Chicago mayor announces $200m cargo initiative at O’Hare

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city of Chicago has reached a lease agreement with developer Aeroterm, launching construction of the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Northeast Cargo Center. The nearly $200 million center, which will sit on approximately 65 acres of property, will be built in three separate phases.

According to a press release, the first phase will see the construction of a taxiway to connect the Northeast Cargo Center to the rest of O’Hare airport, as well as a facility with office and freight space. Additional facilities with freight and office capacity will be built during the second and third phases of construction.

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino praised the significant strides made on the O’Hare Modernization Program with “paving the way for this project to commence, with new, larger runways and taxiways that allow the airport to handle the larger, newest generation of B747-8 cargo planes.”

“Because of our successful efforts,” Andolino said, “Chicago and O’Hare are able to better serve existing cargo carriers and attract new cargo service, which will boost Chicago’s position as an international airfreight hub.”

The construction of the Northeast Cargo Center will also boost Chicago’s economy, according to the press release. The project, which will be financed by a $130 million investment by Aeroterm and more than $62 million of airport funds, is expected to create 1,200 construction jobs, 1,200 permanent jobs and 10,000 regional jobs. The cargo center will also provide O’Hare airport with $600 million in economic benefits over the span of the agreement at no burden to Chicago taxpayers.

Mayor Emanuel elaborated on this benefit, stating that “O’Hare is one of our city’s key economic engines and this project will vastly increase O’Hare’s cargo operations capacity, create thousands of quality jobs for Chicagoans, and increase Chicago’s competitive position as a global transportation and cargo leader.”

The lease agreement between Chicago and Aeroterm, who was selected during a request for proposals process, will be submitted to the Chicago City Council in June for approval, according to the press release.

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