The Real Deal New York

Neglected Jamaica site bought with taxpayer funds from Port Authority

January 09, 2012 01:30PM

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spent $2.7 million of taxpayer money for a site in Jamaica, Queens where a corporate park was supposed to rise before the recession. Alas, the site is still an abandoned lot, and no money has been returned, the New York Post reported.

The authority gave the money to the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. in 2004 to buy the 6,000-square-foot building as part of a bid to revitalize the area, with hopes that a large tenant such as JetBlue Airlines would move into a corporate complex Greater Jamaica Development Corp. planned. The site was promoted as JFK Corporate Square by the non-profit, but no development was ever built. The airline opted to move its offices to Long Island City last year.

According to the terms of the deal, the Port Authority was supposed to get a refund or take ownership of the building if nothing was built before the end of 2008. Greater Jamaica Development Corp. spent about $20,000 renovating the property, the Post said, and also occasionally uses it for meetings.

“We’ve all been working together. We’ve fully adhered to our agreement with [the Port Authority], and they have invested wisely,” said Carlisle Towery, president of the development corporation. He said plans for a mixed-use development, including a hotel, are underway.

The Port Authority, which raised fares at six bridge crossings in the five boroughs by $4 this summer, did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment. [Post]