BY LUIS GRONDA
The Jamaica Revealed event last month detailed the potential for the future of Southeast Queens.
Hundreds of business and real estate head honchos gathered at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on April 23, to discuss the many real estate opportunities that are available in Jamaica and what the needs for the area are.
The event, which was organized by the Jamaica Business Improvement District, Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District and the 165th Street Mall Improvement Association, featured keynote speaker Drew Greenwald, the principal architect at Grid Properties Inc., a Harlem-based real estate company that is known for redeveloping the upper Manhattan neighborhood.
When discussing the real estate potential of Jamaica, Greenwald often compared it to 125th Street in Harlem, saying that the community reminded him of how it looked like a decade ago.
“Where you have a lot of businesses that were serving the bottom 30 to 35 to 40 percent of the income levels, the other 60 percent were actually leaving to go to other places to shop,” he said. “If we use Jamaica Avenue as the example, we still have a lot of people that decide I’m going to go to Queens Center [Mall], Green Acres or Roosevelt Field because they have a better overall selection, more food choices and I, simply, find it easier to get to also.”
Greenwald said the potential for development in Jamaica is on the upswing, but the issue becomes how to build up the area so that people who live and work there will spend their money there.
“The numbers look great, the income density in the area looks good. Numerically, Jamaica looks great. The challenge becomes how to get from what everyone knows here, that this is an exciting market with exciting opportunities, to the next level,” he said.
One theme from the conference is the need for sit-down restaurants and high-end clothing stores to open on the Jamaica Avenue business corridor.
Several real estate experts, including Greenwald, at the event said Jamaica is in need of those businesses and there is potential for that in the area.
The event included a bus tour of the available real estate properties in and around Jamaica Avenue. According to a listing of all available properties handed out at the conference, there are 33 available properties in the area, with the majority of them on Jamaica Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard.
The biggest of the available spaces is a 40,000-square-foot property located at 90-02/10 Sutphin Blvd.
Daniel DePasquale, a broker at Winick Realty Group, is representing two available properties on the Southeast Queens thoroughfare, a three-story building at 165-02 Jamaica Ave. and the other at 166-36 Jamaica Ave, which is on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Merrick Boulevard.
DePasquale said both properties are well-located for potential businesses as they are on corners, which is good for retailers because it captures both sides of traffic.
He said they are looking for an apparel tenant, like a clothing store, and a “destination tenant” such as a restaurant or a lounge to fill those spaces.
For the three-story building, DePasquale said they would prefer to have the tenant take up all three floors but they are wiling to work with the company if they are not interested in that.
“Since we are trying to paint the landscape of the City, we would like someone to put a flag there, to put a real location, to make this their flagship or make it a very important location for them and we have the opportunity to give them three floors,” he said.
The City has also committed to developing Jamaica. They launched the Jamaica Now Neighborhood Action Plan last month, which features more than 21 actions to revitalize a community that has been put on City Hall’s back burner for decades.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.