Restaurant Loan Program

Restaurant Loan Program

Despite Jamaica’s development boom, there is currently an estimated $230.1 million in yearly unmet demand for full service restaurants in Downtown Jamaica.  

To spur restaurant development, the State of New York, in conjunction with GJDC, is actively seeking restaurant entrepreneurs ready to invest in a growing downtown. GJDC has launched a partially forgivable loan program specifically targeted to restaurants that need capital to expand or open a new location in Downtown Jamaica, Queens.

  • Loan amounts $50,000-$150,000
  • 25% of the loan is forgivable after successful repayment
  • 5% interest rate
  • 3-5 year repayment period


  • Located within designated Downtown Jamaica boundaries  
  • New (or substantially different) restaurant business 
  • For-profit entity 
  • Create a minimum of 4 jobs 
  • Amount requested can be no more than 40% of project cost 
  • If expanding existing restaurant, must be growing into least 40% more space and include significant renovations 
  • Applicants can own no more than 2 restaurants in New York City   
  • Project must align with program objectives 

About Downtown Jamaica, Queens

A resurgence is underway in Downtown Jamaica, Queens. In the last ten years, over $1 billion of public and private investments have been made in the area. Rezoned for higher density in 2007, new development projects are continually announced for Jamaica.

In the next two years alone, 5.9 million square feet of residential, hotel, and retail space are slated to come online including 4,800 new residential units and 2,200 hotel rooms. This new development leverages Jamaica's position as the hub of Southeast Queens: 49 bus lines, 4 subway stops, an LIRR station, and the AirTrain to JFK intersect in Jamaica; 86,000 people walk the Downtown every day and 30,600 university students attend area schools. 

About the Program

Downtown Jamaica, Queens was selected by Governor Andrew Cuomo as a winner of a competitive $10 million grant competition through the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). DRI is a strategic investment plan that identifies catalytic downtown projects consistent with the initiative’s goals. 

Increasing dining options in Downtown Jamaica is one of those projects and it focuses on improving the dining options and nightlife activity in the downtown area by establishing a Restaurant Startup Loan Program as well as an incubator space for new food businesses at the Jamaica Market, which GJDC owns and manages.



Do you have demonstrated experience in opening and managing restaurants? Do you own less than three restaurants in New York? If so, this new loan program can help you get started in Downtown Jamaica, Queens.

If you believe you are eligible, please fill out our pre-application form and a member of the team will review and contact you directly.




 Current Target Corridors


Real Estate Leads & Information

To help restaurateurs identify spaces to start a business, GJDC has compiled a short list of restaurant real estate leads in Downtown Jamaica.  

Email Us

Contact us for more information.


In Partnership

This program is made possible thanks to generous funding from