The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) board of directors voted unanimously on Tuesday evening to appoint Justin Rodgers as president and CEO of the organization that builds economic development in the southeast Queens community.
Rodgers has been interim head of GJDC since November 2021, when then-president Hope Knight was named by Governor Kathy Hochul as commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and president and CEO of Empire State Development.
“I am grateful to the board of directors for entrusting me to lead this storied organization and know that together we will continue to ensure a brighter future for downtown Jamaica,” Rodgers said. “In my time here, I have worked across all departments gaining in-depth knowledge of the daily operations. Perhaps my proudest achievement is cementing relationships with leaders in the community, all branches of government and the private sector. As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, these partnerships will be key to positioning the community on the best footing for success.”
During their exhaustive search for a new president, which included more than 70 applicants, Lamont Bailey, board chair of GDJC, said it was clear that Rodgers’ personal involvement with every major initiative of GDJC for more than a decade, coupled with his intimate knowledge of the organization and the southeast Queens community, was an invaluable strength.
“Furthermore, he has demonstrated leadership every step of the way, successfully managed through unforeseen obstacles and gained the trust and respect of the entire staff, community and local political leaders,” Bailey said. “As a result of his efforts, Justin has become a recognized advocate for the entire southeast Queens business community. Justin was an easy choice because he is the right choice.”
Rodgers is a board member of United Black Men of Queens County, the International Council of Shopping Centers and a graduate of the Coro Neighborhood Leadership program.
He is GJDC’s third president and CEO, succeeding Knight and Carlisle Towery, who led the organization from its founding in 1967 until his retirement in 2015.
Rodgers joined GJDC in 2006 and was immediately involved in the effort leading to the 368-block rezoning of Jamaica — among the largest in NYC history at the time. He eventually became managing director of the real estate development team and promoted economic growth in downtown Jamaica, including developing strategies and initiatives to expand and enhance the retail, industrial and economic base.
He oversaw major projects on behalf of GJDC totaling nearly $1 billion of private and public-sector investment creating approximately 6 million square feet of residential and retail space and more than 1,500 hotel rooms. Additionally, Rodgers oversaw state and federal funding requests.
As the downtown Jamaica community recovers from the pandemic, Rodgers’ first priority is the completion of Greater Nexus, an $11 million, 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art coworking space that will house nearly 40 businesses located at 89-14 Parsons Blvd.
Rodgers has been involved with the project since its inception. With changes in commercial office space during the pandemic, Greater Nexus provides small businesses with flexible terms and affordable leases in modern office space.
The project will bring additional innovation and entrepreneurship to downtown Jamaica.