ORLANDO-JetBlue Airways has begun construction on the $24.5-million JetBlue Crew Lodge at Orlando International Airport which will be used to accommodate airline crewmembers in the area for training or other business.

The facility will be located on 6.5 acres leased from the Greater Orlando Airport Authority and will feature 292 guest rooms, a 4,000-sf assembly room, a 1,000-sf fitness center, two quiet study rooms, four meeting rooms, an e-library and a great room. Outdoor amenities will include a pool, sports court and outdoor kitchen facilities. It is expected to be completed in 14 to 18 months. The facility will be constructed and operated in a fashion similar to extended-stay hotel, Tishman project executive Jim Durkin tells GlobeSt.com.

The developer of the project is Houston-based Isis Investments, the design architect is Houston-based Mitchell, Carlson, Stone, Inc. and the owner’s representative is New York-based Tishman Construction Corp. The lodge is being constructed by Tulsa, OK-based Manhattan Construction. It will be operated by Intercontinental Hotels Group.

The Crew Lodge will join other recently completed support facilities built as part of JetBlue University. They include a support campus that offers training for flight operations, flight attendant, technical operations and customer service crewmembers that was completed about a year ago. It also includes a LiveTV three-bay hangar, which opened in April 2005. LiveTV is the wholly owned subsidiary that provides inflight satellite television systems on aircrafts. “This is a fairly unique project for an airline,” Durkin says.

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