JFK Terminal 8 development team breaks ground on $125 million Terminal 8 commercial redevelopment

T8 construction kickoff (1)
JFK Terminal 8 redevelopment team kicked off construction Wednesday on the multi-million dollar project.
Courtesy of Susan G Hillman

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in partnership with American Airlines, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) Airports, and Holt Construction, broke ground on a multi-million dollar commercial redevelopment project at JFK Terminal 8(T8) on Wednesday, May 22nd.

The $125 million project will feature locally inspired dining and retail shops, duty-free shopping, new digital experiences for American Airlines customers, and a seasonal artists’ showcase. 

At the groundbreaking, an inaugural seasonal artist showcase dubbed “A Traveling Dream” was revealed, representing the Jamaica, Queens community and the diversity of the greater Queens area through local art. The art features the Queens-based art studio Vaughan Bentley Creative, which transformed construction barricades into a massive canvas. Five Queens-based artists-Eduardo Anievas Cortines, Timothy Hutto, Luis Caraos, Sheena Vaughn, and William Bentley-were selected to present their work at the gallery-style showcase. Six groups of artists were also curated from more than 130 submissions reviewed by a committee made up of members of the Port Authority, American Airlines and URW.

‘A Traveling Dream’ features dandelions, which symbolize resilience, joy, hope, and nostalgia. Visual Citi, a local minority-woman-owned business enterprise (MWBE), installed the barricade.

Many of the selected artists expressed their enthusiasm towards the exhibit. Vaughn, who serves as the curator for Vaughn Bentley Creative, said that being selected for the first showcase was a testament to “our manifestation as artists and small business owners.”

Local artist Shenna Vaughn was featured at the inaugural T8 artist showcase. Courtesy of Susan G. Hillman

Other local artists will have the opportunity to showcase their work in the future, as the finished terminal includes plans for a year-round permanent showcase. 

Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority, called the T8 redevelopment project a “reimagined commercial program paired with inspiring public art will elevate the passenger experience at Terminal 8.” He added that JFK is focused on creating a relationship between locally owned businesses and national brands and showcasing public art that represents the community. 

Dany Nasr, CEO of URW Airports, added that the start of construction at T8 is a significant milestone for the community. He continued, saying that the project is showcasing local “born and bred Queens talent.”

“This is only the start of a platform  that celebrates this community’s vibrant diversity and culture and connects with and supports our many neighborhoods,” Nasr said. 

Amanda Zhang, American Airlines’ vice president of airport affairs and facilities, shared that the start of construction on T8 was an exciting step in continuing to enhance the customer experience at the terminal.

The commercial redevelopment follows the $400 million expansion of Terminal 8, which was completed in November 2022. The expansion is just one component of the Port Authority’s $19 billion redevelopment of JFK.