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by Michael J. Shapiro | June 28, 2016
Two new hotels and an overhaul of the existing O'Hare Hilton are slated for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced. The $350 million investment in the airport will more than double the current hotel capacity and will not be funded by taxpayers, the mayor confirmed. The construction should support more than 1,250 jobs.

"With more hotels, we are building a better future for not just the airport and the millions of travelers who pass through it, but for our city too," said Mayor Emanuel.

The first project, developed and financed by the Chicago Department of Aviation, will result in a new, 300- to 400-room hotel adjacent to Terminal 5. The hotel will offer 25,000 to 65,000 square feet of conference space, including banquet rooms, ballrooms and other amenities. Direct access to the terminals will be provided by the 24-hour Airport Transit System.

The second hotel, which also will be linked to the terminals via the Airport Transit System, will be part of a new, mixed-use commercial development next to a facility that's currently under construction on the northeast side of the airport. The 150- to 200-room property will offer a business center, office space and more. 

The existing Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport, which now has 860 guest rooms and 43 meeting rooms, will be renovated and modernized in order to accommodate large-scale trade shows and events. Currently, the largest on-site event space at the hotel is a 3,500-square-foot ballroom. Also planned for the hotel, which is in Terminal 2, are a spa, extended room service, concierge services, and high-end restaurants and boutiques. The renovation project will begin in two years, when the current lease expires.

The city will issue requests for proposal in the fall of 2016, with the goal of completing construction by 2020. The hotels are the latest in a series of airport projects announced since the beginning of this year, including a $1.3 billion upgrade that will result in a new runway, critical updates and new gates.