The city has a plan to transform a rusting and underutilized NYPD parking garage in Jamaica into a new mixed-use structure featuring more than 350 affordable apartments and retail space.
Part of the Jamaica NOW action plan to revitalize the downtown Jamaica area, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) said in a Jan. 26 announcement that the redevelopment of the garage at the corner of 168th Street and 93rd Avenue would also result in hundreds of construction and permanent jobs.
The proposal is nearly two years in the making; the NYCEDC originally issued a request for proposals for redeveloping the NYPD garage back in February of 2015. Omni New York LLC’s proposal for the site was ultimately selected; the company has built and rehabilitated more than 6,300 affordable housing units citywide.
“The selected proposal builds on Southeast Queens’ strengths as a commercial and transit hub by delivering over 350 units of 100percent affordable housing, hundreds of good-paying jobs, and community, recreational and retail space to downtown Jamaica,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “The redevelopment of the 168th Street NYPD garage into a thriving mixed-use facility furthers Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York initiative to create more affordable housing options for New Yorkers.”
“We know that development is only successful when combined with efforts to enhance the quality of life socially and economically for the surrounding community,” added Eugene Schneur, managing director of Omni New York. “The redevelopment of the 168th Street parking garage provides a unique opportunity to bring 100 percent affordable housing, community space and job creation to downtown Jamaica, Queens.”
Councilman I. Daneek Miller noted that the project includes “mandates on local hiring, the use of MWBE (minority- and women-owned business enterprises) firms and the opportunity for those living in southeast Queens to live in” the affordable housing units to be developed.
According to the NYCEDC, Omni New York and its partner in construction, Monadnock, have agreed to “a 30 percent M/WBE goal and 40 percent minority and female workforce participation in construction jobs and new staff positions created for the project.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz offered praise for the project, adding that it demonstrates “that the Jamaica NOW Action Plan is well on its way to revitalizing downtown Jamaica.”
“The Jamaica NOW Leadership Council worked closely with Omni New York LLC to ensure maximum MWBE participation and local hiring on this project and we look forward to the affordable housing, recreational and retail space and hundreds of good-paying permanent jobs the project will bring,” Katz added.
Also speaking in favor of the plan were Congressman Gregory Meeks, state Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman.
The Jamaica NOW plan was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015 and involves a $153 million commitment toward revitalizing the downtown area, which had been neglected for decades. Other projects aimed at boosting downtown Jamaica are on the horizon; the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) issued a request for proposals last year to redevelop a large parking field near the 103rd Precinct stationhouse into a mixed-use building also with affordable housing and retail spaces.
“The advancement of this redevelopment project is further testament to the city’s commitment to Jamaica’s success,” said Hope Knight, president and CEO of the GJDC. “We look forward to working with Omni New York as a new stakeholder in Jamaica’s future.”