Chicago Airport unveils major redevelopment plans

By Charlotte Turner |

Yesterday, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and Westfield Concession Management unveiled the redevelopment plans for Terminal 5 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which includes a massive transformation of the terminal, 15 new dining and retail brands and new passenger amenities throughout.


The Chicago City Council confirmed Westfield Concession Management LLC’s 20-year agreement to redevelop and manage Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5’s concession programme, in July of last year and together with its tenant partners they are investing more than $26 million into the terminal over the course of the redevelopment.


As reported, Westfield Concession Management started the construction of a post-security duty-free store back in June.


Pictured left to right: Christian Eckmann, Chef, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises; Brian Petrow, General Manager, Westfield Concession Management; Alderman Michael R. Zalewski, Chairman, Committee on Aviation, Chicago City Council; Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, CDA; Dominic Lowe, Executive Vice President, Westfield and Todd Starr, Senior Vice President, Airport Leasing, Westfield.


Chicago O Hare Airport

[Above: Rendering of the new dining court and duty free]



Scheduled for completion in Fall 2013, the redevelopment will feature “world-class dining” and retail post-security – including many Chicago-based restaurants and brands – and a re-engineered layout that aims to enhance the traveller experience and maximise revenues.


Previously, 95% of the terminal’s dining and retail options were located pre-security, making it difficult for passengers to access dining and shopping while waiting for flights. The redevelopment is the first since the terminal’s construction in 1993.



“The reconfigured Terminal 5 raises the bar for airport concessions programs in Chicago and across the country,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino during a celebratory unveiling inside the terminal. “The redevelopment fulfills Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision to transform the terminal into a world-class experience for international visitors and Chicago travellers alike.”


“We are deploying Westfield’s global expertise in operating some of the most iconic shopping venues in the world to Terminal 5,” said Dominic Lowe, Executive Vice President, Westfield Concession Management. “We are transforming the entire passenger experience in Terminal 5.”


Rendering of the new dining court and duty free.

[Above: Rendering of the new dining court and duty free]



The renovated terminal interior – including a new food court with performance kitchens – will offer a redesigned, more efficient TSA checkpoint and feature new lighting, signage, fixtures and other amenities while incorporating sustainable and recycled materials.


A central element of the new design is the European-style walk through duty-free store which all departing passengers will pass through after clearing the new TSA checkpoint.


Operated by Dufry, the duty-free shopping programme will link “Chicago’s Magnificent Mile” shopping district to Terminal 5. Travellers can expect stand-alone luxury shops from designers such as  Bvlgari, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo and Emporio Armani.


The new food and beverage programme includes Tortas Frontera by local award-winning chef Rick Bayless, featuring “a relaxing sit-down atmosphere and flavourful Mexican cuisine with ingredients sourced from local farms”.


Rendering of the new dining court and duty free.

[Above: Tortas Frontera restaurant concept by local award-winning chef Rick Bayless]



Natural Break offers quick salads, sandwiches and juices while Tocco brings rustic Italian fare including wood fired Neapolitan-style pizza, pastas and old world favourites.


“Indulge in gastropub-style sausages, wraps and more in a lively atmosphere at Local Headlines Bar; or savour freshly roasted, direct trade coffees from around the world at locally owned-and-operated Intelligentsia Coffee,” says Dufry.


The redevelopment marks Chicago-based restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ first entry into an airport. “Dishing up fresh sushi, gourmet tacos, burgers and more, Hub 51 offers something for everyone, and Urban Olive, a debut concept for the group, serves up fresh Mediterranean cuisine with modern flair. Big Bowl brings fresh Chinese and Thai fare to the mix, with Wow Bao offering its signature hot Asian buns,” adds Dufry.


Chicago O Hare Airport

[Above: Travellers can expect direct trade coffees from around the world at locally owned-and-operated Intelligentsia Coffee]



Other shops that will feature include; Dufry’s Hudson News concept; Swatch; Chicago-based Vosges Haut Chocolat; I Love Chicago and XpressSpa.


Since the redevelopment began on July 1, 2012, Westfield has completed upgrades to enhance the traveller experience during the transformation.


According to Dufry, passengers are enjoying expanded offerings and increased hours of operation for post-security food, duty-free and travel essentials. New shopping, dining and amenities will open throughout the course of redevelopment.

Middle East

MEADFA Conference 2024 ‘heading to Abu Dhabi on 17-19 November’

This year’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference will take...


DFWC Q1 2024 KPI Monitor indicates rise in duty free impulse purchases

Impulse purchasing within global duty free is on the rise, according to the latest Duty Free...

Asia & Pacific

Avolta details “bold and ambitious” goals to grow its APAC business

With a number of key developments coming to fruition, including its operations at Wuhan Tianhe...

image description

In the Magazine

TRBusiness Magazine is free to access. Read the latest issue now.

E-mail this link to a friend