Gov. Cuomo Announces $13 Billion JFK Improvement Plan

John Jordan | October 2018

NEW YORK—Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday the latest plan for a major expansion and improvements at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which is now projected to cost $13 billion.

The governor announced the plan on Oct. 4 at the Association for a Better New York breakfast.

The governor states that $12 billion of the $13 billion investment will come from the private sector. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has committed $1 billion to the JFK Vision Plan.

“While leaders in Washington talk about investing in infrastructure, we’re actually doing it at historic levels and the transformation of JFK Airport into a 21st century transportation hub will ensure New York remains the nation’s front door to the world,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This historic investment to modernize JFK Airport and the surrounding transportation network will not only ease travel through this major hub, but it will ensure JFK joins the ranks as one of the finest airports in the world.”

The plan calls for the development of two major new airport terminals. A proposed new $7-billion, 2.9 million square foot terminal on the airport’s south side will be developed by the Terminal One Group, a consortium of four international airlines—Lufthansa, Air France, Japan Airlines and Korean Air Lines. The plans call for replacing the 20-year-old JFK Terminal 1, which the group currently operates, and Terminal 2 (56 years old and functionally obsolete), as well as the area left vacant when Terminal 3 was demolished in 2014.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

When completed, it will yield a net increase of more than 2 million square feet from the existing terminals and provide 23 international gates, 22 of which will be designed to accommodate larger, wide-body aircraft (FAA Airplane Design Group V or VI) such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus A380, which provides seating for more than 500 passengers, state officials note.

The new terminal will contain at least 24 security screening lanes, more than 230,000 square feet of retail, dining and other concessions, 116,000 square feet of airline lounges and 55,000 square feet of interior green space, children’s play areas and cultural exhibits. The complex will be operated by Munich Airport International and will also be connected to the existing Terminal 4, which initially opened in 2001 and has been expanded twice since then, most recently in 2013.

On the airport’s north side, a new $3-billion, 1.2-million-square-foot terminal will be developed by JetBlue. The discount air carrier plans to demolish the 48-year-old Terminal 7 and combine it with the vacant space where Terminal 6 was demolished in 2011 to create a world-class international terminal complex that would be connected to the airline’s existing Terminal 5. The new terminal would be occupied by the airline and its various partners currently spread throughout the airport. Terminal 5 opened in 2008 and is the newest of JFK’s current six terminals.

The new terminal will have 12 international gates, all of which be able to accommodate larger, wide-body aircraft. It will feature 74,000 square feet of retail, 30,000 square feet of airline lounges and 15,000 square feet of recreational space.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020 with the first new gates opening in 2023 and substantial completion expected in 2025, state officials said.

The updated JFK plan follows the selection in September 2017 of a master planning team for the redevelopment of the airport, led by Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects.

The plans for the two terminals will now be submitted to the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners. Once lease terms are finalized, the leases will be subject to final board approval. Additional discussions with multiple other airlines and terminal operators remain ongoing to further advance the goals of the Vision Plan, state officials noted.

The Port Authority will also seek proposals via a Request for Information to be issued in the coming months to develop a new Kennedy Central hub. Options might include, but aren’t limited to, public open and recreational space, conference centers, cultural uses and other amenities for travelers and airport workers.

The JFK Vision Plan was initially unveiled in January 2017 and now calls for adding 4 million square feet to the airport’s north and south sides and increasing the airport’s capacity by at least 15 million passengers annually.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth