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Affordable housing development project breaks ground in Jamaica

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A fully affordable housing development is being built in Jamaica.
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(From l. to r.) Community Board 12 Chairwoman Renee Hill, Patrol Borough South Ast. Chief David Barrere, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Omni co-Managing Dir. Maurice “Mo” Vaughn, NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett, and Omni co-Managing Directors Eugene Schneur and Robert Bennett break ground on an affordable housing complex in Jamaica.
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Queens Borough President Melinda Katz makes a speech at the groundbreaking of Archer Green Apartments.
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City Councilman I. Daneek Miller makes a speech about the new 380 affordable apartments coming to Jamaica.
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Approximately, 370,000 square-feet of this development site will become affordable housing.
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State Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman speaks about the affordable housing coming to Jamaica.
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Eugene Schneur, a co-Managing Director of OMNI, made a speech about his real estate company will help to develop affordable housing in Jamaica.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Jamaica to mark the start of construction on a 100 percent affordable housing and mixed-used development that will provide more than 380 apartment units, a supermarket and 300 permanent jobs to the southeast Queens neighborhood.

The Archer Green Apartments was a defunct housing project that was picked up by the Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a proposal by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s offices to work with residents, local stakeholders, businesses and city agencies to collaborate and work on ways in developing the southeast Queens neighborhood, according to nyc.gov.

During Katz’s Sept. 21 speech about transforming the former 168th Street parking garage into an affordable apartment complex, as well as a shopping center and supermarket, she thanked her Deputy President Melva Miller for the idea.

“She was the one for Jamaica NOW and came into the office one day and said we need to do something [to revitalize Jamaica] and partner with the [mayor’s] administra­tion,” said Katz.

The former New York City Police Department parking garage, which was located at 92-23 168th St., was underutilized, but will make way for the affordable housing units split between two towers on 370,000 square-feet of land, according to Shavone Williams, a spokeswoman for the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

“There is over 380 affordable housing units here, and 174 of them will be permanently affordable,” said Paula Carethers, the executive vice president of real estate for the Housing Development Corporation, who also spoke on behalf of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “Working with the EDC and the NYPD, we will create new parking facilities for them.”

According to Fred Abbate, the vice president of construction from Omni New York — the company responsible for developing the Archer Green Apartments — there will be 87 residential parking spots, 69 retail parking spots and 49 parking spots for the police department on the lower level of the development.

Approximately 15,000 square-feet of space will be used for a community facility and 68,800 square-feet will be set aside for retail and commercial space, most of which would go to Western Beef, a supermarket chain that will be providing most of the permanent jobs, according to Williams. The rest of the commercial space has not been confirmed as of yet.

Some of the community facility will be green space fit for residents to barbecue at, according to Abbate. According to the vice president of construction, Western Beef will be situated between the two towers where the apartment units will be.

The towers consist of a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, according to Williams.

The project will also create 350 construction jobs, according to EDC President and CEO James Patchett.

“Archer Green Apartments is a game-changing project that will help spur economic growth in the heart of downtown Jamaica,” said Patchett.

HDC put in $30 million for the units and received an additional $80 million volume cap from the federal government to get the project off the ground.

“That was a resource that was going to be taken away during the [federal] budget hearings in December [2017],” Carethers said regarding the $80 million in funds. “The Public Activity Volume Cap… is something that is allocated to every state to issue tax-exempt bonds, and the volume cap is what we use to issue our bonds, and the bonds go towards providing mortgages at low-interest rates for the projects.”

According to state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), the Archer Green Apartments was something that was in development from before he was in office in the City Council in 2002.

“Unfortunat­ely, under [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, they weren’t going to put in enough affordable [units]… to serve the community, and that is why it failed in two previous attempts,” said Comrie. “It would have been above market value and I couldn’t allow the last large-sized city-owned lot in our district to be above that.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Updated 11:44 am, November 20, 2018
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Reader feedback

Dwayne from Queens says:
The first part to this is that even without the building in the posted photo, Jamaica looks nothing like that and is factually congested, dirty, and crime-infested. The second part is whenever the term "affordable housing development project" or any of its parts is announced or displayed, you can betcha it translates to kicking out the low-income from their homes in land-grab schemes by grasping NY politicians and their accomplices for their elitist profiteering contributors. THIS is the main reason why 'suddenly' the NYC homeless pop has risen so alarmingly, the displacing of countless families and their children. The schemers wouldn't DARE to evict their band of elitist cohorts. #walkaway
Sept. 29, 7:06 am
Unaffordable from Queens says:
They mean unaffordable housing because the income requirements will probably be ridiculously high.
Sept. 29, 9:43 am
THINK from Queens says:
AND this is right behind the notorious huge polluting waste site, ROYAL WASTE, which has a bad record of safety and causes much illegal truck driving of their vehicles on residential streets as well as constant parking of foul smelling large municipal trucks that park illegally underneath the LIRR Underpass on the next block. Not too mention the awful smell that comes from that place especially during hot summers. So this will be in the backyard of residents who live in this building. AND do not count your elected officials to do anything about it, since they stayed quiet when this poisonous facility was dumped there years ago.
Sept. 29, 4:27 pm

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