NEW YORK (AP) — A design panel commissioned by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has vowed to renovate the decrepit LaGuardia International Airport, has recommended sweeping changes including the creation of a "great hall" that would serve as the main entrance to travelers at the much-derided facility.
The new entrance would be located in the central terminal building, which was built in 1964 and is slated for a $3.6 billion renovation. The panel also recommended creating seamless connections between terminals, adding a new air train station and building a hotel on airport grounds.
The ideas were generated from submissions to a public design competition that Cuomo announced in October when he called on designers from across the globe to re-imagine LaGuardia as a "21st-century airport."
"The new LaGuardia should include a main entrance to the airport that serves as a great hall welcoming travelers to a great new experience at the airport," said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the region's airports.
Foye discussed the panel's recommendations — sent in a letter to the Port Authority earlier this week — at the agency's board of commissioners meeting on Thursday.
The panel also recommended creating a cell phone waiting area for people who are retrieving passengers from the airport.
The renovation project has been delayed multiple times because the Port Authority has been unable to choose between two remaining bidders until the governor's office selects a winner of the competition. The bidding process has been delayed one final time — until May 28 — when the agency will announce which firm it has chosen, Foye said at a boarding meeting on Thursday. The winner of the design competition will be revealed in June.
Foye said the two remaining bidders have until May 11 to report back to the agency with estimates on how much it would cost to build the terminal with the panel's recommendations — and how long that would take. The terminal is currently expected to be complete by 2021.
Vice President Joe Biden famously described LaGuardia as reminiscent of a "third-world country" last year.