5 architect teams on short list for $8.7B Chicago O'Hare airport expansion
- Five architect teams — Fentress-EXP-Brook-Garza Joint Venture Partners, Foster Epstein Moreno JV Joint Venture Partners, Santiago Calatrava LLC, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Studio ORD Joint Venture Partners — are on the short list to design O’Hare International Airport’s $8.7 billion expansion, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Each team will be asked to submit models, which will be showcased throughout the city. When the selection committee comprising transportation, business and civic leaders makes its decision, public feedback, as well as feedback from technical advisories such as leading architectural firms, cultural and academic institutions and local businesses will be “taken into consideration.”
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s eight-year O'Hare plan includes demolishing Terminal 2 and putting a global terminal that United Airlines and American Airlines will share for domestic and international flights. Other work, which ultimately will increase the airport’s space by 3 million square feet, includes renovating three existing terminals, adding 25% more parking spaces and 35 new gates, and replacing 40 gates.
American Airlines in March threatened to sue the city of Chicago and reduce its service to the airport after it claimed the city cut a deal with United, giving it five additional gates. American was able to reach a deal with Emanuel in which the city would speed up construction of three new gates it will use in the future in exchange for airline’s cooperation.
A couple weeks after Emanuel and American reached the agreement, the Chicago City Council approved the expansion plan and, along with it, $4 billion in bonds to pay for upfront construction costs and to refund outstanding bonds from other city deals.
This massive undertaking is one of the items the Chicago mayor wanted to achieve before he leaves office in May. Other construction-related goals he has are finishing the Lakefront bike and running paths along Lake Michigan and finalizing an O’Hare express contract with Elon Musk’s The Boring Co.
The Boring Co.'s proposed underground twin tunnel design will move commuters between downtown and the airport in about 12 minutes by way of electric vehicles that will travel upwards of 100 mph. Each vehicle will accommodate 16 passengers and their luggage on a pick-up schedule of approximately every 30 seconds.
Estimated to cost $1 billion, the rail would qualify to allow Chicago to take advantage of the passenger facility charge (PFC) provision, in which passenger ticket taxes could help fund the project, reported Crain’s Chicago Business. A spokesman for Emanuel, who said the route would be built without taxpayer funds, however, said the city “did not ask for the PFC provision and has not considered using that source of money to help Musk.”
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