BY JORDAN GIBBONS
As the heads of City agencies packed into York College on Nov. 22 to collaborate with the community on building a combined vision for Jamaica, Kyle Kimball, President of the Economic Development Corporation, announced the latest plan to support the City’s push towards more housing in the area.
Within the next few weeks, the EDC will release a request for proposal for the 168th Street garage in between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue.
Kimball said the City has tried a number of times to knock down the garage, which is used by the NYPD as a parking garage, but has not been successful so far.
This time, Kimball said he is optimistic that the project will get done, thanks to the Mayor’s goal of preserving 200,000 units of housing over the next 10 years.
“This is really the City’s most ambitious affordable housing plan ever,” he said. “And so, the 168th Street garage is going to make a real large leap towards that goal and we are going to be focused on connecting housing to transportation. I drove passed it this morning and I cannot wait to not see that garage.”
In 2007, the EDC issued an RFP for the 45,000-square-foot site, seeking a mixed-use development consisting of retail space, market-rate and affordable housing and parking facilities.
The development team that was selected was unable to complete the project due to the recession, EDC spokesperson Ian Fried said.
The new RFP will be for a similar project, but the official details for the proposal will be released soon.
“The 168th Street site holds powerful potential to serve the neighborhood with affordable housing and other amenities, and we look forward to working with the community to create a project that will help make New York City a stronger, more equitable place for all of its residents and businesses,” Fried said.
On the other side of Downtown Jamaica, BRP Companies has planned the two tower, 582 mixed-income unit housing development, The Crossing. BRP plans to set aside at least a quarter of the units for affordable housing. There is also going to be 100,000 square feet of retail space on three levels of the development with 300 underground parking spaces. BRP plans to break ground in mid-2015.
Another Jamaica property was purchased by the Flushing-based company Jamaica Tower LLC in October. The site, located at 163-05-25 Archer Ave. has a 90,000-square-foot footprint and 720,000 buildable square feet, according to Brian Sarath, the Massey Knakal Realty Services agent who handled the transaction.
“This was the largest development site to trade in Jamaica in over 10 years,” Sarath said.