By Sarah Trefethen
A development site across the street from the AirTrain station in Queens is available for sale through the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, according to a Request for Proposals issued Friday by the GJDC and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
The issuers are looking for a “catalytic project to revitalize downtown Jamaica,” according to Andrew Manshell, executive vice president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. Manshell said he hopes to see a full-service hotel and conference space, food service facilities, and possibly housing on the site.
The approximately 58,050 s/f site, on the southeast corner of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue, lies across from the JFK AirTrain Jamaica Terminal and the Long Island Railroad Jamaica Station.
The opportunity to develop ahotel catering to AirTrain passengers disembarking from JFK is just one attraction of the transportation-rich neighborhood, at a time when transportation-centered development is a hot trend, Manshell said.
“This is a site that has unmatched transportation resources at its doorstep. A mixed-use project at this site is just the kind of thing that is being spoken about by developers and urbanists around the country,” he said, adding later: “It’s a unique site because of the density of transportation infrastructure. Most places in New York City that have preexisting transit are pretty built-out.”
Zoning at the site allows for approximately 660,000 square feet of buildable area and permits a wide range of commercial and residential uses, according to the RFP.
In 2007, the Bloomburg administration rezoned 368 blocks in Jamaica to accommodate high-density, mixed used development.
According to the RFP, by 2016 the area will benefit from the construction of several major public infrastructure investments totaling nearly $85 million, creating new public spaces, infrastructure and retail to encourage further private investment.
The site is made up of 11 contiguous lots. The buildings on the lots contain first-floor retail, and the upper floors are empty, Manshell said.
Two current tenants possess long-term leases, according to the RFP. Duane Reade has a lease expiring in February, 2018, with an option to renew until February, 2023. The Temple of Restoration has a lease expiring in October, 2016, with an early termination clause beginning October 31, 2014. According to the RFP, Duane Reade is interested in leasing space in the new development.
A number of development incentives may be available, including New Markets Tax Credits, the Restore New York Grant program, and the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program.
“We’d be particularly pleased if it were a project that had some architectural distinction,” Manshell said. “It’s a very prominent site.”
Proposals are due by Oct. 3, 2012. The RFP is available at nycedc.com.