By Naeisha Rose
Zara Realty, a Queens-based real estate firm, is developing a new luxury apartment complex near Rufus King Park on 89th Avenue between 172nd and 173 streets in Jamaica.
The 18-unit, seven-story building will feature a gym, two rooftop terraces with a recreational space, a lounge with free Wi-fi, washer and dyers in every unit, and a 24/7 concierge, according to Jason Fink, a spokesman.
Construction on the complex is set to begin in spring 2018 and should be completed in 18 months, according to Fink. It is part of the development explosion going on in Jamaica, which is expected to bring 2,000 new housing units and 1,500 hotel rooms over the next few years, according to Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
“We have been investing in this community for 35 years, and as Jamaica continues to grow and thrive, we are helping to provide the critical, high-quality housing that will accommodate this growth,” said Anthony Subraj, vice president at Zara Realty. “As a firm founded and still run by an immigrant family that made Jamaica our home, we are committed to the future of this diverse and vibrant community.”
Zara owns and manages more than 2.6 million square feet of residential property in Jamaica and surrounding communities, according to Fink.
Not everyone in the community is happy about this new development, however.
Less than a month ago, Chhaya CDC, the Tenant Association of Hillside Park, Woodside on the Move, Stabilizing NYC, AAFE, and Catholic Migration Services were demonstrating against Zara’s business practices on 168th Street in Jamaica.
Members of the different associations accused Zara representatives of “harassment, undue rent increases, and frivolous lawsuits,” and called them “predatory landlords.”
“Zara Reality has a track record of tenant harassment and contributing to the displacement of low-income residents,” said Jagpreet Singh, a spokesman for Chhaya, a community development corporation. “Jamaica needs affordable housing and responsible landlords.
“This development will make it hard for long-time residents and their families to stay in their community. Chhaya is committed to working with community members that will be impacted by this new development and ensure that private developers are held accountable for predatory practices.”
Zara Realty spokesman Jason Fink found Singh’s accusations to be baseless.
“Zara has invested millions of dollars in improvements and modernizations to buildings throughout Queens to create high-quality affordable housing,” Fink said. “We are a long-term investor in neighborhoods, particularly Jamaica, and have created thousands of units of affordable housing, while continuously making critical upgrades to buildings so that tenants can stay in their communities.
“This new development is on a currently empty lot. No one is being displaced. We are very proud of the work we have done to bring much needed high-quality housing to southeast Queens. Any allegations to the contrary are completely without merit and have no basis in fact.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose