Chicago Midway Airport planning new lounge

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Judy Lamelza

Special to Chicago Construction News

For the first time in its 95-year history, Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) is set to get a traditional airport lounge. The lounge, named “Club MDW,” is expected to open in the fall of 2024. The development is not just a milestone for the airport but also a significant opportunity for the commercial construction industry.

The lounge will be strategically located between Concourse A and Concourse B, offering a central location for travelers. With a planned area of 3,300 square feet, the project is expected to start in early 2024.

Chicago Business Journal states that while 3,300 sq. ft. might not sound like a massive project, the intricacies involved in airport construction make it a noteworthy endeavor. Airports have stringent safety and security regulations, and meeting these standards requires specialized skills. For commercial construction workers, this project offers the chance to engage in a high-profile job that demands precision and expertise.

“Chicago’s original hometown airport is a tremendous driver for jobs and economic opportunity across the South and West Sides, and I am thrilled about the new jobs and amenities this club will provide for our residents and the traveling public,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Each year, more than 22.7 million people travel through Midway, and we’re excited to be able to offer each of them this new service worthy of our world-class city.”

Working on an airport project like this can be a significant skill enhancer. The project will likely involve advanced electrical work for state-of-the-art lighting and digital displays, specialized HVAC systems to maintain a controlled environment, and possibly even some custom metalwork for aesthetic features.

Given the project’s high-profile nature and the complexities involved, skilled workers will be in high demand. For those in the commercial construction industry, this could mean more extended contracts and better job security.

The financial backing

The lounge is a joint venture between Midway Partnership and the Chicago Department of Aviation. Midway Partnership alone will invest more than $75 million to increase dining and retail options at MDW. This financial backing indicates strong support and a commitment to quality, further emphasizing the project’s significance.

The challenges

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Airport construction comes with its own set of challenges, including but not limited to:

  • Strict security protocols: Workers will need to go through rigorous security checks daily
  • Limited work hours: Due to the operational nature of airports, construction often has to happen during off-hours, affecting the work-life balance of the crew involved
  • High-quality standards: Airports are not the place for shortcuts. Every installation must be top-notch, requiring workers to be at their best at all times

The introduction of a traditional lounge at Chicago Midway Airport is a significant development for the airport and a golden opportunity for commercial construction workers. From skill enhancement and networking to job security, the project offers various benefits to those in the field.

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