The Landmark Project
153-10 Jamaica Avenue
The landmark former First Reformed Church is being transformed into a performing arts center, to be managed by Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL). Cultural Collaborative Jamaica and Black Spectrum Theater are the project’s cosponsors. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation assisted in the preservation, protection, and restoration of the building. The church’s façade is being lovingly restored, and the interior is being transformed to house a 400-seat theater suitable for films, dance, music, rehearsals, performances, and meetings. Other features of this $18 million undertaking will include a third-floor community conference room, and additional performance space on the grounds. The renovation will be completed in 2007. Call 718-658-7400 x123 for more information. The project was initially supported by Borough President Claire Shulman, Councilman Archie Spigner, State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, Borough President Helen Marshall, and Councilman Leroy Comrie. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation commissioned initial feasibility studies for this re-use, and maintained, on an interim basis for the city, the churchyard and building.
90-05 161 st Street
Completed in 2005 by the Ciampa Organization, Yorkside Towers were the first market-rate rental housing structures built in Downtown Jamaica in 30 years. The two fully occupied buildings—180 units total—demonstrate the high demand and desirability of living in Downtown Jamaica. The project has added vibrancy to Jamaica and has spurred a wave of new housing developments across the Downtown. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation assembled the land in the mid-1970s and took responsibility for rezoning the land for higher density housing. The project was financed through the New York City Housing Development Corporation’s New Housing Opportunities Program (NewHOP) with a letter of credit from North Fork Bank.
Jamaica Pathways is a system of enhanced pedestrian routes designed to create a safe and attractive environment to encourage visitors to leave their cars and explore Downtown Jamaica on foot. The first three pathways, now open on Sutphin Boulevard, 159 th Street and 160 th Street, connect downtown street sections to transit or parking facilities. The project provides pedestrian amenities like special sidewalk surfaces, lighting, path finding information, trees, landscaping, and coordinated graphics. Jamaica Pathways will be expanded to connect other streets in the community in the near future. The $8.4 million project was conceived and administered by Greater Jamaica Development Corporation through a funding agreement with New York City Economic Development Corporation. Funding was provided by the Federal Highways Administration, the New York City Council and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s local partners for the project are York College, Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District, and Jamaica Market. The project was accomplished with the support of Borough President Helen Marshall, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Councilman Leroy Comrie, Councilman James Gennaro, Councilman Thomas White, and former Councilman Archie Spigner.
Jamaica First Parking
Jamaica First is a project of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation to plan and facilitate a comprehensive public parking system to better serve the businesses, institutions, residents, and visitors of Downtown Jamaica. Jamaica First Parking’s 2,000 space system is locally managed, operated, and owned by this new non-profit entity created by Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and supported by the Jamaica business community. Jamaica First acquires and develops a number of parking properties, located throughout Jamaica Center. The first acquisitions from the city were financed with bonds issued by the NYC Industrial Development Agency, secured by a letter of credit from a syndicate led by The Bank of New York with participation from Israel Discount Bank of New York and State Bank of Long Island. A new garage enabled by city funds was initially sponsored by Councilman Archie Spigner and Thomas White Jr. and it received additional support from Councilmen Leroy Comrie, James Gennaro, and David Weprin and opened in May 2005.
Food and Drug Administration’s Northeast Regional Laboratory
158-15 Liberty Avenue
With Congressman Floyd Flake, and following initial leadership from U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation assisted in the site selection and, with developer Hines Interests PC, developed the $85 million U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Northeast Regional Laboratory, Headquarters and District Office, completed in 1999. Senator Moynihan sponsored legislation to place the facility on the York College campus, and Borough President Claire Shulman led that successful effort. About 400 employees occupy the building. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is helping to advance collaborations and joint programs between York College and the FDA.
147-28 90th Avenue
With loans from Washington Mutual and Citibank, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation acquired and renovated, a vacant 54-unit apartment building to provide affordable rental housing in the downtown’s Sutphin Boulevard corridor; it was then sold to a private owner.
