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Cuomo okays TWA Flight Center hotel plan

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has given formal approval for a long-range lease arrangement to turn the landmark TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport into a hotel complex.

JFK is one of the few U.S. airports without an on-airport hotel. The $265 million construction project, which is expected to break ground next year, will generate 3,700 jobs — including approximately 2,500 union construction and restoration jobs — and is expected to open in 2018.

Plans for the hotel were first announced by Governor Cuomo in July.

TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport
TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport

The project, approved by the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners, calls for a 75-year lease agreement with Flight Center Hotel LLC, a partnership of MCR Development and JetBlue Airways Corporation, to remake the TWA Flight Center and its nearly six-acre site into JFK’s only on-airport hotel.

MCR Development will maintain 95 percent ownership of the hotel and JetBlue will have 5 percent.

Flight Center Hotel LLC will invest approximately $265 million to continue renovations of the TWA Flight Center, while developing 505 hotel rooms, 40,000 s/f of meeting space, restaurants, a spa and a 10,000 s/f observation deck.

The complex will feature two six-story hotel towers and a micro-grid energy management system, allowing the building to generate its own power. Additionally, preservationists will see the curving 1960’s-era stark white concourse with plush-red lounge area, designed by legendary architect Eero Saarinen, remain as it first looked a half-a-century ago following a $20 million renovation by the Port Authority to comply with the building’s historic designation.

Development of an on-airport hotel fulfills a key recommendation provided by the Governor’s Airport Master Plan Advisory Panel for Kennedy Airport’s master plan. Along with the developer’s financial commitment, the Port Authority also will invest up to $8 million in a connector to the JetBlue terminal, a parking garage and AirTrain Station to serve the hotel complex.

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