Latest updates on the fate of Saarinen’s TWA Flight Terminal
Governor Cuomo recently revealed the future of JFK Airport’s iconic TWA Flight Center designed by Eero Saarinen. This terminal has sat vacant for 14 years. Although it’s been known that the terminal would house a hotel, who would make develop this idea was a mystery until last week. MCR Development has a plant to turn the historic structure into The TWA Flight Center Hotel, a facility with 505 hotel rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, six to eight dining establishments, and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck.
In a statement, CEO Tyler Morse says the development “will celebrate and preserve” the building, “returning the landmark to its original glory and reopening it to the public. […] Whether staying the night or simply exploring, international visitors and New Yorkers alike will be able to experience the magic of the Jet Age in this extraordinary mid-century icon.”
A rendering shows a low rise building peeking out from behind Saarinen’s swooping beauty, and a press release says that the new building will “set back from the terminal, designed to defer to the landmark,” which will become the hotel’s lobby. The new building and any changes to the Flight Center, which is an interior and exterior landmark, will have to be approved by go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
[UPDATE: While the LPC will have a say in the process, the project is actually not under the commission’s jurisdiction since it is owned by the Port Authority, which is not bound by LPC decisions.]
The developer also has a “plan to include innovative museum
focusing on New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age, the storied history of TWA Airlines, and the Midcentury Modern design movement.” The redevelopment is a public-private partnership between MCR Development, JetBlue, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but it will be privately funded. MCR converted the old General Theological Seminary into the High Line Hotel
, so they know a thing or two about working with historic buildings. Governor Cuomo said that officials are currently working on a masterplan for the entirety of JFK Airport, which should be unveiled within 12 months. Work on the TWA Flight Center Hotel is expected to break ground next year, and open in 2018