Concessions upgrades for O'Hare international terminal

More than two dozen new restaurants and retail stores will open next year at the international terminal at O'Hare International Airport, city officials announced today.

The upgrades are part of a $26.2 million redevelopment of Terminal 5, the first overhaul of the facility since it opened in 1993.

The goals of the project include improving the travel experience with higher-end amenities that are common at world-class airports, as well as maximizing revenues, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Currently, most of the dining and retail options in Terminal 5 are located before passengers pass through security checkpoints. That will change under the plan being carried out by Westfield Concession Management, Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino.

"This is a moment that is long overdue for O'Hare International Airport and Terminal 5," Andolino said at an event previewing the new food, beverage and retail offerings.

Twenty-five new restaurants that will be in operation by fall 2013 include Big Bowl, Hub 51, Intelligentsia Fresh Roasted Coffee, tocco (an Italian eatery) Frontera tortas, urban olive and Wow Bao.

All departing passengers will flow through a duty-free store after clearing a new security checkpoint, officials said.

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint in Terminal 5 will be redesigned to improve efficiency, officials said.

The city council, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's support, in 2011 approved the 25-year contract with Westfield Concession Management to run concessions in the international terminal.

Westfield had promised to spend $26.2 million to upgrade the restaurants and shops in Terminal 5.

The Westfield deal also guarantees the city at least $5.1 million annually in rent, on the condition that specified passenger counts are met.

Chicago Aviation Partners, the company that lost the contract, protested that Westfield was selected through a bidding process that violated state law and that the firm will shortchange the city by tens of millions of dollars. Chicago Aviation Partners is owned by Chicago Duty Free America and McDonald's Corp. Jeremiah Joyce, an ally of ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley, has a minority interest in Chicago Duty Free Shops.

Aldermen who voted against Westfield complained that the city council was not given enough time to review the contract.

Twitter: @jonhilkevitch

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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