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Photo by Evan P. Cordes
Photo by Evan P. Cordes
The TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport.

The former TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport may be closer to turning into a chic boutique hotel.

Ron Marsico, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which controls the TWA structure, said that it’s negotiating with a developer about building a hotel at the location.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s Andre Balazs Properties, a developer known for high-end hotels such as the Standard group of lodgings in New York, Los Angeles and Miami Beach.

Designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the TWA building was constructed in 1962, but closed in 2001 because it “no longer [met] the needs of passengers because of its many aeronautical limitations,” said the Port Authority, adding that it’s “committed to reopening this marvel of modern American architecture to the public.”

Part of that commitment included a $20 million restoration of the structure after it closed.

The TWA Flight Center also sits behind JFK’s Terminal 5 and connects to it via tubes. Terminal 5 is currently being redesigned and expanded to better serve JetBlue flights.

In February 2011, the Port Authority held a tour of the building for potential developers that were interested in incorporating a hotel into the TWA Flight Center.

That list included Andre Balazs Properties as well as Yotel, the Trump Organization, Starwood Hotels and 24 other developers.

If Andre Balazs Properties does build a hotel at the site, it would be the developer’s first in Queens and at an airport.

There are no guarantees, however, that an upscale boutique hotel at JFK would be successful, especially with the airport’s separated terminals.

“It’s very different from a lot of places around that world that are more consolidated,” Richard Barone, a transportation planner with the nonprofit Regional Plan Association, told the Wall Street Journal. “Ideally you’d like to have facilities that are more common use.”

The only other hotel located right at the airport, a Ramada, closed a few years ago, but the Port Authority is considering reopening it, said Marsico.

 

An inside look at the TWA Flight Center during this fall's Open House New York Weekend. (Photo by Nicholas Lemery Nantel)

 

 

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