QUEENS — There's a changing of the guard at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
The local nonprofit group, which has worked to bring new investments to the neighborhood, chose Hope Knight of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, to replace Carlisle Towery, who is stepping down after more than four decades at the helm of the organization.
Knight, 50, currently works as the chief operating officer of UMEZ, a non-profit organization which works on revitalizing Upper Manhattan, including Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, by using public funds to attract private investment. The organization provides loans to small businesses, supports locals artists and assists job seekers.
Knight, who will take over Greater Jamaica in May, said in a statement that she is excited to join the organization and “to build on the work they have done to lead the restoration of Downtown Jamaica to its historic central role in the economic vitality of Jamaica, Queens and beyond.”
Downtown Jamaica has been undergoing a transformation into a vibrant neighborhood, with a number of new projects, including new hotels and housing developments, coming to the area.
Among the most recent developments that Greater Jamaica has worked on is a 24-story hotel and 580-unit residential development, which are expected to be built across the street from the AirTrain terminal.
The group is also involved in efforts to bring the first department store to Jamaica in decades.
“Whether it’s York College, the AirTrain and the transportation hub, the Jamaica Market or developers of the residential, commercial and hotel projects now underway or about to begin, Greater Jamaica is poised to achieve greater success as a place to live, work, visit and play,” Knight said.
Towery said that “Jamaica is poised to reach even greater heights in the future, and everything about Hope’s experience and commitment gives us reason to believe she will help take us there.”
Knight has worked for UMEZ since 2003. Before that she served as a vice president for Morgan Stanley in New York and in Tokyo.