Plan to convert Jamaica garage to 351 affordable apartments approved

City officials and community board members discussed turning the 168 Street garage into affordable housing at Queens Borough Hall.
By Naeisha Rose

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, other elected officials, and members of seven different community boards unanimously approved a plan to convert a two-story parking garage at 168th Street between Archer and Jamaica Avenue into a 100 percent affordable housing development.

During the meeting of the Borough Board, members of Housing, Economic, Infrastructure and Planning, in conjunction with the city Economic Development Corporation, held a timeline presentation on the proposed redevelopment.

Community Board 12 Chairwoman Adrienne Adams was happy that the site, which is in her jurisdiction, would be converted.

“You have my full compliance,” Adams said. “It’s been a blight in this area.”

Barry Dinerstein, deputy director of HEIP, described the site as “a dilapidated parking garage that is currently utilized by the NYPD,” and said the mixed use development will provide temporary and permanent accommodations for the NYPD.

Katz said the 460,000-square-foot-development would have 351 units for affordable housing and have retail and community space.

It will also include 180 parking spots, with 60 going to the NYPD and the remainder for tenants.

The NYPD will be relocating its parking space this summer to make space for the construction. Designs for the building have already started and will go into the fall.

“Construction will take place next year,” Dinerstein said.

Developing the garage into a housing complex is OMNI New York, a development management firm that is already managing 13,000 other housing units and is working on two other developments, according to Dinerstein.

The housing units are for people earning 40 percent to 130 percent of area median income, according to Dinerstein. City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s 2017 Queens Neighborhood Economic Profile for the CB 12 neighborhoods of Jamaica, Hollis and St. Albans has the median income at $60,000. The apartments will be given out in a lottery system, Katz said.

Top Tier Construction will be responsible for building the development, according to Dinerstein.

Katz reiterated that the 15,000-square-foot community center would include a youth center as part of the Jamaica Now Action Plan, an initiative to sustain and enhance neighborhoods in the downtown Jamaica area, according to the city Economic Development Corporation’s website.

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) was happy with the progress of the development, which was approved by the EDC in 2007. However, before constructions begins he wants a general background check done on Top Tier Construction to be sure that nothing goes wrong.

Once Dinerstein, on behalf of both HEIP and the EDC, concluded his presentation, Katz, Miller, Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens), and members of Community Boards 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 12 and 13 unanimously said aye in approval of the conversion of the garage into an affordable housing development.

“This project really reflects the value of the community in many ways,” Miller said.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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