Southeast Queens lawmakers and community members celebrated the opening of Archer Green, a new affordable housing complex to benefit residents and families in downtown Jamaica, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and Omni New York LLC were also in attendance for the opening of the building, located at 92-23 168th St.
The transformational project born out of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan delivers a 387-unit apartment complex that includes a 15,000-square-foot community facility and a 70,000-square-foot commercial space, which will be home to Aldi, a low-cost grocery store that will bring high-quality fresh food and produce to the neighborhood.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Councilman I. Daneek Miller spoke about their work to help the project across the finish line.
Richards said Archer Green will make a massive difference in the lives of hundreds of Queens families.
“The opening of Archer Green is nothing short of a tremendous victory for the families of Jamaica as we welcome nearly 400 units of 100% affordable housing, as well as a much-needed grocery store and significant community space, to one of Queens’ most historic and fastest-growing communities,” Richards said.
The ribbon-cutting of Archer Green represents years of hard work and negotiations, according to Miller, who said they worked to ensure that the development featured 100% affordable units, using all of the tools at their disposal at the Council to secure financing for the project.
“We appreciate the partnership with the city and EDC to ensure that MWBE participation was a priority for this project, and are incredibly excited about adding more affordable housing to Downtown Jamaica,” Miller said. “With the impacts of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that folks have access to apartments like these, which are not only affordable, but offer top-of-the-line amenities as well.”
The residential building includes a variety of amenities such as a fitness room, outdoor terrace, community lounge, children’s playroom, media and co-working space, package lockers and bike storage.
The building will also achieve LEED gold status and incorporate several green technologies that will improve building operations and increase resiliency, including a state-of-the-art battery energy storage system that can provide backup power in the event of a black out; solar panels; a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that generates electricity and captures heat that would otherwise be wasted; electric vehicle charging stations; and energy efficient appliances and fixtures.
The redevelopment project arose from the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a $153 million neighborhood revitalization initiative announced in 2015 by the de Blasio administration, former Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and NYCEDC. The plan aimed to economically revitalize Jamaica by increasing access to quality jobs and small business support, promoting commercial growth, improving livability and increasing awareness of Jamaica.
Justin Rodgers, interim president and CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, said Archer Green demonstrates the great things that come from public-private partnerships.
“The revitalization of this long-underutilized lot begins the transformation of the 168th Street corridor with affordable housing, jobs, community space and retail. Hats off to the city officials and the development team at Omni New York for their great collaboration,” Rodgers said.
Eugene Schneur, managing director of Omni New York LLC, said they’re thrilled to celebrate the completion of the 100 percent affordable housing and mixed-use development.
Construction on the project began in 2018 to redevelop the former New York Police Department parking garage and created more than 1,900 construction jobs. It is also expected to create more than 200 permanent jobs.
“What was once an NYPD garage, is now nearly 400 affordable homes, plus a new grocery store and additional retail — yet another example of how the city has been pushing to use public sites to develop affordable housing,” said Louise Carroll, HPD commissioner.
Rachel Loeb, president and CEO of NYCEDC, thanked their city partners, local elected officials, the development team, community members, and all who helped NYCEDC in reaching the tremendous milestone.
“Archer Green will create much-needed affordable housing and good-paying jobs, which will help spur a thriving local economy in Jamaica, Queens,” Loeb said.
Senator Leroy Comrie, who recalled standing with his colleagues at the groundbreaking in 2019, said despite the challenges posed by the past 18 months due to the pandemic, it is encouraging to see that the city agencies continue to find find a way to move forward working in collaboration with the private sector to provide much-needed affordable housing.
“The development of downtown Jamaica with affordable housing, a community facility and commercial space is critical to our economic recovery, and I commend everyone that took the recommendations of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan and helped make them a reality,” Comrie said.
Councilwoman Adrienne Adams said the opening of Archer Green marks a major milestone in the revitalization of downtown Jamaica.
“The addition of nearly 400 units of affordable housing, community facility space, a new grocery store and environmental benefits will be a boon for our community,” Adams said. “As a former co-chair of the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council, I am excited that the Action Plan we announced in 2015 is already delivering results and benefits for the residents of southeast Queens.”
Community Board 12 District Manager Yvonne Reddick thanked their partners, city agencies and elected officials for their collaboration and continued support to bring new affordable housing and commercial space to the neighborhood.
“We are thrilled to see Archer Green go from a proposal to a reality,” Reddick said. “The new buildings are beautiful and will make a big difference in this community.”