New hotel planned for TWA Flight Center

New hotel planned for TWA Flight Center
Photo by Michael Shain
By Patrick Donachie

A new hotel scheduled to utilize architect Eero Saarinen’s Trans World Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport is expected to open in late 2018, with an official announcement on new details of the project expected later this month, according to a report from The New York Times.

The TWA Hotel at JFK Airport will incorporate the famous terminal, which opened as the TWA Flight Center in 1962. The site was closed in 2001, but will see renewed life as the location of a new hotel incorporating 505 guest rooms and 40,000 square feet of event and meeting space, according to a fact sheet from MCR Development, which is shepherding the project.

Details of the hotel project, which will cost around $265 million, will be described more fully during an announcement Dec. 15. Beyer Blinder Belle and Lubrano Ciavarra are the architects of the project, and the rehabilitation of the space will restore the original terminal.

In addition to guest rooms and event space, the hotel will include between six and eight food or beverage outlets and a 10,000 square foot public observation deck. The redevelopment will be privately funded, according to MCR Development, and the plan is a public-private partnership between MCR and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It is expected to create more than 3,700 construction and permanent jobs.

The TWA Flight Center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Saarinen, who died in 1961, is a lauded architect, whose work includes the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri and the main terminal at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

In November 2015, the City Planning Commission plan certified the hotel conversion plan for public review through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, and early this year Community Boards 10, 12 and 13 approved of the new plan, along with Borough President Melinda Katz.

Beyer Blinder Belle has a long list of projects and specializes in historical preservation. The firm has done a significant amount of restoration work on Grand Central Station, redesigned the interior of the Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and refurbished the lobby of the Empire State Building in 2009. MCR Development has developed 91 hotels throughout the country, including The High Line Hotel in Manhattan.

The eventual development will be the airport’s first on-site, full-service hotel, according to MCR.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.