Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials gathered at O’Hare Airport last week to break ground on the facility’s biggest new construction project in years: a consolidated rental car facility.
The $782 million project includes not only the 4.5 million square foot building — on the northeast side of the airport property near the intersection of Mannheim Road and Zemke Road — but also an extension of O’Hare’s Airport Transit System to connect it to the passenger terminals.
The building will contain all rental company facilities, from check-in counters and back offices to parking for 4,200 rental vehicles. It will also have 2,600 public parking spaces. With no more need for shuttle vans, airport officials estimate the new rental center will eliminate 1.3 million vehicle trips per year through the terminal roadways after it is finished in 2018.
O’Hare is a little behind the curve in this area; consolidated rental car centers have been all the rage at major U.S. airports for the past decade or so, and they continue to spread — e.g., Charlotte just opened one this spring. O’Hare smaller sister airport, Midway, has had a consolidated rental facility since 2013.
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