Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, the TWA Flight Center was the central terminal at JFK Airport for years. With its dramatic shape suggestive of a bird, the building marked a pretty big shift in corporate construction, leading other airports to put a little more effort into their designs. Even though it’s considered a symbol of the Golden Age of Travel, the terminal ended operations in 2001 after capacity constraints and post-9/11 security issues, and has since remained largely unused. Until now, that is. Last week New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo finally confirmed that the iconic Flight Center is on its way to becoming a hotel that will be opening in 2018.
“This administration has committed to modernizing New York’s airports for the 21st century by creating gateways worthy of New York City and ensuring travelers have the services they need,’’ says Governor Cuomo. “At the TWA Flight Center, we are able to meet those goals while also preserving its iconic design for passengers to enjoy for decades to come.”
The $265 million project will be breaking ground next year and comes with a 75-year lease agreement with Flight Center Hotel LLC (which is owned by MCR Development and JetBlue Airways Corporation). Maintaining its recognizable façade, the hotel will be constructed in two six-story towers that will be set back a little from the landmark. It will include “505 hotel rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, restaurants, a spa and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck.” Though details haven’t been announced yet regarding the level of accommodations, there will be 22 suites available. A micro-grid energy management system will also be created, so the hotel will be able to generate its own power supply.
“The Port Authority is proud to ensure the TWA Flight Center plays a critical role in JFK Airport’s future, while acknowledging its importance in aviation history. The new hotel will serve the growing needs of our passengers throughout the 21st century, with a touch of the bygone era of glamorous mid-20th Century jet-age travel,” says Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye.