Jamaica Residents Want More Restaurants and Shops, Survey Says

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on October 3, 2013 9:59am 

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 Residents give prferences for new businesses as part of a neighborhood survery.
Jamaica Residents Demand More Restaurants
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QUEENS — Jamaica residents, business owners and visitors want more restaurants and bars, better designed storefronts and more full-time jobs in the neighborhood, according to a survey conducted by a local development group.

The downtown Jamaica survey, conducted by the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation earlier this year, asked people what changes would make the area more appealing.

More than 700 residents, local business owners, students, shoppers and travelers who use the LIRR or AirTrain station in Jamaica participated in the study, which will be used to guide development in the area.

The overwhelming majority of respondents (97 percent) said that while they appreciate the arrival of new businesses and developments to the neighborhood — including CityRib, a new sit-down restaurant, plans to build a new hotel on Sutphin Boulevard across the street from the AirTrain Station and efforts to bring the first major department store in the area in more than three decades — the neighborhood has room for improvement.

CityRib is currently one of only two sit-down restaurants in downtown Jamaica. But the survey estimated that there is enough demand to support 36 full-service restaurants, according to Greater Jamaica.

The survey also said that people who live, work or study in Jamaica spend about $136 million a year for dining, but restaurants in the neighborhood only see about 20 percent of that. 

Most of those surveyed said they also wanted the look of storefronts to improve and about 15 percent of people who work in Jamaica said they never shop in the neighborhood, according to the survey.

Housing and lodging for tourists and those here on business was also a concern.

More than 80 percent of those surveyed said that there were not enough hotels in the area.

They also said they wanted more apartments suitable for families with children within walking distance from the LIRR station.

The survey "provides us with a roadmap for what would enhance the success of the neighborhood, whether it is working with merchants to improve their storefronts to enhance the shopping experience, continuing to work to improve parking to make visiting the area easier, continuing to attract new investment that would create and retain jobs and new housing that would take advantage of our transit hub,” said Carlisle Towery, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.

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