Could this lounge be the fanciest place to wait for a flight at Newark Liberty Airport?

American Express is building a 50,000-square-foot, three-storey extension to Newark Liberty Airport’s new Terminal A that will include an upscale lounge, piano bar and restaurant with views of the runways and far into Manhattan.

Port authority commissioners voted on Thursday to approve a deal with American Express to build the $ 100 million building, funded by American Express, that would pay the authority $ 121 million in rents over 15 years with an option to renew for 5 years.

The new terminal, which is under construction, has also been renamed, from Terminal One, to Terminal A, said Rick Cotton, executive director. The authorities determined that keeping the existing name would be less confusing for travelers accustomed to the names of terminals A, B, C.

The old Terminal A will be demolished after the new one opens in phases, starting in spring 2022 when 21 gates are expected to open, and next fall when the remaining 12 gates open, said Huntley Lawrence, director. Aviation and Interim Chief Operating Officer. .

The new terminal will have four airline lounges and the expansion building will make it a fifth, Lawrence said. The Centurion Lounge will occupy the third floor of the addition while the other two floors will house other airport and tenant support offices. Construction of the extension building is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023, he said.

What’s in the Am Ex Centurion lounge? The description almost gives hope for a flight delay.

It includes a “range of state-of-the-art amenities” such as a terrace overlooking the airport airfield, Newark Harbor, New York and Newark Harbor, and the Manhattan skyline.

The lounge would have “multiple Amex dining and bar areas,” a piano lounge, a Jersey jazz-themed bar, and a backstage speakeasy-themed lounge bar. Other high-end amenities are also on offer, such as “world-class” wellness rooms, workstations and toilets, according to the authority.

Why is the Port Authority for this?

“Most airports have branded non-airline lounges, that’s a feature and part of the response to the customer experience provided by the airport,” Cotton said. “The transaction with American Express provides the port authority with additional and necessary space for airlines and terminal tenants. “

Meanwhile, the other old-fashioned airport facility, the replacement of the 26-year-old monorail system is progressing. The design phase of the process is underway by the three consortia vying to be selected to build the new AirTrain that would replace it, Cotton said.

The replacement aerial train also has a start date of mid-2022, but the type of rail system that will replace the monorail will not be identified until the competition ends.

“It’s in the procurement process now, it’s a design-build procurement, which means part of the competition is the design of the train,” Cotton said. “Each of the bidders is a consortium… all of the bidders have a railcar or vehicle company.

Designs go to a selection committee that will evaluate each proposal for the most attractive design, construction time, cost, and participation of minority and women-owned businesses, he said. The new $ 2 billion AirTrain would go into service in the first quarter of 2026 and the old monorail would be scrapped.

The authority began discussing the replacement of the monorail in 2015. Built for $ 354 million in 1996, it carried 33,000 people per day in 2019. The monorail is considered to be at the end of its useful life.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave the green light to the Authority’s plan to replace the monorail in August after conducting an environmental study.

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Larry Higgs can be reached at [email protected].

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