Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the largest investment plan forMidway International Airport in nearly a decade. The roughly $248 million project will include an expansion of the concession facilities, the terminal parking garage, and security checkpoints – addressing concerns that have been raised by business travelers and tourists for years and strengthening a driver of Chicago’s economy.
“Midway is more than an airport. It is an important economic engine for the City of Chicago so with this modernization we are making an essential investment in the future of Midway but also the future of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These enhancements will create jobs for Chicago’s residents, provide an improved experience for travelers from the garage to the gate, and ensure that our world class city has two world class airports.”
In making the announcement in the Food Court at Midway, the Mayor was joined by Ginger S. Evans, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner; Michael Zalewski,, Chair, City Council Committee on Aviation/Alderman, 23rd Ward; Pat Dowell, Alderman, 3rd Ward; Martin Quinn, Alderman, 13th Ward; Raymond Lopez, Alderman, 15th Ward and Willie Cochran, Alderman, 20th Ward.
Also in attendance were representatives from Southwest Airlines, the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise(ACDBE) partners.
To begin the project the City will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a single-entity concessions operator in September, aiming to further enhance the experience for travelers, create good-paying jobs for residents and help achieve higher ACDBE participation goals. Under the project, concessions areas, stores, and restaurants will be renovated, shopping, dining, lounge facilities, spa services, and medical services will be added.
The new concession areas will also feature the best of Chicago through iconic brands and concepts while providing opportunities for local businesses and residents.
An expansion of Midway’s security checkpoint area will address the bottleneck that frequently occurs in the current security area, a frustration to travelers. A new 80,000 square foot security hall will be created, the existing pedestrian bridge over Cicero Avenue will be increased from 60 feet to 300 feet, and 20,000 square feet of new concessions space will in an optimal location.
The terminal parking garage expansion, which is in the design phase will add four levels and 1,400 premium parking spaces to the terminal garage – making it easier for travelers to get in and out of the airport quickly.
The economic impact of these major investments will result in:
* The project will create 1,700 construction and concession jobs.
* A fifty percent increase in concession space
* Concessions revenue projected to double by 2019, increasing revenue for the City
“Our proposal will make Midway Airport more efficient and more customer friendly for years to come,” Commissioner Evans said. “In order for our airports, and our city, to thrive we need to remain competitive – and that’s what this plan will achieve.”
The tentative schedule for the program is to issue the RFP in early September; receive bids through mid-December 2015, conduct evaluation of those bids in first quarter 2016 and advance the proposal in the City Council in second quarter 2016.
Midway is a strategic regional and national transportation facility. It is premier point-to-point airport in theU.S., offering travel to 75 markets including eight international markets, and is one of the fastest growing airports in the U.S. It generates approximately $7 billion in economic activity each year and 90,000 jobs for the region.
Southwest Airlines is the largest flight carrier at Midway, and Midway is the largest market in the airline’s network.