By Rich Bockmann
Downtown Jamaica is starting to look like a Monopoly board with plans for a third hotel in the works for the block to the east of the Long Island Rail Road station.
A spokeswoman for Marriott Hotels said Flushing’s United Construction and Development Group Corp. is expected to open the doors on its 15-story, 86-room Courtyard/Fairfield Inn Suites hotel on Archer Avenue in January 2015.
United Construction did not return a request for comment, but plans filed with the city Department of Buildings in late July show the developer’s 170-foot-tall, 202,314-square-foot building will be split between Marriott’s economy-travel brands, with 12 rooms set aside for the Fairfield Inn and 74 rooms available at the Courtyard.
Fairfield offers the bare essentials for price-conscious travellers and Courtyard reaches for a clientele seeking a few more amenities, but both benefit from the Marriott name .
Berkita Bradford, an economics professor at St. John’s University studying the hospitality industry, said the development seems to be a vote of confidence for the up-and-coming neighborhood.
“I imagine Marriott did their homework. That’s telling me that they’re at least anticipating change in the neighborhood,” she said. “They don’t typically drop hotels into locations that a guest wouldn’t be comfortable walking into a store late at night or checking in.”
The lodge will also feature other amenities aimed at luring business travelers, such as two restaurants, four meeting rooms, two work rooms, two offices and a fitness room.
More than 200,000 passengers pass through downtown Jamaica each day on the LIRR, two subway lines and the AirTrain JFK, a point business leaders have long highlighted when trying to sell developers on the area.
In 2007, the city rezoned 368 blocks downtown with the hopes of encouraging development near the dense transit infrastructure, but when the economy tanked, many of the plans stalled out.
Recently, however, the neighborhood has experienced a boom.
If the Marriott hotels are completed on time, it would give them a nine-month headstart on a 150-room Four Points by Sheraton set to open in September 2015 across the railroad tracks on 94th Avenue. Bradford described Four Points as a “mid-luxury” brand.
With 100,498 square feet of space spread out across nine floors, the Sheraton’s design also boast offices, a fitness center, a meeting room and a restaurant.
Both hotels, however, would sit in the shadow of a 24-story, 210-room hotel slated to go up across from the Air Train station after the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority hammered out a deal in mid-September.
The Able Management Group is in charge of operating the lodge, but has not yet announced which brand it will bring in. The company runs a Holiday Inn and a Wingate by Wyndham on Long Island.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.