Greater Jamaica Founder Dies At 92

BY TRONE DOWD

Vincent Albanese, the founder of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, died in late May. He was 92 years old.

Albanese, an attorney turned real estate mogul, started his career at his own law firm, Albanese and Albanese, alongside his brother in Garden City in 1949. Following a stint in the U.S. Navy, he attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut before attending law school at St. John’s University in Queens.

The Albanese duo focused primarily on real estate law and commercial litigation. Despite his ambitious career path, Albanese had different plans. He took an interest in development and city planning and founded the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation in 1967. Focused on the revitalization of the Jamaica area, Albanese made a name for himself in the World’s Borough. During this time, he would also serve as president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.

Albanese would eventually leave his post at Greater Jamaica and found his own real estate firm, The Albanese Organization. The organization would focus primarily on environmentally friendly commercial and residential developments that “enhance the community in which they are located.”

Although his time working in the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation was brief, Albanese found himself invested in the neighborhood of Jamaica, visiting and staying involved in the many changes that occurred in the region over the years. His colleagues and successors spoke glowingly of him.

“He was a gentleman, above all else,” former Greater Jamaica Development Corporation board chairman Lamont Baily said. “He was knowledgeable, always made great suggestions and was a great lawyer on top of that.”

Hope Knight, the current CEO of the development corporation, told the PRESS of Southeast Queens that up until recent months, Albanese was still “very committed to the revitalization of Downtown Jamaica,” attending meetings as recent as April 2016.

“He was a bundle of energy, who was very excited about Jamaica and its impending revitalization, and a tremendous cheerleader,” Knight said.

Knight said that it was Albanese’s vision for the Southeast Queens area that drove the organization throughout the decades.

“The ability to attract more residential housing, more diverse and extensive retail and creating an environment where commercial businesses can thrive,” she said. “This was his vision. He was a very smart man with tremendous class.”

Reach reporter Trone Dowd via email at tdowd@queenspress.com.

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