Zuberi said after signing a lease, he applied for and received a demolition permit from the city to remove the interior of the first floor, which previously was an antiques store that closed in 2020.

Although he spent $30,000 to gut the site, it wasn’t until he sought information from the city for a sign permit that he learned his med spa might not be allowed on the first floor, Zuberi said.

Among the services at the six Skinovatio Medical Spa locations in the Chicago area are injectables, platelet-rich plasma injections, microneedling, hydrafacials, facial contouring, dermaplaning, chemical peels, and laser hair and tattoo removal.

Zuberi said 15% of the services are performed by licensed nurse practitioners. Everything else is done by an aesthetician.

Allison Laff, deputy director of the city’s Transportation, Engineering and Development department, said beauty salons — either hair or nails — are permitted by-right in the downtown business district. But businesses like massage facilities or medical offices are only allowed on the second flooror higher.

NOW Massage was granted a first-floor variance by the city because it is located on the east side of Washington Street, an area she said historically has been more difficult to fill with retail uses as compared to the west side.

Laff also said the expectation of the city is the majority of sales at a first-floor business come from retail sales, and that is not the case with Skinovatio.

Zuberi estimated 25% to 35% of his business would come from retail sales.

When it became clear the variance would be rejected, Zuberi appealed to the council for suggestions on where he could relocate.

“We do like Naperville. We have a lot of clients in the city of Naperville,” he said.

Skinovation manager Fahad Zuberi said he has $450,000 in equipment that has nowhere to go.

“They’re literally sitting in my garage because I can’t do anything with them, so any help, we appreciate it,” Fahad Zuberi said.