The Department of Housing Preservation and Development released a list of 175 city-owned sites around New York with the potential for affordable development. And as Queens Courier reports, 17 of those sites are in Jamaica (and are the only parcels singled out in the borough). The HPD is offering financing to developers willing to build developments in which one in every three units is affordable, or is regulated up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income. The list has caused some controversy, as 16 of the sites selected around New York are currently active community gardens. There is one garden at risk in Jamaica, the McKinley’s Children’s Garden.
The Courier points out the most interesting space available in the neighborhood: 108-59 Union Hall Street, the single largest parcel with 8,830 square feet, which could be combined with adjacent lots for a total of 20,800 square feet of land.
There’s been a lot of talk concerning better bus service in Queens as of late. The discussion continues tonight at the Townsend Harris High School library (149-11 Melbourne Avenue) in Flushing. The Department of Transportation is holding an open house about the Flushing to Jamaica Select Bus Service and plans to present the first round of designs for future bus stop locations. Feel free to stop by anytime between 6:30 and 8 pm to check out the designs and leave feedback. Refreshments will be provided.
Construction is moving steadily at 190-11 Hillside Avenue, a 21-unit, seven-story building slated for Jamaica. The developers, TCX Development, recently tweeted the above photo of the construction site. Work on the 15,000-square-foot building kicked off in December of 2013 and is expected to wrap in March of this year. Once finished, there will be one- and two-bedroom units starting from around $1,600 a month. The developer is planning to market to nearby St. John’s University students.
Developers are finally moving forward to transform the T Building, a 10-story Art Moderne structure at the Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica. Queens Courier reports from a Community Board Eight meeting that Dunn Development Corp signed a 99-year lease with the city to build out 205 apartments here. 75 of those units will be reserved for Queens Hospital Center patients transitioning out of care. According to the Courier, “These 75 units will be filled with people who have been dependent on the hospital’s medical services and run up high costs.” There will be three levels of background checks before patients are accepted into the residential building. (A previous plan to develop the T Building into housing for low-income residents with chronic illness was shot down by nearby residents, so we will see how this plan goes over.) Half of the other apartments will be set aside for Community Board Eight residents.
There’s no timeline on construction yet, but we previously heard that construction isn’t expected to start for at least a year.
Yesterday Queens Courier shared an update on an ambitious retail development planned for parking lots along Merrick Boulevard near 168th Street and 90th Avenue. The latest plan, according to the Courier, now includes residential space. Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and Blumenfeld Development Group initially announced details on this development in 2013, but the project is moving slowly. The hope is to build out a 265,000-square-foot retail center (designed to accommodate big box retailers), an affordable housing building and a parking garage with 550 spaces. There are no concrete details on the affordable housing yet, as the project is still in the planning phases.
It’ll actually take awhile for this development to get off the ground — the developers must go through a ULURP approvals process before building the 550-spot parking garage. They hope to gain the necessary approvals by 2016.
Art Connects New York, a group that curates free, permanent art exhibits for social service organizations in NYC, has partnered with the Markus Gardens development in Jamaica for its next project. (Check out some of the artwork Art Connects New York brought to the Queens Community House here.) The Queens-based artist and curator Karen Fitzgerald is organizing this next exhibit, which will be permanently installed in the Markus Gardens supportive housing development at 90-26 171st Street. To be called “In a Sheltering Place,” it will feature 15 artists exploring the ideas of shelter and home through various media. All of the artists donated their artwork in the exhibition to the Markus Gardens community.
The grand opening is scheduled for February, so stay tuned for images and details on the exhibit to come.
We know the new year is slated to bring development to Jamaica, but could it also bring tourists? DNAinfo profiled Jamaica’s new Business Improvement District Director, Rhonda Binda, who envisions the area as New York’s new tourist destination. She plans to host neighborhood tours with the Queens Tourism Council, hoping to attract not just locals but also those waiting for planes at JFK Airport. She wants to set up pop-op installations around the neighborhood that talk about Jamaica history and cultural achievements. And in an effort to boost the local nightlife scene, she’ll kick off comedy shows, concerts, film screenings and open mic events.
Given the number of hotels slated to open in Jamaica in the next few years, it makes sense that local businesses will succeed. (It’s also been reported that locals spend $400M on dining and $200M on shopping a year outside the neighborhood.) But what do you make of the effort to boost the area as an actual tourist destination?
He’s a playwright, director, performer, producer, and huge Mets fan. Plus, his afternoon “drive-time” radio show on WAXQ-104.3 is number one in New York City. On the same FM station, Ken Dashow also hosts a Sunday morning program, Breakfast with the Beatles, during which he plays requests and recalls stories about the Four Lads from Liverpool. (He has actually interviewed Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and Lennon’s ex-girlfriend, May Pang.) Dashow brings his boundless energy, charming personality, life experiences, and general zaniness to Queens Central Library for a special presentation this Saturday.
Jamaica is getting its four-star hotel. The Daily News reports that developers cleared the last legal hurdle to begin construction on the Hilton Garden Inn, set to rise on the southern side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Robin Eshaghpour, who owned some of the property, was fighting the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. for a claim on the site lease. Ultimately, a judge ruled that the owner had to accept payment for the land ($444,000, to be exact), allowing for Greater Jamaica Development Corp. to then sell to the developer Able Management Group. No exact date on when construction will begin, and we didn’t see any action on the Department of Buildings front yet.
The hotel will rise 24 stories and hold 240 rooms, as well as a restaurant and bar on the ground floor facing Sutphin Avenue. News first surfaced of the development — which will take $35,000,000 to build — nearly a year ago.