Central Market unveiled at Midway

Travelers head past stores in the renovated Midway Airport Central Market. (City of Chicago photo)

Midway Airport’s Central Market has been reopened, completing the Midway Modernization Program — the most comprehensive investment in the airport’s facilities in more than two decades.

“The new concessions in Midway’s reopened Central Market are not just world-class amenities to enhance the passenger experience for Chicagoans and visitors alike,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said at the Wednesday, Nov. 29, unveiling. “These improvements are an investment in our city’s communities, creating jobs on the Southwest Side for young people and midcareer professionals while connecting local businesses and entrepreneurs with one of our region’s biggest economic engines.”

“I am proud of Midway’s long track record of investing in diverse local businesses with the highest Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise participation rate in the nation,” Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee said. “This ribbon-cutting completes our ambitious Midway Modernization Program and underscores Mayor Johnson’s ongoing commitment to supporting our diverse team of airport concessionaires at both airports, which represent a key pillar of Chicago’s economy.”

The revamped Central Market, located at the intersection of concourses A and B is home to a mix of new and existing brands with diverse ownership teams.

The food and beverage locations include:

  • Connie’s Pizza
  • America’s Dog and Burger
  • White Sox Bar and Grill
  • M Burger
  • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
  • Dunkin’
  • Reilly’s Daughter

Retail locations include:

  • Evolve
  • Tumi
  • MAC/Jo Malone

More than 56 percent of Midway’s concessions are operated by firms with diverse ownership teams, among the highest rates in the Southwest Side airport’s history and the highest reported rate of any airport in the country.

The airport’s concession developer, Midway Partnership, managed Midway’s concessions overhaul. The firm’s contract with the CDA will be extended as part of an airport concessions ordinance that also extended some relief measures first implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to help support businesses hit hard by the historic disruption in air travel. The Chicago City County recently passed the ordinance with the support of Mayor Johnson and the council’s Committee on Aviation.

“Midway Partnership is thrilled to celebrate the opening of the centerpiece of the new guest experience at Chicago Midway,” said Sammy Patel, CEO of Midway Partnership. “This milestone almost completes the transformation of the airport’s eating and shopping experience with a private investment of more than $75 million. The Central Market features a thoughtfully curated mix of local and national retail brands, and several Chicago favorites, offered in a welcoming setting in the center of the airport.

“Thanks to the collaborative partnership between the countless small, local, minority businesses, the Chicago Department of Aviation, and Midway Partnership’s joint venture partners SSP America, Hudson and Vantage Airport Group, we can deliver an exceptional guest experience and create thousands of jobs and opportunities for the South Side of Chicago.”

CDA and Midway Partnerships plans additional development in 2024, including buildouts of several additional retail, and food and beverage locations. Midway is also on track to open the airport’s first lounge, The Club MDW, in the Central Market next fall.

Midway’s concessions redevelopment was the final major phase of the $400 million MMP, which launched in 2015. The airport now boats more than 45 brands. The expansion increased Midway’s total concessions area from 40,000 square feet to more than 70,000 square feet.

The centerpiece of the MMP was an expansion of Midway’s passenger security checkpoint, which increased the width of the pedestrian bridge over Cicero Avenue and doubled the TSA’s hourly screening capacity and available space for queuing. The new security bridge opened in 2020 with a virtual commissioning at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modernization work on Midway’s Terminal Parking Garage was completed in 2021, with technological upgrades including elevator modernization, improvements to the exit plaza, a new revenue control system for more efficient entry and exiting, new electric vehicle charging stations, energy-efficient electrical upgrades including LED lighting, drainage upgrades and other improvements.

The CDA also implemented Americans with Disabilities Act improvements at the nearby Midway Kiss ’n’ Ride, including a designated passenger loading and unloading zone, a raised accessibilty path, and new signs.