Actually, Starwood unofficially lost their bid last December when the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey began serious negotiations with Andre Balazas to develop his vision at the TWA Terminal at JFK. Balazs’ is the developer of the Standard Hotels located in the Meatpacking District and East Village in New York City as well as Standards in Miami and LA. He’s also the developer of the Mercer Hotel in Soho.
Now, this story actually dates all the way back to February 2011, when the Port Authority issued a request for proposals to transform the TWA Terminal into a hotel with 150 rooms. Starwood, Trump, and Balazs submitted proposals, but there was never an official announcement of the winner. In December 2012, rumors began to soar that Balazs was the frontrunner, but again there was no official confirmation. Now, earlier this week, the NY Post had the following item:
Andre Balazs’ plans to develop a hotel at JFK airport’s old TWA terminal are continuing, but differing opinions over the design have become a sticking point in the negotiations. Balazs is in late-stage talks with the Port Authority to build a 150-room hotel at the storied terminal, which also serves as a hub for Jet Blue. But a source tells us Balazs and the agency have butted heads with JFK executives over keeping the terminal’s historic Eero Saarinen architecture as opposed to creating a more modern design like those of Balazs’ Standard Hotels in the Meatpacking District, Miami and Los Angeles. “JFK [officials] said he wasn’t the right aesthetic fit,” our source snipped. But the Port Authority says otherwise: “After a lengthy and highly competitive request for proposals process, the Port Authority is engaged in negotiation with a high-quality hotelier for the adaptive reuse of the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. The Port Authority and the hotelier are committed to preserving the essence of Eero Saarinen’s iconic design in the final agreement.”
I personally like the selection of a boutique style hotel rather than an SPG (and definitely a Trump) property. Balazs (and all the bidders) have agreed to maintain the classic elements of the terminal and work them into the lobby design for the hotel. What do you think?