Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses Selection of Local Architecture Firm for O’Hare Project

O'Hare, Naperville business law attorneyThere are few things in business that are as competitive as bids for a large project are. Even larger and more prestigious projects are likely to attract the absolute best an industry has to offer. This was certainly the case for the terminal expansion project planned for Terminal 2 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

As a business attorney practicing in Northern Illinois, I was pleased to learn that the project’s selection committee chose a design firm headed by a Chicago-based architect. I am aware, however, of concerns that some have expressed regarding the transparency of the selection process.

Studio ORD Gets the Nod

According to various news reports, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was looking for a design for the terminal project that would leave a lasting impression on travelers and that would reintroduce O’Hare to the world. The mayor’s office announced this week that it found what it was looking for in a design by Studio ORD—a joint venture led by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. The design group includes Studio Gang, STL Architects, and several other companies. The project is expected to break ground in 2023.

Renderings of the winning design show that the project will cover about 2.2 million square feet and will be the centerpiece of the terminal expansion estimated to cost about $8.5 million. The Y-shaped design will boast soaring roofs, interior greenery, and a great deal of natural wood—a feature that reportedly set it apart from the competition during the selection process. The shape of the terminal resembles that of the Chicago River, Gang said in a statement. “As a native Chicagoan, I understand deeply the importance of O’Hare to our city’s identity,” she said. The expansion is expected to be used for both domestic and international operations.

Questions About Transparency

Not all Chicagoans are thrilled by the choice of Gang’s design. In a column in the Chicago Tribune, reporter Blair Kamin openly questioned how she and her team got the gig, especially considering that her design placed third out of five in a survey completed by more than 40,000 residents of the city. “Did Gang and her team of collaborators, who are known as Studio ORD Joint Venture Partners, win this job the Chicago Way?” Kamin asked, ostensibly implying that internal connections affected the selection process.

Kamin pointed out that Gang has worked closely with Mayor Emanuel on some of the mayor’s most prestigious projects, including the Chicago River boathouses. The city claims that the selection was based on a scoring process by experts but did not release the names of the committee members or their report. The mayor, officials say, did not participate in the selection. While Kamin is disappointed by the city’s apparent lack of transparency, he also expressed mild concerns over some of the design’s features, but he is willing to wait and see how the final result impacts travelers.

A DuPage County Business Attorney Can Help You Manage Bids

If your business is considering a large-scale improvement project and you are accepting bids from contractors, an experienced Naperville business lawyer can help you navigate the selection process. Contact our office for a confidential consultation by calling 630-756-1160 today.


Crain’s Chicago Business

Architectural Digest

Chicago Tribune

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