By Sarina Trangle
The Greater Jamaica Development Corp. has heralded The Crossing, a $225 million mixed use development slated for its property beside the LIRR stop, but one union contends the project offers surrounding residents anything but a bridge to betterment.
Michael Donnelly, a New York City District Council of Carpenters representative, said GJDC neglected the union’s offer to train local residents while constructing The Crossing and find them employment after the planned towers rose above Sutphin and Archer avenues.
“They said, ‘We’re selling the land.’ And we said, ‘Why don’t you put in the contracts that you have to employ people from the neighborhood, provide health care and all that?’” Donnelly said, noting he did not get a clear answer on whether any agreements had been signed. “Greater Jamaica doesn’t care one way or another, as long as they get their building done.”
No deed or land disposition has been signed for 93-01 Sutphin Blvd., which Greater Jamaica Development Corp. plans to sell to BRP Development Corporation for the 25-story and 14-story development. The towers will stand above 300 parking spots, 100,000 square feet of retail and community space and reserve half of the 580 apartments for those making less than the area median income, according to GJDC’s website.
GJDC, a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing Jamaica through responsible development, characterized its meeting with the District Council of Carpenters as productive.
“We had a very positive meeting with the carpenters union and shared the discussion with BRP,” a spokesman for GJDC said in a statement. “It is our mission that these projects should be done for the benefit of the community, including those who work on these projects, and encourage developers to hire minority- and women-owned contractors that employ local residents.”
BRP, a Brooklyn-based and minority-led development business, did not respond to inquiries about the union’s request or how far along it was in signing construction contracts.
“BRP Companies is focused on advancing the development and will have more to say soon,” spokeswoman Zoe Tobin said in a statement.
Meredith Marshall, BRP’s co-founder and managing partner, sits on the GJDC board of directors.
The union contended its calls to BRP went unanswered and days have passed since GJDC agreed to pass its pitch along to BRP.
“They just weren’t very forthcoming,” Donnelly said.
City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), who represents the project site and serves as chairman of the Committee on Civil Service & Labor, declined to comment.
Donnelly said the union had partnered with the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp. on other projects.
“If they were to work with us, they’d have formal training. You can then take them to anywhere in the country and they can read the blueprint,” Donnelly said. “Otherwise, they’re told to put a wall up here, and they don’t know how to read the blueprints or why the wall is going there.”
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.