Executive director of Jamaica Center BID takes new post

Photo by Walter Karling
By Rich Bockmann

After two years on the job overseeing downtown Jamaica’s main retail corridor, the executive director of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District is leaving to take a similar position in Brooklyn.

Executive Director Laurel Brown, who spent two years as the BID’s operations manager before taking the top job in 2011, said she has accepted a position doing “the same stuff, downtown management” in Brooklyn.

“I’ll wait until my employers release their press release,” she said.

The BID has formed an executive search committee to find a replacement.

Brown was one of three BID executives from across the city to be honored in July with a 2013 leadership award from the city Department of Small Business Services, which oversees the five boroughs’ 67 BIDs.

The department recognized Brown for making the district, which stretches along Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to 169th Street, into a “thriving business hub.”

Under Brown’s stewardship, the BID has implemented several well-received programs, such as a fashion show now in its second year and a retail-attraction initiative.

“It’s a concerted effort to help influence the retail mix of the district,” she said, explaining the BID took on an increased role in gathering and sharing information about consumer demand. “We’ve had a significant number of conversations [with prospective retailers] in the short time since we launched the program.”

There were high hopes for the district when the city rezoned 368 blocks in downtown Jamaica in 2007 to revitalize the area, but the recession hit and development did not take off as expected.

In 2010, an Applebee’s restaurant opened on Jamaica Avenue and plans for a new hotel and retail center outside the BID have been announced, but so far the district has not experienced the sort of renaissance downtown Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall, a similar retail area, is experiencing.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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