NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The historic TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport is one step closer to getting new life.
The TWA Terminal will be rehabilitated and reopened to the public as a 505-room hotel.
It will be the first on-site hotel at JFK.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for the $265 million project.
“They have built a hotel for the future. They are banking and betting and believing on the future,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “They’re not building a museum.”
The terminal opened in 1962, but has been empty since 2001 after Trans World Airlines went bankrupt.
“It sat dormant and dark and closed to the public for over 15 years. Today, we mark a new chapter of life in this incredible landmark,” Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR Development, said.
Modernist architect Eero Saarinen created what many consider a masterpiece of Jet Age luxury. The building was designed to look like a bird with outstretched wings.
There will be an observation deck, bars and restaurants, and a museum showcasing Mid-Century Design, the story of TWA and the history of Queens as the place where the Jet Age was born, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported. It will include 40-thousand square feet of event and meeting space.
There will even be six 1966 Chrysler Newports that will be used to transport passengers to and from the terminals.
The historic terminal will be back, and so will the people, including some in TWA uniforms.
Oksana Foster joined the airline in 1973.
“This is nostalgic. This is history. This is class,” she said. “It’s very emotional, a very emotional moment for a lot of us.”
Ann Fox modeled the classic look she rocked in the late 1960s, complete with a famous red carry-on bag. She said it was a different time.
“They didn’t want a married woman, they thought it would be a complication,” she said. “They didn’t want you to have children, that would be another complication.”
The project is expected to generate 3,700 jobs, including union construction workers and hotel employees.
The TWA Flight Center Hotel is slated to open in late 2018.