Construction has begun on the 48,000-square-foot space that will house FlyOver, a new flight ride attraction at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.

With McHugh Construction leading the construction, FlyOver will replace Navy Pier’s longtime IMAX theater, located near the Centennial Wheel on the west end of the pier. McHugh began demolition of the existing space in June 2022 in preparation for building out the 60-foot-high, 80-foot-wide space.

FlyOver ChicagoMcHugh Construction

“McHugh has an extensive track record of success when it comes to building on Navy Pier, including past projects like the Centennial Wheel; Offshore, the world’s largest rooftop bar, according to the Guinness Book of World Records; and Sable at Navy Pier, a $100 million, 223-room hotel that is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection,” said Andrew Totten, vice president of McHugh Construction. “We were excited to return to Navy Pier and create a new space to enhance the visitor and tourist experience in Chicago.”

FlyOver, from global attractions and hospitality company Pursuit, will be the first ride of its kind in Chicago. The experience will be based on similar FlyOver attractions from Pursuit located in Las Vegas, Canada and Iceland.

Navy PierShutterstock

Once completed, the immersive attraction will provide guests with the feeling of flight as they hang suspended from moving seats with their feet dangling below. Exclusive flight ride films projected on a 65-foot wrap-around screen will showcase Chicago as well as iconic landscapes from around the globe as riders enjoy a full multi-sensory experience, complete with mist, wind and scents.

Pursuit initially hired McHugh to perform a feasibility study for the demolition of the IMAX Theater as well as the construction of the new attraction. Following the study, Pursuit signed a lease for the space, selected Chicago-based Epstein as the architect, and hired McHugh as the project's construction manager.

Set to cost $13 million, the FlyOver project is expected to open in Spring 2024.