With more than 50 million tourists flocking to New York City every year, developers are looking to build more hotels than ever — outside of Manhattan.
Developers have their eyes set on the neighborhood of Jamaica in Queens as they plan to build more than a dozen new hotels in the community within the next five years.
In 2007, Jamaica’s 368 blocks were rezoned, effectively changing the rules that had been in place since the early 1960s. The rezoning allowed for larger residential as well as commercial structures to be built in Jamaica’s downtown surrounding the transit hub. Since the housing market crashed shortly thereafter, the development of the area known for its high rate of foreclosures has been slow. Furthermore, the lack of funding by the city opened up the door for private companies to set up shop in Jamaica.
Private developers have allocated more than 10 building sites throughout Jamaica for hotel construction. The new hotels are being built as a result of low property prices and convenient access to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and the JFK Airport.
Three of the projects we featured in a map below are located along 94th Avenue, while two other projects are located on Archer Avenue and the corner of 95th Avenue.
“They’re in the center of it all,” Josh Asherian, who is a partner at TCX Development, told QNS. His company is currently in the process of securing permits from the Department of Buildings (DOB) to begin the construction on a 15-story, 72-room hotel at 92-18 150th St.
Asherian believes the construction of these hotels will significantly increase tourism in the area as well as the revenue of small businesses, which will benefit the local economy.
Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Queens Tourism Council, sees the historic tourism boom New York City has been experiencing as the reason for Jamaica’s hotel explosion.
New York City is expecting more than 50 million tourists a year for the foreseeable future, according to MacKay. Hotels around Queens are about $100 cheaper per night than Manhattan hotels. With two airports and easy access to Manhattan, tourists are finding Queens to be an attractive alternative for lodging.
“I don’t think we had 20 hotels when I was growing up in the 1980s. Now we have more than 100 hotels in the borough,” MacKay said.
Tourists are flocking to Jamaica due to its close proximity to JFK Airport, better pricing options and access to convenient transportation including the LIRR, Metro trains and bus systems.
MacKay expects that the hotels coming to Jamaica will be a positive addition to the community. He believes they will become involved in local civic and merchant groups and take an interest in the health of the Jamaica community. MacKay thinks there will be some job creation for community members and that these hotels will offer new meeting areas and restaurants.
But not everyone is equally optimistic about the sudden arrival of hotels to the area.
“You can’t walk through Jamaica without seeing scaffolding or hearing a hammer bang,” Councilman Rory Lancman told QNS. “All of this construction, including several hotel projects, represents exciting opportunities for local residents, but could also create displacement and rising rents.”
Lancman vows to work with the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Jamaica Avenue BID, the Sutphin Boulevard BID and other local business leaders to help make sure businesses are taken care of.
The various BID programs throughout Queens aim at helping local small business thrive. They also want to keep the costs of living down for the local community as much as possible.
The following are five selected hotels forthcoming in Jamaica: