Zara Realty is planning a mixed-income residential development in Jamaica, Queens.
The 218,000-square foot residential building, at 153-10 88th Avenue, will set aside 30 percent of its units as affordable. Construction of the nine-story, 223-unit building will be completed in 2022.
The apartment building will offer tenants a fitness center, recreational space, roof terrace, storage units and garage with valet parking. Solar arrays on the roof will provide green energy. The development will include space for a community facility on the ground floor.
Anthony Subraj and Amir Sobhraj, cousins and co-managing partners at Zara, said they will continue putting money into Jamaica, where the firm is based.
“Even as Covid-19 has devastated so many families in our community and caused an enormous crater in our local economy, we believe in Queens, we believe in the future of this neighborhood, where we grew up and where we work, and we are investing here for the long term,” said Sobhraj.
The firm, founded in 1982 by immigrants from Guyana, has amassed a portfolio of 2,500 rental apartments in Queens. In 2016 the company purchased a $21.1 million, 76-unit Elmhurst building and a six-building portfolio in Jamaica for $21.5 million.
Some of Zara’s Queens investments involve buying older buildings and fixing them up. Others are ground-up affordable housing projects.
The firm is not without challenges. In the early days of the pandemic, Zara’s tenants were among the first to announce an intention to withhold rent. According to tenant organizers, some remain on rent strike.
Zara is also fighting a lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general’s office alleging that the landlord charged excessive fees in 38 rent-stabilized buildings, targeting lower-income immigrant tenants.