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Westfield Concession Management has won the right to develop concessions
at Chicago O’Hare International’s (ORD) Terminal 5 for the next 20
years under a contract approved by the Chicago City Council late last
month, though the company Westfield is scheduled to replace has not
ended its efforts to maintain its position.

Westfield and its partners will invest about $26M into the project,
which is expected to bring 280 new jobs and 25 concession spaces to the
airport while also promising to “improve the travel experience of
Chicagoans and visitors from around the world who fly through O’Hare
International Airport,” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.

Westfield’s partners at ORD include Hudson Group, which will operate
news and gift shops, and Hudson’s parent company, Dufry, which will
operate duty free shops. Areas USA will handle the terminal’s food and
beverage operations at T5.

Westfield officials cited still-unresolved issues in declining an
interview request, but Dominic Lowe, senior vice president, says in a
statement provided to Airport Revenue News that Westfield is eager to
get to work.

“We look forward to working with the city of Chicago and our partners to
transform O’Hare International Terminal 5 into a world-class passenger
experience while creating jobs and new revenue for the city,” he says.

As it stands, the existing concessionaire is scheduled to vacate the
international terminal by the end of the month. However, Chicago
Aviation Partners, Duty Free Americas Inc. and Chicago Duty Free Shops
filed suit last week against the city and Westfield, alleging that its
offer would have provided the city with millions more in revenue.

The companies also accuse the city of using a “sham evaluation process”
to select Westfield and say Chicago officials would not allow the firm
to expand its concessions offerings beyond security checkpoints where it
could increase revenue, according to the complaint, which was filed in
the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs told the Chicago Tribune the company
will ask a judge to block the Westfield award and either award the
contract to them or restart the bidding process. The companies will also
seek an unspecified cash award for damages, the paper reports.

Chicago Aviation Partners, a partnership between Duty Free Americas and
McDonald’s Corp., has developed and managed the T5 concessions program
since 1993.
Officials from the Chicago Department of Aviation indicated in a
statement a desire to start moving forward with Westfield as its new
developer.

“Westfield’s redevelopment plans for the International Terminal will
reflect Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision to bring world-class amenities to a
world class city,” says Rosemarie S. Andolino, commissioner of the
Chicago Department of Aviation.

Further questions were referred to the city’s legal department, which defended its process in a statement.

“Our process was fair and open to all bidders, and there was
unprecedented transparency regarding all aspects of the proposals prior
to the city council’s vote on this matter,” the statement says.

It adds that CAP’s challenge has been soundly rejected and called the
lawsuit “simply an attempt by a disgruntled bidder to stop the award of a
contract to another party.”