Public-Private Partnership to Develop $9.5B International Terminal at JFK Airport in New York City

by John Nelson

NEW YORK CITY — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has reached an agreement with a consortium of private financial sponsors to build a 2.4 million-square-foot international terminal that will anchor the south side of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City.

The $9.5 billion project will comprise 23 gates and be built in phases at the airport’s T1, T2 and the former T3 terminals, with groundbreaking anticipated for next year.

The port authority expects for the first gates at the new terminal, dubbed New Terminal One, to debut in 2026, with full project completion expected in 2030. The overall development is expected to support 10,000 new jobs, including 6,000 construction jobs.

“The time to get large infrastructure projects done is now, and I’m committed to getting JFK’s brand new Terminal One underway and completed as soon as possible,” says New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The design-build team for the project includes AECOM Tishman and Gensler. The passenger facilities at New Terminal One will feature larger check-in, security and concessions areas. Design elements will include high ceilings, natural light, interior green space and local artwork.

New Terminal One will feature lounges, shops, restaurants and indoor green space, among other amenities and services. (Rendering courtesy of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Technology that will be supported at the terminal include touchless passenger journey, digital passenger flow and queue management, TSA security lanes, advanced video search analytics and a flexible design to accommodate future technology and/or regulatory changes. The terminal will also include high-speed, complimentary Wi-Fi and an abundance of charging stations throughout the terminal.

New Terminal One will utilize renewable energy technologies such as a solar hot water, aircraft deicing and fluid recovery and the conversion of diesel ground service equipment to an electric-powered fleet across the airport, including items such as baggage tractors and belt loaders.

Additionally, the terminal will house New York-inspired dining and retail locations, as well as space for lounges and family-friendly amenities and services.

The financial partners involved in the deal include Carlyle, JLC Infrastructure (a partnership between Loop Capital and Magic Johnson Enterprises that formed in 2015) and Ullico (the only labor-owned insurance and investment company). Reach Airports, a joint venture between Munich Airport International and CAG Holdings, is the operating and technical services partner to the consortium of investors.

The private financial sponsors will provide financing to cover the costs of the terminal, and the port authority will build and maintain the road and utility infrastructure, which includes parking and a new electrical substation.

Shown is a rendering of the future baggage claim at JFK Airport’s New Terminal One. (Rendering courtesy of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

The public-private partnership originally planned to move forward with the terminal project in 2020, but had to table and restructure the development agreement due to uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the restructured agreement is the City of New York’s 10-year extension of its master lease at JFK Airport to 2060, which the port authority says should provide “sufficient time” for the private investors to recover their multibillion-dollar investments after the terminal opens.

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners will vote on the proposed lease agreement at its meeting this Thursday. The board will also vote on the authorization of the full $2.9 billion of funds that were included in the Port Authority’s 2017-2026 Capital Plan for the JFK Redevelopment Program, which comprises four separate projects to the north and south sides of the airport.

JFK Airport supports roughly 300,000 jobs that pay $16.2 billion in wages annually while generating $45.7 billion in yearly sales. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the airport set a record with 62.6 million passengers in 2019.

— John Nelson

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