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Dilapidated Jamaica Garage Will Become Affordable Housing, City Says

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 26, 2017 5:22pm
 The new development will be built on 168th Street in downtown Jamaica.
The new development will be built on 168th Street in downtown Jamaica.
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New York City Economic Development Corporation

QUEENS — A crumbling garage in downtown Jamaica will soon be transformed into a development that will include affordable housing, a recreational center and retail as part of city's plan to revitalize the long-neglected neighborhood, officials announced Thursday.

The 450,000 square foot mixed-use development will be built on 168th Street, between Jamaica and Archer avenues, across the street from the Home Depot, featuring more than 350 apartments which will be 100 percent affordable, officials said.

The building, which will replace an old NYPD garage, will also feature a large recreational center, retail space on the ground-floor and a below-ground parking with space allocated for NYPD use, the city said.

The development is expected to generate approximately 300 to 350 construction jobs as well as 250 to 300 permanent jobs, including people employed to maintain the building as well as those working in its recreational facilities and retail space, the city said.

In 2015, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued a request for proposals to redevelop the parking garage into a mixed-use, mixed-income development.

(In 2007, the city released an RFP seeking to develop the site, but when the recession hit, the selected developers were not able to continue the project, officials said.)

Recently, the agency, along with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Housing Development Corporation (HDC), selected Omni New York LLC, a major affordable housing developer, to build the development, the city said.

Local Councilman Daneek Miller said in a statement that the development resulted from numerous discussions between the city, the developer as well as local elected officials and community boards about "what was needed most to ensure those living in Jamaica today can benefit from this project now and into the future.”

“With mandates on local hiring, the use of MWBE [minority and/or women-owned business enterprise] firms, and the opportunity for those living in Southeast Queens to live in these apartments, this development is an example of what can be done across the City," Miller added.

The building is being constructed as part of the city’s Jamaica Now Action Plan, a $153 million plan to revitalize the neighborhood by developing vacant spaces and replacing them with new housing and retail stores while creating more job opportunities for local residents.

The city expects the construction to begin sometime this year. It will take about three years to complete the building.