O'Hare breaks ground on nine-story parking structure

  • An artist's rendering depicts the new nine-story parking structure being built at O'Hare International Airport.

    An artist's rendering depicts the new nine-story parking structure being built at O'Hare International Airport. Courtesy of Chicago Aviation Department

 
 
Updated 5/22/2015 4:11 PM

Construction is starting on a massive parking structure at O'Hare International Airport that will consolidate car rentals and offer changes for economy parkers.

The city broke ground this week on the nine-story, $782 million facility that also will provide more than 2,600 public parking spaces just southeast of Mannheim and Zemke roads.

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Though open currently, Economy Parking Lot F will close to make way for the structure as construction gets underway.

The Airport Transit System (ATS), the elevated train that transports people to parking and terminals, will be extended by 2,000 feet from where it ends in Economy Parking Lot E to the new facility. The change will mean losing some parking spaces in Lot E. The city will also replace its 15 ATS rail cars with 36 new ones, Chicago Department of Aviation officials said.

In a ceremony Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the facility one of the largest capital improvements at the airport. Overall, 30,000 people will use the parking structure daily.

Rental cars will occupy the first three floors of the structure, which also will have a customer lobby with self-serve kiosks and service counters. Public parking will take up the rest of the floors.

By eliminating trips from rental car vans and expanding the ATS, officials predict vehicle traffic around the terminals will decrease by about 1.3 million vehicles a year. Consolidating car rentals and providing transit to the airport close by should be more convenient for fliers, CDA First Deputy Commissioner Michael Boland said.

The city is using a low-interest $288 million federal loan to help fund the project as well as airport bonds.

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