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Mayor Rahm Emanuel broke ground today on a consolidated rental car and public parking facility at O’Hare International Airport. The intermodal facility is part of a $782 million capital improvement project that will create nearly 3,000 jobs during construction. The development will serve as a major access point to O’Hare and significantly enhance multi-modal transit connectivity between rental cars, public parking, public roadways, shuttle busses, CTA and Metra.
“This intermodal facility is one of the largest capital improvements to be constructed at O’Hare, and will further Chicago’s ongoing efforts to make O’Hare the most convenient international travel hub in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This project will serve as a model for new transportation development by delivering improved efficiency, environmental sustainability, a great experience for travelers and an opportunity to create thousands of new jobs for Chicagoans.”
The project will consolidate rental car functions and public parking into a multi-level structure. The development will also reduce traffic congestion and increase transit ease and accessibility for travelers through an extension of the Airport Transit System (ATS) at O’Hare. The new intermodal facility and ATS modernization project will lead to the creation of nearly 3,000 design and construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs upon completion. The CDA estimates that over 30,000 patrons will use the facility on a daily basis.
The 4.5 million-square-foot facility will include up to nine levels at full development on a 33-acre site located immediately southeast of the intersection of Mannheim and Zemke Roads. The structure will provide over 4,200 rental car company parking spaces on the first three floors, a customer lobby on the first floor, with remaining space and floors designed for over 2,600 public parking spaces. Each of the rental car companies operating within the facility will have exclusive-use customer service counters, self-service kiosks, and back office areas within the facility. The site will also include a rental car quick turn-around building that will feature green elements such as a green roof.
In moving rental car companies out of dispersed locations and by extending and creating a new ATS station, O’Hare will, for the first time, provide a major access point for travelers at the airport by enhancing ground transportation connectivity, while also providing additional opportunities for economic development in newly made available locations. These measures, as well as expanding the ATS vehicle fleet, will reduce vehicle traffic at terminal curbs and eliminate an estimated 1.3 million vehicle trips on terminal roadways each year, resulting in enough energy savings to power over 600 homes every year and in turn lessen O’Hare’s environmental impact for all travelers and Chicagoans.
“Travelers using O’Hare will enjoy a more convenient experience as they travel to, from and through our airport,” said Michael Boland, First Deputy Commissioner, CDA. “It will be easier to park or rent a car from our new facility, as well as take advantage of the improved customer amenities and concessions.”
Funding for this massive capital improvement project was secured by Mayor Emanuel through a $288 million federal TIFIA loan, along with previously issued and authorized general airport bond revenues. As with all CDA capital improvement projects, no local or state tax dollars will be utilized for this project.
As part of this project, on May 1, 2015 the City of Chicago awarded a contract to Parsons Construction Group, Inc. to modernize and expand the ATS. The existing ATS fleet of 15 vehicles will be replaced with 36 new rail cars to accommodate increased ridership; and the ATS track will be extended 2,000 feet from its terminus in Economy Parking Lot E to reach the intermodal facility.
In October 2013, the CDA awarded a Construction Manager At-Risk (CMR) contract for the project to Austin Power Partners, a joint venture made up of Austin Commercial, Power Construction and minority partner Ujamaa Construction. The selection of Austin Power Partners was based on its experience with similar facilities, including Nashville International Airport, Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, San Diego, California and Austin-Bergstrom in Texas.
The CDA anticipates completion of the project in 2018.