TWA Flight Center to Become a Hotel

TWA Hotel rendering MCR Development 2

TWA Hotel Rendering (photo courtesy of MCR Development)

Do you remember TWA? Maybe you or someone you know has flown on this legendary airline. Either way, you’ll have the chance to connect with its legacy through its former terminal at JFK. Known as the TWA Flight Center, this landmark building is becoming a boutique hotel while also being restored to its grand splendor, set to finish construction in 2018.

This past week, I attended a media reception to announce design plans for this project. It was held at the One World Trade Center, which also ties into this news.

Max Touhey - TWA 3

Inside the TWA Flight Center / photo by Max Touhey

The event was held at the newly unveiled TWA lounge at 1WTC, a retro-themed sales office located on the 86th floor of the One World Trade Center.

A symbol of the Jet Age, the TWA Flight Center opened at Idlewild Airport – the original name for JFK Airport – in 1962. It was designed by architect Eero Saarinen, who is also noted for creations including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the CBS (Black Rock) Building in New York City, and Dulles International Airport.

TWA 1WTC 6 Photography by Emily Gilbert

Reception desk at TWA lounge at 1WTC / photo by Emily Gilbert

At the media reception, Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR Development, unveiled how this grand terminal for the former Trans World Airlines will become a 505-room hotel while also being reinstated to its original splendor.

“We’re bringing her back to life,” said Morse, whose New York-base hotel investment firm is responsible for this redevelopment project.

The year 1962 will also serve as the inspiration for the upcoming TWA Hotel, when all interior features of the original property will be restored to their heyday appearance such as its revered Ambassadors Club.

TWA 1WTC 3 Photography by Jesse David Harris

The TWA lounge at 1WTC / photo by Jesse David Harris

An onsite museum will hold memorabilia relating to Trans World Airlines along with various objects connected to historic milestones in 1962.

The former terminal’s new structures housing the just over 500 rooms will actually be set back on either side of the terminal. Other additions include a 10,000-square-foot observation deck with runway views, six bars and eight restaurants, and 50,000-square-feet event space center. The hotel will be accessible via JFK’s AirTrain and the Saarinen passenger tubes connecting directly to JetBlue’s Terminal 5.

Closed to the public in 2001, and threatened with the possibility of demolition, the TWA Flight Center was designated as a NYC Landmark in 1994 and added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2005.

As for the TWA lounge at 1WTC, this sales center will have distance views of the 12-mile away JFK Airport, and look like as a timepiece with Saarinen’s noted white concrete and red chili pepper carpeting plus a front desk modeled after a TWA ticket counter. The location will be open to the general public by appointment only.

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