Get the latest Chicago news and updates for July 2012, including hotel highlights.

Chicago News: July

New Labor Agreement at McCormick Place & Navy Pier

A new labor agreement is helping cut the costs of conventions and trade shows in Chicago. The agreement is between McCormick Place, Navy Pier, MPEA, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 134 and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The details:

This agreement allows IATSE stagehands to complete a type of work previously completed by IBEW electricians.

IATSE members will now be allowed to install, operate, and remove the audio/visual, sound, and lighting equipment in certain areas used for presentations and performances, and to plug in the equipment to permanent outlets or temporary electrical services provided by electricians. This would also include lighting and sound equipment which is suspended from the ceilings of the facilities.

Electricians will continue to complete all of the work they have historically completed in Exhibit Booths and other areas not used for presentations or performances.

This agreement is significant because it:

  • Helps align the facilities' business models with other tradeshow and convention facilities.
  • Allows show managers to use a wider group of contractors to provide services for performance and production areas.
  • Creates additional savings for show management.
  • Ends a contentious jurisdictional argument between IBEW and IATSE at Navy Pier.
  • Allows McCormick Place to compete more aggressively for corporate and association convention business.
  • Allows for additional bookings for shows that benefit from these changes are expected to create additional work for both unions.

More details


O'Hare and Midway Airports to Get Free Wifi

Beginning late this summer, free WiFi will be available at both O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.

WiFi access (which currently costs travelers $6.95/day) will be free for specific news, sports, shopping, gaming and travel websites. This WiFi deal, between the city of Chicago and Internet Service Provider Boingo Communications, does not yet include access to email platforms, but is expected to include a limited period of time to access email at no charge.

More details


New International Visitor Data Available

The 2011 visitor data available on has been updated to include data on international visitors.

In 2011, Chicago saw 1.2 million overseas visitors, bringing the total number of visitors to 43.59 million in 2011. The visitor data also includes information on domestic visitor travel volume, and breaks out statistics for domestic leisure travelers and domestic business travelers.

View the data (PDF)

More details on domestic 2011 visitor data


The Wrigley Building Becomes the Newest Chicago Landmark

The City of Chicago City Council recently approved the historic Wrigley Building's designation as an official Chicago Landmark, following The Commission on Chicago Landmarks' unanimous recommendation to declare its landmark status.

"I commend the city's Landmarks Commission for declaring The Wrigley Building a historic landmark," said Mayor Emanuel. "Respecting and preserving our city's unique architectural history is important and can be done in concert with the city's economic development and job creation goals. This creates a positive situation for all involved and allows Chicago to move forward while honoring its past."

The Wrigley Building will also undergo renovations that preserve and protect the exterior facade and historically significant interior building components.

Renovation plans include extensive infrastructure improvements including HVAC equipment and control system upgrades, sprinkler system installation, electrical service expansion and a new fire alarm system. Obsolete office floor area space will be demolished and upgraded to modern standards, including new toilet rooms and corridors. Both main lobbies will be fully renovated with timeless, high quality stone, mahogany and detailed plaster finishes that complement the historic bronze elevators and clock details which will be retained. Additionally, new energy efficient windows will be installed on the office floors.

More details

Chicago Hotel Highlights: July

Chicago Marriott O'Hare's $40 Million Renovations

Experience the new $40 million renovations at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare, located 14 miles from downtown and just minutes from the airport:

  • Additional 6,400 square feet of meeting space
  • Redesigned guest rooms with wireless Internet
  • Cutting-edge lobby with modular workspaces
  • New American grill Brickton to open next month

More on the meeting space:

  • 24 meeting rooms
  • Maximum of 33 break-out rooms
  • 34,800 square feet of total meeting space
  • Largest meeting room: Chicago Ballroom, with maximum meeting space of 9,633 sq. ft. and maximum seating capacity of 1,200

View floor plans and a capacity chart


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