Two shortlisted for Gary/Chicago deal

A committee in charge of the airfield is hoping to reach a deal in October.

A consortium including Guggenheim Partners is a finalist for a tender to transfer operation of Gary/Chicago International Airport to a private partner.

Financial services firm Guggenheim will compete for the public-private partnership (PPP; P3) with a group teaming AXIS Consulting, a Chicago airport adviser, aviation focused real estate developer Airport Property Ventures (APV), boutique bank The Williams Capital Group, commercial real estate firm NAI Hiffman and project management constant Lee Companies.

For its part, Guggenheim has aligned itself with Virginia-based private airport operator AvPORTS Management, investment manager Loop Capital and law firm DLA Piper.

A committee run by the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority is expecting to meet with each team next week. Ten consortia responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the tender, which was put to market in July. The Authority is hoping to settle on a private operator by late October.

Billing itself as the ‘third airport’ in the Chicago metropolitan area behind Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport, the 74-year-old Gary/Chicago airfield is located in Gary, a city in bordering US Midwest state Indiana.

Gary/Chicago has suffered from low ridership and in August parted with its lone remaining carrier, Allegiant Air. 

The shortlist for Gary/Chicago was published less than a week after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel nixed a highly anticipated P3 for Midway Airport. Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (LMM) in Puerto Rico is the only airport P3 in the US to date.

In February, financial close was reached on a deal leasing LMM to infrastructure fund manager Highstar Capital and Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) for $2.5 billion.