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MAP: 1,000 New Hotel Rooms Coming to Jamaica

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | February 16, 2015 7:52am
 A rendering of a SpringHill hotel planned for Queens Boulevard, between Jamaica and Hillside avenues in Jamaica.
A rendering of a SpringHill hotel planned for Queens Boulevard, between Jamaica and Hillside avenues in Jamaica.
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courtesy of United Construction & Development Group Corp.

QUEENS — Jamaica is on its way to become the new epicenter of a Queens hotel boom.

Seven new lodgings, which are planned for the downtown area, are slated to bring about 1,000 rooms, nearly quadrupling the number of hotel rooms in the area.

Experts say that Jamaica has become the new focus of hotel developers, after two other hotel hubs in Queens — Long Island City and Flushing — have become saturated.

"Flushing and Long Island City are already full with hotels so it makes sense that Jamaica would be a place that developers and hotel people are now looking at," said Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation

Some of the planned hotels are currently in progress and in other cases construction is expected to begin soon, developers said.

Jamaica has become a major transportation hub since JFK's AirTrain station opened on Sutphin Boulevard in 2003. It also offers easy access to several major highways, express subway trains to Manhattan and the Long Island Rail Road.

"It's convenient for travelers," said Raj Singh, who is currently constructing a Sleep Inn hotel on Queens Boulevard, between Hillside and Jamaica avenues.

MacKay said the neighborhood, which once struggled with crime and neglect, has been rapidly changing after the 2007 rezoning, which sought to increase development in the area.

With crime dropping by 80 percent since 1993, it's been attracting more residents, new businesses and shoppers, he said. 

According to the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a local nonprofit group that works to bring new investments to the neighborhood, there are currently about 350 hotel rooms available in downtown Jamaica.

Several of those hotels opened in the past few years, including a Howard Johnson hotel on Archer Avenue, and Super 8 on Jamaica Avenue.

“Travelers who don’t want to pay Manhattan prices but want quick and easy access to JFK and to the city are getting more and more opportunities to stay in area hotels and discover what Jamaica has to offer,” said Carlisle Towery, president of GJDC. 



The seven new lodgings planned for downtown Jamaica will include a nine-story Four Points Sheraton on 94th Avenue, which would boast 155 hotel rooms, and three Marriott-brand hotels.

Two of them — Courtyard and Fairfield Inn and Suites — would be located in one building planned on Archer Avenue, near 149th Street, according to Chris Xu, a Flushing-based developer, who built several hotels near LaGuardia Airport and in Chinatown.

The 16-story building would contain more than 330 hotel rooms (Courtyard would have 224 rooms and Fairfield would feature 114), he said.

Xu is also planning to build another hotel — a six-story SpringHill Suites — on Queens Boulevard, between Jamaica and Hillside avenues that would feature 160 rooms, he said.

There are also plans to build a 24-story Hilton Garden Inn directly across from the AirTrain and Long Island Rail Road station. That hotel is expected to bring 240 rooms, a restaurant and a business center to the area.

The hotels planned for the area also include several affordable options, such as the Sleep Inn on Queens Boulevard (49 rooms), and a Comfort Inn hotel on 162nd Street, near 89th Avenue (62 rooms), which are currently under construction.

"For a long time Jamaica had a hotel shortage," said MacKay. "But that’s ending."