Blumenfeld Development Group helped herald in a new era for Jamaica this week with the signing of a deal to bring the first department store to the area in 35 years.
Once the home of three department stores — the first Macy’s outside Manhattan and a Mays and Gertz stores — downtown Jamaica was once the retail hub of post-war Queens, Nassau and Brooklyn.
Years of economic decline saw the big retailers take flight. But now, local officials say, the area has turned a corner and the return of a big format new department store by one of the region’s foremost retail developers, is proof.
“Thanks in no small part to Greater Jamaica, the Downtown has once again become a vital center of retail, civic institutions and culture,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks, who said he put BDG president and CEO Ed Blumenfeld together with Greater Jamaica president Carlisle Towery to develop the retail plan.
The deal signed this week permits Blumenfeld to build a large-format retail structure on a parking lot now owned by Greater Jamaica’s parking affiliate.
The development will be the only space downtown with the capacity to accommodate a modern big box retailer — 160,000 s/f — and will create a 500-plus capacity parking garage.
The two projects will cost $50 million and employ 180 people in their construction and create 400 permanent jobs.
“There is enormous economic potential in the Jamaica business district and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate in the community’s growth,” said Blumenfeld, whose company developed the East River Plaza in Manhattan and Bulova Corporate Center in Queens
“We share the vision of Congressman Meeks and the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation in creating jobs, investment and renewed confidence in the future.”
The plans will now go through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP). In the meantime, Blumfeld is seeking an anchor tenant for the store.