Today’s news:

24-story hotel coming to downtown Jamaica

TimesLedger Newspapers

The MTA and the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. sealed a deal Wednesday that paves the way for Long Island hotelier Able Management to erect a long-awaited, 24-story lodging-and-retail tower across from the JFK AirTrain station.

The agency’s board voted to approve the $1.7 million sale of 4,181 square feet of property owned by the Long Island Rail Road to GJDC affiliate 93-43 Sutphin LLC, which owns another adjacent 5,794 square feet.

The properties, which combined allow for about 111,200 square feet of buildable area, will then be sold to Able for $4.5 million, to be split 38/62 between the LIRR and Greater Jamaica.

The Port Authority gave the development corporation $2.7 million to purchase the property in 2004, the year after the AirTrain opened, with hopes the nonprofit would be able to lure corporate tenants to the site. The PA was supposed to either collect its money or the property, which houses a 6,000-square-foot building GJDC uses for meetings, if nothing had been built by 2008.

In the meantime, the city rezoned 368 blocks in downtown Jamaica in 2007, changing the area across the AirTrain station from low-density manufacturing to high-rise commercial.

The request for proposal issued for the site last summer touted the more than 200,000 passengers who pass through the downtown area each day using the LIRR, subway, bus and the AirTrain link to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Able is proposing to build a $35 million, 210-room hotel with a full-service restaurant and retail space on the ground floor.

“The location is well-suited for a hotel, as it is directly across from and easily accessible to the Jamaica transit systems. Guests will be able to utilize the AirTrain to and from JFK Airport,” Able CEO Viral Patel said. “We look forward to successful completion of the project and becoming part of the downtown Jamaica business community.”

The company, which manages hotels in Plainview and Brentwood, was chosen over BRP Development Corp. due to “unacceptable contingencies” in the latter’s proposal.

Greater Jamaica President Carlisle Towery touted the private investment as a long-awaited payoff for the groundwork the nonprofit laid with its public partners.

“Able Hotels’ commitment to build this hotel is a major step in our long-term dream of seeing private investment augmenting Greater Jamaica Development Corp.’s public partnership with the MTA and the Port Authority in enhancing downtown Jamaica’s unique potential for transit-oriented development,” he said. “No other neighborhood in New York offers the convenience of a wide array of commercial and retail outlets, combined with subways, the Long Island Rail Road, buses and the AirTrain providing quick and easy access to John F. Kennedy International Airport just a 10-minute ride away.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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Reader Feedback

Rob from NY says:
Their right about the fabulous transit location, but they should not kid themselves that travelers will only be interested in getting to Midtown or Brooklyn.

Business travelers like myself want to be able to WALK out of the hotel and stroll around a walkable, friendly, and interesting neighborhood near my hotel. So the design of the hotel should feel like being on a city block in Manhattan, not setback from the street and surrounded by driveways like something found in Phoenix or Long Island.
Sept. 19, 2013, 9:31 am
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Not only will this be a coup for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation but a coup to the Jamaica area, which finally (and hopefully) this may be the move to spur more good development, cleanup the area and bring in more quality businesses. Let's face it Jamaica cannot go any lower to the bottom, it is already there, so there is no where to go but up. There is too much potential here to continually be wasted over and over again.

But if they do not cleanup the area and create good development, this place will just be a waste and sit, just like the retail space under the overpass, all that space (and money) has been sitting empty for a couple of years with the exception of the one space which recently has a god awful bus shuttle terminal to take people to the gambling resort (which goes against the funding for this space, it was to only be retail).

I still try to keep somewhat of an optimistic attitude because I do live here and want to see change. Remember though many areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn were bad areas that eventually turned around. This can still happen to Jamaica, but only with top notch leadership willing to stick their neck out, take action and follow through, which we have none of those types of leaders as of yet.

But you have to at least try something, otherwise your alternative is nothing, which solves nothing. Pretty much what our leaders are doing now, NOTHING.
http://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/
Sept. 19, 2013, Noon
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Not only will this be a coup for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation but a coup to the Jamaica area, which finally (and hopefully) this may be the move to spur more good development, cleanup the area and bring in more quality businesses. Let's face it Jamaica cannot go any lower to the bottom, it is already there, so there is no where to go but up. There is too much potential here to continually be wasted over and over again.

But if they do not cleanup the area and create good development, this place will just be a waste and sit, just like the retail space under the overpass, all that space (and money) has been sitting empty for a couple of years with the exception of the one space which recently has a god awful bus shuttle terminal to take people to the gambling resort (which goes against the funding for this space, it was to only be retail).

I still try to keep somewhat of an optimistic attitude because I do live here and want to see change. Remember though many areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn were bad areas that eventually turned around. This can still happen to Jamaica, but only with top notch leadership willing to stick their neck out, take action and follow through, which we have none of those types of leaders as of yet.

But you have to at least try something, otherwise your alternative is nothing, which solves nothing. Pretty much what our leaders are doing now, NOTHING.
http://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/
Sept. 19, 2013, Noon

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