John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport Flight Center Hotel

A True Room with a View


JFK International Airport, Queens, NY


Port Authority of New York & New Jersey


LiRo provided asbestos design, monitoring, and environmental services for the adaptive re-use of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport – one of New York’s most readily recognized and historically important structures. The Flight Center Hotel project consisted of a hotel connected to JetBlue’s Terminal 5 by a pair of tunnels and includes eight restaurants and bars, 512 rooms, an infinity pool with panoramic views, and an observation deck where people can watch planes take off and land. It’s the only full-service hotel at the airport. The TWA Flight Center was landmarked by the City of New York in 1994 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

About the Project

During the design phase, LiRo performed survey and investigation of hazardous materials within the building and the surrounding soil and groundwater. During construction, LiRo was responsible for implementing the Soil, Groundwater, and Environmental Management Plan. LiRo performed general environmental oversight during the construction activities including: monitoring excavation and soil loading activities including segregating and staging soil; monitoring air quality during activities around impacted areas; monitoring dewatering activities and adhering to associated discharge permits; documenting and reporting site activities on a weekly basis; and, overseeing general environmental compliance issues.

Project Challenges & Solutions

The project required excavation depths to more than 20 ft below the ambient groundwater table, removal of over 70,000 cubic yards of soil, and operation of a 2,000-gpm dewatering system. LiRo conducted a comprehensive in-situ soil characterization study to evaluate disposal requirements and potential reuse options for the excavations. In consultation with the project owner, NYSDEC and the US National Parks Service, LiRo prepared a NYSDEC beneficial reuse application and supporting documentation for the clean soil, which is now being used for a US Parks shoreline wetland restoration project.