Wings Magazine

Chicago’s O’Hare gets inspirational face lift

April 7, 2014, Chicago, Il. - Chicago unveiled a $26 million overhaul of O'Hare Airport's international terminal on Friday, showing off two dozen new high-end dining and shopping options.

April 7, 2014  By The Associated Press

It's the first redevelopment since Terminal 5's construction in 1993
and features sleek interior design upgrades that give parts of the
terminal the feel of a comfy lounge or trendy nightclub.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday that the redesign, which
includes local brands, does a better job of representing Chicago to
those who pass through the airport, the second busiest in the country.



"Terminal 5 reflects our city's distinct style
and spirit, placing Chicago at the centre of the global tourism
conversation," Emanuel said.


Among new offerings are a spa, a
local gourmet deli called The Goddess & Grocer and a restaurant
overseen by celebrity chef Rick Bayless. Coming soon are an Emporio
Armani and a Michael Kors shop.


Airports around the country are in competition
over such amenities in hopes of attracting passengers, especially those
in transit who can be tempted to spend money while on a layover.


At O'Hare, the need was
especially acute. Even Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino has
called the old Terminal 5 an embarrassment.


It was designed with grand spaces, but after the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, some of those areas were filled with expanded
security checkpoints, leaving passengers with few options for eating and
shopping once they passed the screening lines.


The renovated interior transformed
the food court into a dining lounge with performance kitchens. New
design elements include detail touches like wood paneled walls,
intricate tile patterns and stylish lighting.


There is also a new 10,000-square-foot duty-free
store that will offer luxury brands representing downtown Chicago's
Magnificent Mile shopping district.


Even before its full completion,
departing passengers last year spent an average of $18.99 in Terminal
5's shops and restaurants, the highest it's ever been.


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