Chicago Vertiport Slated To Open Next Year
Work is scheduled to begin this summer on a $13 million Chicago vertiport, more than 20 years after it was first proposed. The near west side, 10-acre site at 14th & Wood is owned by the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMD) and will be financed privately and developed by Nighthawk Services.
Nighthawk president Mike Conklin told AIN that he expects final approvals within weeks and groundbreaking in “late July or early August.” Construction will take approximately 12 months.
The vertiport will be capable of accommodating VTOL aircraft such as the under-development AgustaWestland AW609 and the military Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey. Plans call for the vertiport to have its own FBO with a 15,000-sq-ft terminal, a 4.5-acre tarmac ramp with space for 60 helicopters and a 30,000-sq-ft hangar. The vertiport’s location is eight blocks south of the University of Illinois Chicago main campus, and 2.5 miles due west of the lakefront location of the former Meigs Field, which the city illegally demolished in 2003.
Real estate developer Paul Beitler first proposed a Chicago vertiport in 1993. The FAA began funding vertiport studies in 1988.