Development organizations are hoping to give downtown Jamaica a face-lift by bringing an entirely new mix of stores and restaurants to cater to the needs of large businesses and residents alike.
The Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID), Jamaica Center BID, 165th Street MIA and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) have been working for years to attract business owners and ultimately revamp the area.
“There’s so much to offer in downtown Jamaica, and we just feel like people are really unaware,” said Simone Price, executive director of Sutphin BID.
To get their mission across, the groups organized an event called Jamaica Revealed. They invited dozens of area property owners and commercial real estate brokers to connect with prospective business operators.
The attendees took a trolley tour of the downtown area and were able to view vacant commercial spaces.
“This is a major investment and a major transformation of the area,” said GJDC President Carlisle Towery.
GJDC is focusing on three sites throughout the development area. There is a location at the intersection of Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue that will become a 200-room hotel; a site on Parsons Boulevard that is hoped to be turned into a 200-seat sit-down restaurant; and a housing, retail and office space, according to representative Justin Rogers.
“Things are really happening in downtown Jamaica,” he said. “Development has been cleared to take off.”
Price said the groups hope to attract sit-down restaurants, office supply stores, artisanal food stores, furniture retailers and upscale shops to the area.
Sara Herbstman owns a site on 161st Street that will soon be transformed into two residential towers.
“With all of the support that is being talked about, the development will be successful,” she said. “Jamaica is a major transportation hub, and it’s underutilized. It has all the potential to be successful.”