89-17 Sutphin Boulevard
In the early 1970s, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation participated in the planning and site selection by Mayor John Lindsay for the Civil Court complex on Sutphin Boulevard. Designed by Perkins Eastman Architects, the elegant building has, with the new Queens Family Court, solidified Jamaica as the County’s center for civil judicial activities . Both buildings demonstrate the role of sensitive, quality urban design in upgrading a downtown’s environment. The $60 million Courthouse was completed in 1997, championed by Assemblyman Saul Weprin and with special advocacy from A. Paul Goldblum, Esq. and others in the Queens County Bar Association, and with leadership and funds from Borough President Claire Shulman.
Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica
89-70 162 nd Street
Under a development lease through NYC Economic Development Corporation, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation renovated a small city-owned vacant building and conveyed it to Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica for its offices in 1996; Sterling Bank financed this project.
89-56 162 nd Street
Part of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s “Mid-block redevelopment project,” this $1.2 million landmark standard renovation of a vacated firehouse was enabled by a grant from New York State and financing from Bank of America. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation owns and operates the building, renting it as offices for two non-profit organizations.
Jamaica Business Resource Center
90-33 160 th Street
In the 1980s Greater Jamaica Development Corporation helped establish and incubate the Jamaica Business Resource Center (JBRC) as the nation’s first U.S. Small Business Administration’s “One Stop Capital Shop.” JBRC provides technical assistance and access to capital and loan programs for local small business, particularly women and minority-owned. JBRC offers business assistance including small business research, procurement, and planning tools. It has served more than 3500 small business clients since its start. The Queens Minority Business Development Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, is housed at JBRC.
Joseph P. Addabbo Building-Social Security Administration
1 Jamaica Center Plaza at Parsons Boulevard
With U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo , Greater Jamaica Development Corporation assisted in the site selection, development coordination and urban design of the new home for the Social Security Administration’s Northeastern Program Service Center. The building, with 1 million square feet of floor space and employment of 3,000, opened in 1989. It serves New York State, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands—which comprise U.S. Region II.
King Manor Museum/King Park
Jamaica Avenue at 153 rd Street
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation assisted the museum, providing board-building advice, supplies, support, and office facilities, as the city completed a $2.1 million interior restoration of historic King Manor in 1989, and a $4 million reconstruction of King Park surrounding the Manor in 1991. With a grant from the J. M. Kaplan Fund, we provided design and use guidelines for the 11-acre park.
94-20 Guy Brewer Boulevard
York College is the City University of New York’s newest senior institution. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation was instrumental, along with the Regional Plan Association, in the feasibility study, planning, and decision-making in 1968 for the location and development in Jamaica of the campus. Following Mayor John Lindsay’s leadership and Reverend Robert Ross Johnson’s efforts as a trustee of CUNY’s Board of Higher Education, the city’s acquisition of York’s 50-acre campus began in 1970. After relocation and clearance, and state financing initiatives by Governor Hugh Carey, York moved into initial new buildings in 1986.
The Borough Office Building
90-04 161 st Street
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation also operates a fully occupied eight-story office building, where its headquarters are located; this building was contributed in 1980 by Fred C. Trump, and renovated with loans from JP Morgan Chase, and later from Citibank.
90-40 160 th Street
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation designed and developed Jamaica Market, a combination food court, farmers’ market, and office space which created 70 permanent jobs. The market is an incubator for women and minority-run businesses. The project started in 1974, with initial and follow-up support from Bankers Trust Company, as a seasonal, open-air interim use on vacant sites downtown . We purchased from the city and improved a 520-car municipal garage to support the market and area businesses, and purchased and re-used a vacated branch bank facility to enable the market’s expansion. The basic project was financed with loans totaling $5.1 million from The Equitable, JPMorgan Chase, and the Empire State Development Corporation, and with grants from U.S. EDA, City EDC, and ESDC. Citibank, Bank of America, and HSBC banks, and the Department of Health and Human Services funded individual components of this complex. Councilman Archie Spigner sponsored a city grant for refurbishing the market’s Harvest Room as a conference facility.
Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
161-04 Jamaica Avenue
As part of a goal to increase area cultural offerings, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation established in 1972 Jamaica Arts Center—now Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL)—as an educational and visual arts community center. With initial funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, and New York Community Trust, we secured and stabilized a vacant city-owned building for the center’s home, helped secure a landmark designation for the building, and enabled the organization’s independence by helping form a separate entity and initial board of directors.