QUEENS — The deal to bring the first major department store to downtown Jamaica in more than three decades, announced nearly three years ago with great fanfare, has recently been terminated, officials said.
In May 2013, reps for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and the Blumenfeld Development Group said that they had signed an agreement to convert two parking lots on 168th Street, near 90th Avenue, into a massive 160,000-square-foot retail store and a 550-space parking garage.
In Nov. 2014, officials from Blumenfeld said that they were looking for a possible "anchor store," and were talking to several retailers, including Costco, Burlington Coat Factory, Target and BJ’s Wholesale.
The $50 million retail complex was expected to generate about 400 jobs, in addition to about 150 construction jobs, officials said back then.
But the contract has recently been terminated, according to Hope Knight, the president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
“There were a number of milestones that had to be met and for various reasons were not able to happen,” she said.
Greater Jamaica is planning to issue a request for proposals sometime this spring, Knight said.
Raffaela Petrasek, a spokeswoman for Blumenfeld Development Group said that Greater Jamaica at some point changed the scope of the project and "as a result of that they felt that it may be more appropriate to issue a request for proposals."
Both companies declined to discuss specific obstacles that led to the termination of the contract, but last year the developers said that the size of the planned center would be increased to 265,000 square feet and the project would also include affordable housing after Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration pushed for it.
Petrasek also noted that at this point, Blumenfeld is "waiting to see what is required in the new RFP," before deciding whether it wants to respond or not.
Jamaica used to be home to three department stores — Macy’s, Mays and Gertz — all of which closed in the 1970s and 1980s.