Around a hundred people came out to celebrate the ground-breaking of The Crossing, a massive 26-story residential building, at Jamaica Station Tuesday.
The two-tower development at 148-10 Archer Ave. includes 669 affordable housing units, a communal area, retail space and a 187-spot parking garage for the Downtown Jamaica area.
This is the largest private investment in the downtown neighborhood and the construction of the 773,000 square-foot project will be completed in 2019.
Some of the people who presided over the ceremony included Greater Jamaica Development Corporation President & CEO Hope Knight, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), Councilman I. Daneek Miller, and BRP Companies Co-founder Meredith Marshall.
“This started over 4 1/2 years ago, when I met Justin [Rodgers] from the Greater Jamaica Development Gala, the night of Hurricane Sandy,” Marshall said. “Two other developers that were asked to invest rejected being a part of the project. “Why not Jamaica, why not now? This area is diverse economically, ethnically, and has everything that a developer will want.”
Marshall believes that he would not have gotten the project launched on time, within the budget, without the day-to-day work being done by Knight.
“Greater Jamaica did a new market tax credit execution using every tax credit known to man,” Marshall said.“We pushed this to the limit to make this job work.”
With additional help from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, through the vice president of Multi-Family Homes Initiatives within the New York States Homes and Community Renewal Department, $2.5 billion was secured for a five-year comprehensive plan in the 2018 budget of the state Legislature.
“Specifically here at The Crossing each year it will be provided $5 million in local housing program funding and $750,000 in annual state loans and housing funds,” said Jason Pearson, vice president of HCR.
Fighting to keep the project affordable were Meeks and Miller.
“This is the largest African-American investment in the country ever, and it’s only the beginning,” Miller said of BRP Companies and its co-founder Marshall, whose team invested $407 million into the project.
“We’ve proved that while others fled, we’ve stayed here and sustained this community,” Miller said. “There will be a reward for that. We will make sure that the next generation will have an opportunity to grow. I’m very excited for our community to see these faces and these shovels going into the ground and seeing that it comes from within.”
Together, Meeks through the federal government and Miller by securing Title 11 Fair Housing protection were able to make sure that 224 of the units will remain affordable forever.
“All in all, this signifies a great renaissance and that great things are happening in Jamaica,” said Miller.
Also aiding in this project were Goldman Sachs representative Margaret Anadu, Steve Smith and Andy Cohen of BRP, Rev. Floyd Flake of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, state Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park), Community Board 12 Chair Adrienne Adams, and NYCHPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose