Permits Filed: 167-14 Hillside Avenue, Jamaica

167-14 Hillside Avenue jamaica gmaps167-14 Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, image via Google Maps

As the city rolls out its latest plan to revitalize Jamaica, Queens, new building applications have been filed for a four-story commercial and community facility building at 167-14 Hillside Avenue, in the heart of downtown Jamaica.

Commercial space will occupy 8,213 square feet on the first and second floors. The third and fourth floors will house a community facility—likely medical offices, or possibly a day care—adding up to roughly 6,386 square feet. The whole project will encompass 14,600 square feet—several thousand short of the site’s full development potential, which tops out at 21,000 square feet before any zoning bonuses. 

The owner is Yuval Jacob, whose family has owned the property, a parking lot, since the early ’80s. Vijay Kumar of AZ Professional Engineering applied for the permit, and told us that construction will begin next year.

What’s interesting is the property owner’s decision not to include any apartments, even after this part of Jamaica was upzoned to allow residential development as tall as 12 stories. New retail will certainly be a positive addition to downtown, but the area could use more new and affordable market-rate housing.

Unfortunately, the neighborhood’s housing market is still struggling, with thousands of homeowners sliding into foreclosure. We wonder if it’s difficult to secure financing for small residential projects in the area, since we rarely come across filings there for market-rate apartment buildings. (This development at 190-11 Hillside Avenue appears to be a notable exception.)

Everything could improve with the construction of a 580-unit luxury complex called the Crossing at Jamaica Station, as well as the redevelopment of the 168th Street NYPD garage into affordable housing and retail. But for now, the neighborhood is still waiting for better economic growth.

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