QUEENS — Two historic buildings downtown in Jamaica, including a Beaux-Arts former bank headquarters, have recently hit the market and are drawing the interest of a host of retailers looking to lease the spaces.
The development comes on the heels of a former Prohibition-era nightclub also being put up for sale nearby.
The former Jamaica Savings Bank buildings at 161-02 Jamaica Avenue, which dates to 1898, was once described by the Landmarks Preservation Commission as "the finest Beaux-Arts building in Queens." The 4-story structure, designed by Hough & Deuell, became a city landmark in 2008.
Also for sale is an adjacent 10-story building at 160-16 Jamaica Ave., which was constructed in 1927, according to Stevie Haber, a broker from Haber Realty Group. In the past, the building served as a Conway department store, Haber said.
The two buildings offer a combined 77,000 square feet and their owners hope to sell them together for $25 million, Haber said.
Haber said that several retailers are interested in leasing space in the buildings, including a large national retailer which Haber declined to name.
Laurel Brown, executive director of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, said that downtown Jamaica creates “a lot of opportunity with a lot of space.”
She said another 6-story 28,800 square-foot commercial building at 166-36 Jamaica Ave. has been recently acquired by ABC Realty and “the owners are looking to get a big retailer in,” Brown said.
“That’s over 100,000 square feet of space" in that section of Jamaica Avenue alone, she added.
Brown also said she hopes the space will be leased to “great quality retail that fits in with the demand that we have here.”
Other retailers in downtown Jamaica include Old Navy, Marshalls, Nine West, Gap Outlet and The Children's Place. The area also has a number of fast-food chains and two sit down restaurants including Applebee's and the recently opened Cityrib.
Also in downtown Jamaica, the former Prohibition-era nightclub La Casina was put up for sale for $750,000.
The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation bought the building about 20 years ago, said Carlisle Towery, Greater Jamaica’s president.
“The building, with its distinctive Streamlined Moderne style, was restored in 1994/1995 and became landmarked in early 1996,” according to its description on the Massey Knakal Realty Services website.
The building, at 90-33 160th St., was constructed around 1933, and it currently houses the Jamaica Business Resource Center.
"We love the building," Towery said. But the building is too big for its current tenant who is relocating to a smaller space, he added.
"We think it would be good for a doctor's office and medical facilities," Towery said. "Non-profit operations might also like it for office space."