United Cargo O’Hare Facility

Chicago, Illinois


United seized the opportunity, created by the O’Hare Modernization Program, to build a new state-of-the-art cargo handling facility that would be a model of efficiency and sustainability, increasing their productivity and providing a fresh workspace for their employees. Our team worked closely with United throughout all phases of the project, from programming and planning through the development of construction documents, to design a well-operating, environmentally sensitive facility that could serve the demands of one of the world’s busiest airports.


We designed the 252,000 SF facility to accommodate United Airlines’ belly cargo as well as third-party logistics carrier cargo. The building includes individual spaces for storing perishable goods, records, and valuable goods, along with a wide range of spaces designated for employee use, offices for United personnel and other tenants, locker rooms, a customer service counter, a trucker check-in area, and a dedicated pet handling area. Our design also provides for 160,000 SF of flexible expansion to accommodate two additional freighter positions.

In addition to the building design, we provided engineering services for the facility’s cargo handling system, which incorporates both ULD and mail components. The ULD portion of the system consists of two main subsystems for both landside and airside operations.


By providing an interdisciplinary team to accomplish a broad range of services, we met the project’s functional and aesthetic goals. Understanding that sustainability was a priority, we designed the project to meet the Chicago Department of Aviation’s sustainability standards, achieving a rating of “four green airplanes”.