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Rego Center’s opening slated for March is a welcome relief in a city with a 10.6 percent unemployment rate, Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said, despite lingering concerns community members have about an increase of traffic from the new shopping hub.
“There are 500 jobs being produced in Century 21 alone,” Gulluscio said. “We want them to be successful.”
Expected to open March 3, Rego Center is a 6.6-acre site at the intersection of Junction Boulevard and 62nd Drive next to the Long Island Expressway in Rego Park. Situated directly behind the Rego Park Mall, the development will include a Kohl’s, Costco, T.J. Maxx and Century 21. The Rego Park Mall currently has an Old Navy, a Sears and a Bed, Bath & Beyond.
The site is managed by Vornado but owned by Alexander’s Inc.
According to the most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the development will be a 600,000-square-foot shopping center on four levels and will include a parking deck with about 1,400 spaces.
The development’s anchor stores could create as many as 1,000 jobs, Gulluscio said — good news in a city where about 425,000 people are looking for jobs, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment report.
The Kohl’s store will open up about 250 retail positions, officials said.
“We are excited to open the doors to the new Rego Park location,” said Victor Eckert, district manager for the Rego Center location.
Greg Lavine, a spokesman for Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), said they expect the center to be a “great benefit to Queens and the economy.”
“It allows city shoppers to stay within the city and do shopping they often would have had to do in the suburbs,” Lavine said.
Community members have been concerned about an influx in traffic in the area once the shopping center opens, and Gulluscio said the community board has asked the city Department of Transportation to make the block on 62nd Drive between 97th Road and Junction Boulevard one-way. The DOT is now reviewing the plan.
“The DOT is also going to measure traffic once it opens,” Gulluscio said.
Gulluscio, Council members Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), CB 6 Chairman Joseph Hennessy and DOT officials recently toured the Rego Center site to discuss traffic issues.
Dromm, who represents the area where the shopping center is located, told a CB 6 meeting in December that he planned to work closely with city officials to mitigate any traffic problems that may be created by the center’s opening.
“I know traffic is a very, very big concern for people,” Dromm said in December. “We need to get on top of that.”
Dromm and Koslowitz have been in Israel on a Council trip and unable to comment for this article.
Initial groundbreaking on the site began in October 2006 and actual construction began in May 2007.
Vornado had originally planned for The Home Depot to occupy the area now leased by Costco, but the construction supply store pulled out of the development in early 2009.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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