Self-defense studio gets Evanston City Council approval

Paige Leskin, City Editor

An exercise studio that will offer programming for both fitness and self-defense training received approval from City Council on Monday to open its doors on Davis Street.

Aldermen voted on Monday night to suspend the rules and approve a proposal from the owners of Tier One Training to move into the space at 1017 Davis St. that has been vacant since May.

The facility aims to offer a diversity of martial arts and classes that will attract both those serious about fitness and those who want to simply get in shape, said Arpun Nagaraja, one of the three owners. Classes will be available for adults and children.

“The programs that we offer have never been offered here before in this combination,” he said. “We think that all the programs really complement each other.”

The space is located close to CTA and Metra stations, which will allow the studio to attract customers from not only suburbs around Evanston, but those who live in Chicago too, Nagaraja said.

The appeal of Tier One Training comes from its offering of classes in Krav Maga and TACFIT, two programs that have been used for professional military and law enforcement use, Nagaraja said.

He said his studio will be one of few studios in both suburban and metro Chicago that will supply Tacfit classes taught by a certified instructor. The fitness program relies on real-world applications and technique and has never before been offered to those in the Evanston community. 

The owners hope to lure Northwestern students with its easy accessibility, Nagaraja said.

“Students typically don’t have cars and don’t have time to go for an hour and a half on public transportation to go train for an hour,” he said.

Tier One Training will also offer NU students full membership to attend any training program for the price of a single class, Nagaraja said.

The studio plans to offer training in boxing, which will be focused more on skill development, as well as kid programming in taekwondo. 

Nagaraja anticipates it will take about three weeks to renovate the space and hopes to open in October.

Owners received unanimous approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals on Sept. 9 for a special use permit in order to hold classes with a big number of attendees.

“Tier One Training Center, Inc will utilize a vacant storefront and will diversify the services and opportunities offered in Evanston while enhancing the surrounding neighborhood,” the proposal from the board said.

The space once housed pet supply store Fit and Frisky, which has since relocated to 824 Noyes St. The surrounding area includes an animal hospital, a nonprofit and commercial retail stores.

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