By Cynthia Drescher. Photos: Courtesy MCR Development, Alamy.
There's some new construction at New York's JFK Airport but, for once, it's not adding to traffic on the roads. Instead, travelers flying out of Terminal 5 will notice two new buildings and a slew of activity around the landmarked TWA Flight Center, which served passengers until 2001.
Promising to bring to New York's JFK a total of 505 hotel rooms, a museum, a 50,000-square-foot event space, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, another 10,000 square feet dedicated as a public observation deck, and some eight restaurants, including a bar inside of a restored plane, the development is no tiny undertaking. (Note: JFK hasn’t had a convenient hotel in nearly 15 years.) At the center of the project, both literally and figuratively, is the main building, designed in the 1960s by architect Eero Saarinen and with original interior design by the likes of Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and Warren Platner.
At a talk this week sponsored by Open House New York, Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR Development and the developer of the TWA Hotel project, detailed what to expect when the hotel opens in "late 2018, early 2019." Here's a by-the-numbers look.
The year the TWA Flight Center opened, and a current source of inspiration. “Everything we’re doing on the project is about 1962. It's the ethos of 1962,” says Morse, citing the influence of color TV, The Beatles, changes in the Catholic Church, and the increased focus on outer space as John Glenn circled the earth.
The cost to bring the historic portion of the terminal up to current safety and construction codes, not including the cost of restoration work or any totals for building out the hotel and new spaces. Good news for historians: One of the TWA terminal’s most popular design features—the “flip-flip-flip” departure boards made by Italian firm Solari di Udine to show flight information—will be completely restored.
The number of glass panes being replaced.
The number of Constellation planes Howard Hughes ordered from Lockheed in the 1940s. The aircraft, with its vaguely dolphin-shaped profile, triple tail fins, and distinctive red TWA stripes has been absent from the JFK tarmac since 1967, but the hotel plans to bring one back for permanent display. The interior will be transformed into a restaurant and bar, says Morse: "The cockpit will be open; you’ll be able to pull the yoke, push the throttles, and have a martini in the aircraft."
The nightly rate for a stay at the TWA Hotel when it opens. Views from the rooms will either be toward the TWA Flight Center and the Lockheed Constellation plane on display, or facing out onto the active airport runways, which are 2,036 feet away. Special glass walls to reduce the noise are being made in Italy; according to Morse, "It'll be quieter than a room at the Four Seasons."
The number of restaurants in the planned food hall at the hotel. "Think of the best taco guy in Queens and the best Ethiopian food guy in Brooklyn," Morse says.
The number of people that can fit within the Hotel’s 50,000-square-foot conference space, which is being constructed underground so as not to sully the view.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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