JFK Flight Center Redevelopment

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Developer Selection and Negotiations – Jamaica, NY


The JFK Flight Center opened in 1962 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, New York.  Designed by Eero Saarinen for Trans World Airlines, the building operated as a terminal for TWA through October, 2001.  Both the exterior and interior of the building were designated historic landmarks in 1994, and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

To reactivate this important architectural building and to enhance customer service at New York City’s largest airport, the PANYNJ was seeking a private developer to adaptively-reuse the Flight Center as a boutique lodging facility.  The first step, a Request for Qualifications, would qualify developer teams that demonstrated the sufficient architectural and technical expertise to undertake such an important redevelopment, and would also require teams to provide high-level design concepts for the redeveloped Flight Center to ensure compatibility with the historic requirements.  The second step was a detailed Request for Proposals, which was sent only to those teams that were prequalified, and required respondents to provide more extensive designs, financial pro formas and proposals for long-term ground lease structures.

RESGroup worked with PANYNJ staff to draft the RFQ and RFP, and assisted in the analysis of the developer selection responses to both documents.  RESGroup provided analytical support to the selection of the final developer, and assisted in the negotiations of the business terms of the long-term ground lease.

In addition to the complexity required by the building’s landmark designation and the resulting limitations on modifications to the existing structure and any new construction, this transaction was further challenged by the underlying airport lease between the City of New York and the PANYNJ, as well as labor-harmony issues.  MCR, the selected redeveloper for the JFK Flight Center, has broken ground and plans to complete construction by 2018.