The last elements to be placed on the layout were the buildings, which are a mix of kits and custom-made designs. For research on the buildings, hundreds of photographs were taken of downtown Chicago as reference, so that buildings could be recreated with exact detail. 192 buildings were custom-made for the project, including HO-scale recreations of the Sears Tower and the Space Needle.
In planning for the placement of the buildings the designers took careful measurements to account for the landing gear that extended six times a day from the 727 directly overhead. When was asked if the landing gear would hit the buildings, one designer joked, "Well, if it does, it will only happen once."
Once built, each building was carefully mounted to the benchwork. Within most of the buildings there is a light stick that shines out of the building's windows when the "Take Flight" show overhead dims the hall.