QUEENS — Dozens of local artists who are part of Jamaica's thriving arts scene may soon get the chance to live in more affordable apartments.
The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a local nonprofit, is considering developing a mixed-use complex with 100 affordable housing units, including 50 units set aside for artists, according to the New York Community Trust, which awarded the group a $150,000 grant.
The grant money would be split over two years, with $95,000 awarded in the first year and $55,000 in the second year.
The project, which would also include an anchor retail tenant and artist workspace, would open in 2019 and cost roughly $60 million, according to the New York Community Trust.
“We are in the pre-development stage of a potential project that could include live-work space for artists,” said Hope Knight, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
“We appreciate the interest and support from the New York Community Trust, but it is too early to talk about the project.”
Kerry McCarthy of the New York Community Trust said the group needs "time to come up with the development plan."
"Our grant will let them do that,” she said.
According to the New York Community Trust, over the next two years Greater Jamaica will conduct a number of pre-development activities, including determining the feasibility of construction on the two open air lots that the group owns on 168th Street.
Greater Jamaica will also work with a consultant to structure the project financing and hire an architect to work on a design, zoning analysis and cost estimate, according to New York Community Trust.
The New York Community Trust has worked on several projects throughout the city to create affordable housing for artists. It helped El Barrio’s Artspace turn P.S. 109 in East Harlem into an arts facility with dozens of affordable units for artists, among other projects.