Downtown retail expert leaving job at Jamaica BID for Brooklyn

Katie Mirkin, the Jamaica Center BID's outgoing director of retail and economic development, says projects like United American's renovation on Jamaica Avenue will reshape the neighborhood.
TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

The woman in charge of building buzz for downtown Jamaica’s retail strip is moving on to Brooklyn, where her expertise will help two business districts work together.

Katie Mirkin is leaving her job as director of retail and economic development at the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District to take a position as the deputy executive director of the team that will be creating a joint-management structure for the Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue BIDs in central Brooklyn.

“I’ll be taking all I’ve been doing here and applying it there,” said Mirkin, who first started working in downtown Jamaica two years ago as a consultant studying shopping preferences in the neighborhood.

Mirkin’s tenure in downtown Jamaica coincided with a time of transition for the area that was once a major retail destination for Queens and Long Island, but has been left with fewer choices by decades of disinvestment.

Under her direction the BID’s studies found there is $2.5 billion in unmet demand for full-service restaurants, clothing stores and home furnishing outlets — and armed with this information, Mirkin set out to pair Jamaica Avenue’s property owners with potential tenants.

Events like Jamaica Revealed held in December had the neighborhood’s three BIDs, city agencies, the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and members of the business and arts communities joined in the effort to promote the area to potential restaurateurs.

“I’m really proud of the way that the public and private organizations have come together to collaborate on initiatives that serve the community,” Mirkin said.

As the head of the BID’s retail efforts, Mirkin worked with property owners to show their sites off to potential tenants, and she said she has hopes that the district will be able to bring in a few big names.

Last year the developer United American, which brought an H&M store to a site it revamped in downtown Brooklyn, assembled three properties along a key strip of Jamaica Avenue, including the landmarked Jamaica Savings Bank, and Mirkin said the developer is in talks with the likes of a TJ Maxx or Raymour & Flannigan to fulfill shoppers’ needs.

Private investment has lured a trendy barbecue restaurant to the area and the GJDC has spurred several retail, residential and hotel developments that promise to transform the neighborhood in the coming years.

Mirkin said the successes so far have come from strong collaboration with all the interested parties — a key lesson she will bring with her as she heads to Brooklyn.

“It takes a lot of time to listen to everybody,” she said. “The last thing you want to do is not follow through on the listening.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 12:00 am, March 17, 2014
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.


Do you know an immigrant in Queens who has made an impact on the community? Nominate a person who has made a difference for the 2018 Queens Ambassador Awards.
Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!