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CHICAGO-The debate on new runways at an expanded O’Hare International Airport as well as a third airport in far south suburban Peotone moved to the back burner after Sept. 11. However, the city still plans on buying 18.5 acres next to O’Hare in the neighboring suburb of Des Plaines.

According to an ordinance introduced in the city council, Oak Brook, IL-based industrial REIT Centerpoint Properties Trust will sell three buildings and parking lots at 110-190 Old Higgins Rd. for $14.35 million, $5.2 million more than CenterPoint paid for it four years ago, according to property tax records. The land is near the end of the main northwest-to-southeast runway at O’Hare, where plans call for shifts to an east-west pattern.

While Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pushed for new, reconfigured runways at O’Hare, lameduck Governor George Ryan wanted support for a third airport in Peotone. Public hearings were held this summer, and Ryan was expected to issue a compromise plan after Labor Day, under the threat of Congress dictating a plan of its own. Since Sept. 11, the aviation agenda has focused on security inside terminals and on aircraft as well as keeping struggling airlines aloft.

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