The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) signed a contract with BRP Companies to develop a $225 million residential, commercial and retail tower joining together the JFK Air Train and LIRR station making it the largest private investment in downtown Jamaica since the 1960’s when Jamaica was once a primary retail destination.
BRP Companies, a minority-owned business, has proposed an 80,000 square-foot retail and commercial space that will also be used for mixed-use residential housing.
“Jamaica is solidly middle-class,” said Meredith Marshall, managing partner of BRP Companies. “It deserves a building this size and scale primarily targeting that workforce.”
Building the tower in Jamaica is giving hope to other local business leaders that high-end retail outlets and restaurants will begin to locate around the Sutphin Boulevard station, which services 19,000 commuters per day, according to GJDC.
“We are convinced it will be a catalyst, its not in itself an end it will be something that attracts other developers,” said F. Carlisle Towery, president of GJDC. “The most difficult problem is to get the first guy, that’s the riskiest, it’s not been done before, and once you get the first guy the rest follow suit.”
U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks was at the project unveiling March 7, shaking hands with members of GJDC and BRP.
“This project further validates Downtown Jamaica as a prime location for private investment in transit-oriented development,” said Meeks.
Eight major investors including TD Bank, CitiBank and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund have invested money in the transit-hub area, and now Goldman-Sachs Urban Investment Group is working to provide funding for the tower.
“We have seen first hand that strong public-private partnerships are an essential tool to further revitalize communities with job opportunities and neighborhood amenities,” wrote Dina H. Powell, head of the Goldman-Sachs Urban Investment Group, in a press release.
In September MTA officials gave preliminary approval for the construction of a 24-story hotel directly across the street from the LIRR terminal, but no financing deals or construction dates have been announced.
Trone Dowd contributed to this article.