Jackson Heights-Corona BID Is Downsized

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

The proposed Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District has been downsized by 10 blocks and its budget has also been significantly reduced, but some merchants still oppose the proposal.

While some business and property owners oppose the BID, according to officials at the 82nd Street Partnership, about 100 businesses have come forward to support the proposed formation of the BID, which will help keep the business district clean and safe.

Opinions from businesses seem to be mixed about the proposed Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District.  Photo by Ira Cohen

Opinions from businesses seem to be mixed about the proposed Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District. Photo by Ira Cohen

Seth Taylor, executive director of 82nd Street Partnership, said the BID is the “small businesses survival strategy,” and now the BID is “more affordable and manageable.”

Some of the additional resources local business owners can expect after paying the annual fee is an increase in sanitation workers, graffiti removal, advocacy, event planning, beautification, street furniture maintenance and marketing.

Each commercial property lot would be assessed annually, based on a front footage and assessed value combination formula, according to officials at the 82nd Street Partnership. The average annual cost for a typical commercial property tax lot is approximately $900, which comes out to $75 a month.  Depending on the property owner, the assessment could be divided among multiple tenants.

Cheryl Tse, project consultant for the 82nd Street Partnership, said the original amount each property owner would have paid annually was under $2,000.

Some store owners have expressed concern over the proposal.

“The BID caters to an affluent market where small shops will be displaced,” Roosevelt Ave. Community Alliance spokesperson Marty Kirchner said. “Even if they reduced the budget and have taken out 10 blocks, that doesn’t mean the [annual] fee is any less.”

Kirchner said the new annual fee of approximately $900 “is a lie and misleading because the assessment formula is the same.”

What could be one of the largest business corridors in the City must be voted on by every stakeholder and resident living in the proposed area, from 104th Street to 81st Street.

The district boundaries were originally from 82nd Street to 114th Street, as well as commercial stretches along National Street and Junction Boulevard.

The proposed BID’s original budget was $1.75 million when it included approximately about 1,100 businesses. Since the boundaries have been trimmed, the budget was shaved down to $860,000, which encompasses 850 businesses.

“The proposed district boundaries were cut down after conducting our public outreach and after the Steering Committee members heard feedback from community stakeholders in Corona that businesses there aren’t ready for a business improvement district,” Tse said. “From 104th Street to 114th Street, the foot traffic isn’t as heavy and there are more residential properties.”

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) proposed the BID earlier this year as a part of her New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue, which would be an expansion of the 82nd Street Partnership.

Andy Hong, owner of Optima Beauty Supply, at 84-15 Roosevelt Ave., said the business owners opposing the BID are thinking “short-term.”

“We should use the voice to garner a change in the community,” he added.

Judith Garcia, a licensed real estate broker at 95-09 Roosevelt Ave., said “we do not need extra sanitation, we need law and order.”

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.