Governor Hochul praises work of Jamaica’s downtown revitalization initiative

Greater Nexus Jamaica downtown revitalization initiative
Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at the ribbon-cutting for Greater Nexus coworking space in downtown Jamaica. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Governor Kathy Hochul joined several community leaders on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of Greater Nexus, a new office building part of Jamaica’s downtown revitalization initiative.

Located at 89-14 Parsons Blvd., the building is expected to be available to 80 to 100 tenants starting Aug. 1.

According to Hochul, this new building is meant to help local aspiring entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses while also forging connections with fellow businesses in the building.

The completion of the project is more than two years in the making, having broken ground prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2019. Its total cost was $11 million. Hochul believes this building can help encourage people to go back to work in offices in order to better build connections.

“This is created by the community,” Hochul said. “The timing is perfect to welcome individuals who will be helping build back or reimagine our post-pandemic world as they sit here and come up with great ideas.”

The Greater Nexus Project, which covers 18,000 square feet, was originally planned in 2016. It’s meant to help local entrepreneurs and professionals grow their businesses. Hochul said the state invested $2.3 million into it.

Greater Nexus Jamaica downtown revitalization initiative
Local officials cut the ribbon on Greater Nexus coworking space in downtown Jamaica. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Hochul also announced that $100 million in funding will go toward helping small businesses grow in smaller communities in the state. While this project is done, Hochul said the downtown revitalization initiative will continue across the state. She said more than 60 communities across the state have already benefited from it this year and the plan is to help 10 more before the end of the year.

In total, $200 million in funding will go to two major downtown revitalization initiatives. The first, NY Forward aims to rejuvenate smaller and rural communities. The second is the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Applications for NY Forward are expected to begin later this month before the winners are selected later this year.

NY Forward will provide capacity-building workshops and technical assistance from consultants to assist communities in developing applications and throughout the implementation process. The program also offers two funding options for each region — two $4.5 million awards or one $4.5 million grant and two $2.25 million grants. It is meant to serve smaller communities and support local economies that often have a feel and charm distinct from larger, metropolitan urban centers funded through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

“It’s very important [to have projects like Greater Nexus] because it gives hope to people,” Hochul said. “To bring new life here is a signal that the communities matter. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has ignited a renaissance in these spaces, which are critical to the continued growth of businesses and local economies and I am proud to support this vital program. As we grow our downtowns, we are proud to launch a new program — NY Forward — that will provide crucial support to New York’s smaller and rural communities to help bring them back to the bustling towns and villages they once were.”

Greater Nexus Jamaica downtown revitalization initiative
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards speaks at the ribbon-cutting for Greater Nexus coworking space in downtown Jamaica on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

In addition to Hochul, other local leaders present at the ceremony included Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez, Senator Leroy Comrie, Hope Knight and Justin Rodgers of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) and Assemblyman Clyde Vanel.

Richards heaped praise on Knight for helping to kickstart and oversee this initiative. He anticipates this building will lead to economic growth among the people in the area.

“Today we’re taking another step towards building a stronger, more synergized Jamaica with the opening of this new working space,” Richards said. “With this new location, we’re allowing for new networking opportunities for local small business owners, allowing innovation to thrive and creating new jobs. The businesses that will operate here will succeed, will flourish and will thrive.”