The Amtrak-funded $22 million project to renovate Amtrak Chicago’s Union Station Great Hall will be completed in January 2019. With work conducted by Berglund Construction, architect Goettsch Partners devised a creative solution to maintain usage of the Great Hall by using a suspended working deck for most of the last 12 months. The Great Hall has been painted in its original colors, made brighter by a restored skylight and improved lighting accenting the historic space that has been Chicago’s front door since 1925. A new website, ChicagoUnionStation.com, to improve station wayfinding and to book events will feature images of the renovated station when it debuts next month.
In October 2018, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the City of Chicago’s partners in the redevelopment of Chicago’s historic Union Station to highlight the next phase of work in the project, the addition of a new entrance on Clinton Street that will open the west side of the Amtrak-owned station’s Headhouse for development as a food court and retail space. BMO Financial Group will break ground a 1.5-million-sq.-ft., 50-story office tower on Amtrak land south of the station in 2019, with opening expected in 2020. At its base, a 1.5-acre public park will conceal a 400-stall garage. The project is estimated to be worth $900 million and is expected to create 5,100 construction jobs and 480 permanent jobs. The project includes the renovation of floors 4-8 of the Head House and a 9th-story addition for two hotels comprised of 400 keys combined.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the city’s eight-year plan to expand O’Hare International Airport, the largest and most expensive revamp in the airport’s history. This announcement marks the first major capital improvements to O’Hare’s terminals in more than 25 years. A new Terminal Area Plan for O’Hare will completely redevelop the terminals and concourses, with Terminal 5 to undergo an upgrade and expansion, Terminal 2 to be largely demolished and rebuilt to include a new international arrivals facility and renovations made to Terminals 1 and 3. These changes will expand gate capacity and set in motion a wide range of other improvements to significantly enhance airline performance and the overall passenger experience. Through a new capital program valued at more than $8.5 billion, O’Hare’s facilities will receive a major upgrade. With construction to begin in 2019, the transformation is expected to be completed in 2026.
The Chicago Department of Aviation is overseeing major modernization not only at O’Hare International Airport but at Midway International Airport as well. At Midway International Airport, a nearly $400 million modernization program is underway to improve travel to and from the airport including a larger security checkpoint for faster screening; more dining and shopping options; and an expanded garage for convenient parking next to the terminal. These modernizations are set to be completed by Summer 2020 and will improve the customer experience and meet growing demand for air travel through Chicago.
O’Hare International Airport has a number of new domestic and international air services. Air New Zealand announced a new nonstop flight between Chicago and Auckland starting on November 30, 2018. Once launched, it will become the longest nonstop international flight out of O’Hare International Airport to any international destination. O’Hare is also introducing new air services including:
- San Jose, Costa Rica via United Airlines (January 2019)
- Austin, TX via Spirit Airlines (February 2019)
- Key West, FL via American Airlines (February 2019)
- Walton Beach via American Airlines (March 2019)
- Panama City, Panama via American Airlines (March 2019)
- Pensacola, FL via American Airlines (March 2019)
- Allentown, PA via American Airlines (April 2019)
- Austin, TX via Frontier Airlines (April 2019)
- Hilton Head, SC via United Airlines (April 2019)
- Raleigh-Durham, NC via Delta Air Lines (April 2019)
- State College, PA via American Airlines (April 2019)
- Athens, Greece via American Airlines (May 2019)
- Erie, PA via American Airlines (May 2019)
- Milan, Italy via Air Italy (May 2019)
- Durango, CO via United Airlines and American Airlines (June 2019)
- Eugene, OR via United Airlines (June 2019)
- Walton Beach, FL via United Airlines (June 2019)
- Grand Junction, CO via United Airlines (June 2019)
- Halifax, Canada via United Airlines (June 2019)
- Kalispell, MT via American Airlines (June 2019)
- Lisbon, Portugal via TAP Air Portugal (June 2019)
- Manchester, NH via American Airlines (June 2019)
- Panama City, FL via United Airlines (June 2019)
- Quebec City, Canada via American Airlines (June 2019)
- Redmond, OR via United Airlines (June 2019)
- Boston, MA via Delta Air Lines (September 2019)
Midway International Airport also has new domestic and international flights including:
- San Juan via Southwest Airlines (June 2019, increase to daily service)
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