The landmark TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport has been closed to the public (except on special occasions) since 2001, but its return is getting a little closer: Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo joined the developers behind a planned 505-room hotel, The TWA Hotel, to break ground on the project.

"JFK Airport is one of the largest international transit hubs in the world and a key driver of New York’s economy," Cuomo said on Thursday. "The conversion of the TWA Flight Center into a new state-of-the-art hotel will preserve this iconic landmark while cementing JFK’s status as a crown jewel of aviation. This groundbreaking builds on our efforts to modernize gateways across the state and we will continue working to drive growth, support thriving regional economies and build 21st century infrastructure of the caliber that New York deserves."

The TWA building was designed by Eero Saarinen and is considered a masterpiece of mid-century modern architecture, with its sweeping, clean lines and open spaces. It opened in 1962, but the terminal closed in 2001 when TWA shut down its operation. JetBlue took over part of the land around the terminal (the JetBlue building is meant to complement the Saarinen structure).

Renderings of the hotel, which is being built by hotel investment firm MCR, were released on Thursday and you can see two "crescent-shaped" building flanking the sides of the original terminal:



The hotel architects are Beyer Blinder Belle, and it will be the first full-service hotel at JFK Airport. Curbed reports that it will have "eight restaurants (including a food hall featuring Brooklyn and Queens vendors), conference rooms, and a cocktail bar and nightclub within Saarinen’s building."

A press release says, "The restoration plans include reviving and rehabilitating the Terminal’s iconic interiors by Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy, and Warren Platner. The project will also include an innovative museum showcasing New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age, the storied history of Trans World Airlines and the Midcentury Modern design movement."

The hotel is scheduled to open in 2018.