August 22, 2008

Airport Selects a Developer

By Nadia Malik

[email protected]

A developer that has been submitting proposals for three years has received the go-ahead for a project at Chicago Executive Airport.

The Sovereign Development Group, based in Massachusetts, will replace two old hangars on property near Milwaukee Avenue with four bigger hangars and a restaurant

"It was a very difficult decision," Allan Englehardt, chairman of the Chicago Executive Airport board, said of choosing between alternative proposals. "I think the board felt that this one brought the most hangar space and brought a restaurant, terminal building and offices."

The board on Thursday chose among three developers for the southwest parcel of the airport, which is owned by both Wheeling and Prospect Heights.

While all three included restaurant space, which the board deemed important to bring non-fliers to the airport, Englehardt said Sovereign also had a more traditional art-deco design.

The Sovereign proposal also features a fueling component.

Falcon Trust, based in Florida, also included a fueling station, but Raymond Chou, in Chicago, did not.

Englehardt said that when Sovereign first came to the board three years ago, the development was more a strip mall with a few aviation components.

"We've asked them to de-emphasize things like retail and emphasize things like aviation," he said. "We prefer hangars and offices. When they first came to us, they didn't have fuel."

The development will tentatively have a 4,500-square foot-glass atrium with a viewing wall of a runway, a 62,000-square-foot hangar, 30,000 square feet of office space, a 7,500-square-foot restaurant and a 7,500-square-foot terminal.

Englehardt said the airport staff is still negotiating the terms of the lease agreement for the land with Sovereign.

The project could begin within a few months if negotiations go smoothly.

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