The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, which wants to extend Kennedy Airport's powerful economic influence to downtown Jamaica by stimulating development around the future AirTrain station, has created a new board to manage the area.
The new entity, the Jamaica Capital Corporation, will be dedicated to promoting JFK Corporate Square, GJDC's project to form a business district that will support the air travel industry at Kennedy Airport, said Tazewell Smith, GJDC's chairman.
Through Jamaica Capital Corporation, GJDC hopes to see the area around Sutphin Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue grow to include office, hotel, conference and retail spaces that would cater to both the passengers using Kennedy Airport and the air travel industry professionals, including flight and airport staff.
"The [new corporation] will develop JFK Corporate Square as an attractive district that will accommodate a cluster of economic activities and uses that will make Jamaica a destination place, not just a transfer station, and provide local benefits and opportunities for the local stakeholders," Smith said.
Dave Graham, a former director of the GJDC and chief executive officer of the Jamaica Water Supply Company, was selected to chair the Jamaica Capital Corporation's board, and will also serve as its president and CEO, Smith said. Four other board members have been appointed from Jamaica's business community.
"AirTrain and its Jamaica Station will open a new phase in the economic development of Jamaica," Graham said. "The board of Greater Jamaica Development believed it was appropriate that a separate organization be created to focus on assuring that all of the aspects of the vision for the area are properly addressed and advanced as expeditiously as possible, and that AirTrain lives up to its full potential for the community."
The AirTrain, which will connect downtown Jamaica to Kennedy Airport, was scheduled to open this spring, but a fatal crash during a test run in September delayed the system's debut. Port Authority officials announced last month that the light-rail link may open in June.
Plans for the JFK Corporate Square area include a $90 million, 300,000-square-foot office structure across from the AirTrain station at Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue, Smith said. Last year Gov. George Pataki announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be a prime tenant in the office tower.
The Jamaica Capital Corporation will also direct other projects in the area, including a hotel, retail space and parking facilities, as well as additional office space.
"JCC's mandate is to ensure that the economic development at AirTrain's Jamaica Station benefits the public at large and the businesses and institutions in the area," Smith said. "It will work with all government agencies and the private sector to encourage economic growth, attract new businesses, improve traffic circulation, create open spaces, promote public conveniences and bring about a new image for the area."
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2003 Community News Group
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