BY TRONE DOWD
The Regional Plan Association (RPA), a planning and research organization based out of New York City, highlighted Jamaica’s ongoing redevelopment plans in a recently published report.
Released last month, the 400-page report, titled the “Fourth Regional Plan,” takes a look at metropolitan areas throughout the New York region and provides feedback on how to improve certain aspects of a given neighborhood.
One of the nine areas on which the RPA focused was Jamaica. The organization wrote glowingly of the work being completed by the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) and local officials.
“As a regional downtown, Jamaica has much to offer,” the report said. “It is a cultural hub with theaters and dining options as well as shopping that attracts residents and visitors from both the region and around the world. Traveling on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) from Jamaica to downtown Brooklyn is fast and easy with a new regional rail service that helps many city employees get to work. New hotels attract international travelers from JFK [Airport], who prefer Jamaica’s reasonable rates to those of the more expensive Manhattan.”
Making note of the potential for the neighborhood, the RPA offered three suggestions for Jamaica as development continues, all of which revolved around taking advantage of its proximity to the nation’s busiest airport.
“Downtown Jamaica should be redeveloped in tandem with the airport,” the report noted. “In particular, hotels and other hospitality services should be located downtown, preserving on-airport capacity for terminals, runways and freight facilities.”
The report also mentioned that expanded job opportunities and economic growth in Downtown Jamaica could happen in sync with the development of John F. Kennedy International Airport. Lastly, the report saw Jamaica as the key to New York City’s plan for diversified job growth.
Hope Knight, the president and CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, said that she was happy to take the feedback into account.
“RPA’s recommendations dovetail with GJDC’s mission and provides validation from a highly respected organization that our economic development efforts with the public and private sectors are headed in the right direction,” Knight said.
So far, the GJDC has garnered nearly $1 billion in public and private funds for the redevelopment of Jamaica over the past 10 years. The funds have gone towards creating more than 5.7 million square feet of new space for hotels, housing and retail.
Over the past two years, the city has taken a vested interest in southeast Queens. In 2015, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz introduced her “Jamaica Now” Action Plan, which was co-signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. In 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo awarded Jamaica $10 million via his Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Reach Trone Dowd via email at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.