Former Kennedy airport terminal will become hotel

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- An iconic Kennedy airport terminal that has been vacant since closing in 2001 will have a new life as a hotel.

The TWA Hotel at Kennedy airport will incorporate the famous terminal, which was called the Trans World Flight Center when it opened in 1962. An announcement is expected Thursday.

Left empty after it was deemed too small to handle current aviation, it cannot be demolished because it is a city landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Now, the building will undergo a $265 million renovation to become a hotel. It will have 505 guest rooms, and 40,000 square feet of event and meeting space. The hotel is expected to open in late 2018.

The future of the building, designed by iconic architect Eero Saarinen, has been the subject of heated debate since it closed as the airport's Terminal 5 in 2001. A new terminal currently used by Jet Blue was constructed around it.
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