Our Story

About Us

Formed in 1967, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is one of the nation’s first community development corporations. Under the stewardship of Carlisle Towery for more than 40 years, GJDC has been in the forefront of encouraging private and public investment in a way which enhances the quality of life for the people who live and work in Jamaica, Queens. For many years, that struggle focused on encouraging private businesses to remain and revitalize what had once been a flourishing commercial hub.

As a result of the vision, advocacy of GJDC and infusion of significant capital, Jamaica has turned a corner. With several large scale development projects in various stages of commencement and solidly entrenched community anchors such as York College, AirTrain and Jamaica Performing Arts Centers (all of which resulted partly or fully from our advocacy), our task is now managing this revitalization and making sure that the community continues to attract responsible development. With new President and CEO Hope Knight, we are certain that our community-building mission will continue to thrive.

GJDC is supported through corporate and foundation grants, government contracts and income earned from its project operations. It has an overall annual operating budget over 10 million dollars and a staff of 70. It owns and operates several commercial projects including small office facilities, a food market, and a public parking system of garages and lots serving the downtown. Our activities include project design, pre-development planning with private developers through a special entity, administration of a small business loan fund, administration of government programs in industrial retention and commercial revitalization, and a host of programs and undertakings designed to improve the quality of life, general marketing and perception of Downtown Jamaica.

Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is a New York State membership organization with some 85 Members; it is governed by a Board of Directors of 30 business and community leaders.