Aeroterm delivered the first two phases (Phase I and II) of a state of the art on-airport, multi-user cargo complex in 2016, which was the largest of its kind in North America in over a decade. Aeroterm's to-date investment of approximately $130,000,000 in the Northeast Cargo Complex has been a catalyst for driving benefits to the City of Chicago including direct construction and operations jobs, increased commerce, and sustainability.

The Northeast Cargo Complex is located on approximately 65 acres of previously undeveloped land on the northeast side of O’Hare International Airport (“ORD”). Construction on the site began in late 2013, with Phase I and II of the project complete and operational in 2016, and Phase III scheduled to be operational in early 2022. This project is the result of an unrivaled collaboration between the Chicago Department of Aviation, Aeroterm, and the entire ORD air cargo community.


The Chicago Department of Aviation's partnership with Aeroterm will provide $600 million of economic benefit to the airport and generate 1,850 construction jobs and 1,400 permanent jobs over the life of the agreement.

Phase I and II Development

  • Job creation: The design and development of Phase I and II resulted in approximately 1,600 construction and design jobs, an Aeroterm surpassed the M/WBE Goals by approximately 9.00%. Now, more than ever, these facilities have been vital not only to Chicago but to the entire U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The facilities have been processing cargo at their highest levels to-date and are at peak capacity leveraging approximately 1,200 operational jobs to process the influx of cargo, including PPE, being distributed locally and to the rest of the country given Chicago’s geographic location.

  • Commerce: The additional 800,000 sf of cargo processing space across Phase I and II was accompanied by 11 dedicated 747-8 aircraft parking positions. The 747-8 aircraft provides 50% additional capacity to handle cargo compared to jumbo jet freighter. This additional capacity has enabled Chicago to grow into a center for international commerce in the United States. Following the delivery of the Phase I and II facilities, cargo volumes at ORD have increased 20%. This increase resulted in ORD surpassing JFK to become the 6th highest ranked airport by cargo volumes in North America.

  • Sustainability: The Northeast Cargo Phase I and II facilities have achieved LEED SILVER certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Phase I and Phase II buildings have vegetated green roofs, which together comprise 2.4 acres of green roof space. The development area itself was a former military brownfield site that was redeveloped and the newly built facilities have features to help manage storm water, reduce electricity consumption, conserve potable water and promote alternative transportation including parking for bicycles and low emitting vehicles. Furthermore, the hydrant fueling systems installed at the facility eliminate the need for tanker trucks on the aircraft ramp and their associated emissions. The addition of these two facilities resulted in a 27% increase of LEED Cargo facilities at ORD when measured by square feet.


ORD Northeast Cargo Phase III Development

  • For the third phase of the Northeast Cargo development, Aeroterm is looking to improve on the participation success of the first two phases. Aeroterm has implemented the following initiative in order to accomplish this goal:
    • General contractor selection: Aeroterm has partnered with BOWA Construction, Clayco and D’Escoto to construct Phase III. This project represents the first time at O’Hare International Airport that an African American contractor has led the construction of an Air Cargo Facility of this magnitude.
    • Communities Empowered Through Construction partnership: Aeroterm has engaged Communities Empowered Through Construction to leverage their cutting-edge technology and broad network of business and government contacts to create a thoughtful approach to diversity and inclusion in order to exceed our hiring and contracting goals.
  • Aeroterm's $56,000,000 Phase III investment will build on the success of Phase I and II and generate additional direct construction and operations jobs, commerce, and sustainability.
    • Job creation: The design and development of Phase III will create an estimated 250 construction and design jobs. Aeroterm is targeting to surpass the business inclusion achievements of Phase I and II and expects this project to result in an additional 200 direct operations jobs for the facility in 2022.