Jamaica, NY, the #1 neighborhood in New York City (WSJ) and the heart and soul of Queens, was selected as the winner again of a competitive process by the state's New York City Regional Economic Development Council and is the recipient of a $10 million award. The state funding aims to revitalize the neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity. Over the past three years private sector investment exceeded $500 million in Jamaica and over $200 million is being invested in the community under the Jamaica Now Action Plan. This commitment from the state continues to drive momentum for the rejuvenation of a vibrant downtown Jamaica.
The award includes up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local committee to draft a Strategic Investment Plan to identify specific economic development, transportation, and housing projects. The grant is part of a $100 million effort to improve the urban vitality of city centers across the state. Plans will be completed by early 2017.
The Jamaica Center Business Improvement District (BID) is working with the businesses downtown, driving the transformation of Jamaica as a premier destination for commerce, culture and strong community. The BID and businesses on Jamaica Avenue applaud Governor Cuomo's commitment to investing in Jamaica.
"Downtown neighborhoods are the heartbeat of communities across the state and investing in their revitalization is key to generating growth statewide," Governor Cuomo said. "...we are transforming [Jamaica] into a magnet for opportunity that will continue to attract private investment and generate economic activity for generations to come. This is the beginning of a new chapter in Jamaica's economic success story and I look forward to seeing this vibrant core of Queens move forward."
Jamaica Center BID Board President Michael Hirschhorn said, "We are grateful for the visionary leadership of Governor Cuomo and his recognition of all of the hard work and great people of Jamaica, Queens... where I am proud to have served as Board President of Jamaica Center for over 10 years. This award is an additional shot in the arm to a downtown already on the rise and ripe for investment. Jamaica has a bright future ahead."
Old Navy store manager Charles Brown remarked that, "Downtown Jamaica has so many opportunities already, but it has the potential to become one of the most prominent and desirable destinations in New York City."
General Manager of the newly remodeled Cafe Energy, Tyler Thomas, concurs that, "Downtown Jamaica's potential is limitless." The cafe together with neighbor Ricon Salvadoreno, a restaurant that has been in downtown Jamaica for 36 years, contracted with one of the 16 hotel new hotels coming to Jamaica to provide their room service 24 hours and 7 days a week. They will have tablets in all 370 rooms, from which guests could order their food directly from the restaurants.
In this era, leveraging technology is paramount to downtown revitalization. "The Jamaica BID is thrilled about this investment in our community. Our vision is to leverage some of these funds in long-term economic growth initiatives, such as digital access and literacy for our businesses and residents. We look forward to sharing our goals around Jamaica, Queens' digital evolution with the community this fall." said Rhonda Binda, Executive Director of the BID.
The Jamaica Center BID thanks the Governor for his leadership in giving Jamaica, Queens and downtown districts a boost, which are key to economic vitality all across the state of New York. The BID continues to support and promote its business community to attract more public and private investment, creating a lasting impact whereby our community will continue to flourish.
About Jamaica Center Business Improvement District
Founded in 1979, the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District promotes downtown Jamaica as a premier destination, to shop, live, work, play. For more information, please visit www.jamaicacenter.org.