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JetBlue HQ to stay in Queens with move to LIC

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JetBlue Airways, founded in Queens a decade ago, is moving just westward to Long Island City — not to Florida.

“New York and JetBlue are made for each other,” said Dave Barger, chief executive officer of the airline at a news conference in the Blue Room of City Hall Monday.

But it was not always necessarily so. JetBlue’s higher-ups had spent a year trying to decide whether to leave its corporate offices in New York City for Orlando, Fla.

JetBlue plans to move its employees, in Forest Hills, into 200,000 square feet of refurbished office space in the historic Brewster building in the Queens Plaza section of Long Island City.

New York City had offered as an incentive a $3 million investment in JetBlue’s terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport and JetBlue, the largest airline at JFK, had said it would provide 200 new jobs over the next five years.

Borough President Helen Marshall, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who represents the district that includes the area chosen by JetBlue, all hailed the decision.

“JetBlue’s decision will bring more than 800 jobs to our community and cement Long Island City as a growing business center of the city,” Van Bramer said.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

Updated 5:53 pm, October 10, 2011
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