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New looks at JFK Airport’s forthcoming $13B overhaul

October 5, 2018

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled several new details about the upcoming transformation of John F. Kennedy International Airport, most notably the creation of two new terminals that will replace some of the existing terminals, and rise on the northern and southern end of the complex. The cost of this revamp has gone up from the $10 billion estimate that accompanied the first announcement about the redevelopment in early 2017 to the current estimate of $13 billion. The announcement is accompanied by several new renderings of the overhaul that really give a sense of the massive scale of this project.

 

These renderings also show off some curious additions to the airport that are worth noting here: a section labeled Central Park at JFK; miniature versions of the High Line, and what appears to be Chelsea Market; a facsimile of Flushing Meadows’s Unisphere; and sculptures that are probably intended to denote the Big Apple. It’s not yet clear if any of these features will actually make it to the airport in the end, but in any case these miniature recreations seem more Las Vegas than New York City.

 

 

Now on to some more important details: the terminal anchoring the southern end of the JFK complex will be developed by the Terminal One Group, which is a consortium comprised of Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines, and Korea Air Lines. This nearly 3 million-square-foot, $7 billion behemoth will replace the airport’s existing Terminals 1 and 2, and also occupy the site left vacant by the demolition of Terminal 3 in 2014.

 

The new terminal will have 23 international gates, of which 22 will be able to serve wider bodied jets like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380. In addition, there will be 24 security screening lanes, 116,000 square feet of airport lounges, 230,000 square feet of retail and dining options, and 55,000 square feet of interior green space, and a children’s play area. This terminal will be operated by Munich Airport International, and provide connections to Terminal 4, which was most recently expanded in 2013.

 

At the northern end of the JFK complex, JetBlue will develop a 1.2 million-square-foot terminal, at a cost of $3 billion. The airline will demolish the existing Terminal 7 and utilize the space left vacant by the demolition of Terminal 6 in 2011, to create this new terminal.

 

JetBlue’s new terminal will have 12 international gates, which will all accommodate wide-body jets. There will be 74,000 square feet of retail, 30,000 square feet of airline lounges, and 15,000 square feet of recreation space. This terminal will also provide connections to JFK’s newest terminal, Terminal 5, which opened in 2008.

 

The airport revamp is based on a masterplan created by Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects. Port Authority selected the team, after a competitive Request For Proposals (RFP) process, in September 2017. Overall, the revamped airport will be notable for its high ceilings, natural light, exhibits featuring the work of local artists, interior green space, free Wi-Fi, and security enhancements like radiation detection.

 

The rest of the funds set aside for the overhaul will go toward several infrastructural improvements in and outside of the airport complex. For instance, Port Authority will increase the capacity and frequency of the JFK AirTrain. The tangled mess of roads that connect airport’s six terminals today will be replaced by two main “ring roads” called the north loop and south loop.

 

Outside the airport, the State Department of Transportation is working to ease several bottlenecks like the Kew Gardens Interchange with the Van Wyck Expressway. On the Van Wyck, the 4.3-mile stretch between Kew Gardens and the airport will get a fourth lane in either direction, which will be for vehicles with three or more passengers, or for for-hire vehicles with at least one passenger.

 

Aside from all that, the Port Authority is also looking to develop what it’s calling the Kennedy Central Hub, which will be located at the center of the airport and could have a multitude of functions such as public open space, a conference center, or a cultural space. An RFP for this proposal will go out in the next few months.

 

Thursday’s announcement follows news that the governor had set aside $355 million to rehabilitate one of the airport’s runways, and add a new “high-speed taxiway.” Construction on the new terminals is expected to begin in 2020, with the first new gates opening in 2023, followed by a more substantial completion in 2025. The other two major airports serving New York City, LaGuardia and Newark are also in the midst of major transformations to bring them on par with other major international airports across the world.

 

 

 

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