Jamaica on the brink of real estate renaissance

Queens neighborhood expecting major growth in the coming years

Homes in Jamaica, Queens
Homes in Jamaica, Queens

Jamaica, the south-central Queens neighborhood, is poised to benefit from the delayed effects of zoning rules passed back in 2007. 

Locals had expected to see new growth shortly after the neighborhood was rezoned, but those hopes were dashed when the real estate market collapsed. But now, with the market back on its feet, development is beginning to gather steam.

For instance, a 500-unit apartment building, fresh retail space and a 200-room hotel are all currently rising in Jamaica, thanks to BRP Development, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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“I wish we had made more progress since 2007, when the zoning allowed it, but it’s exciting to envisage what can happen,” Carlisle Towery, president of the nonprofit Greater Jamaica Economic Development Corp., told the Journal.

Rising prices in Brooklyn and Long Island City are also benefitting the long-blighted neighborhood. The median sale price in Jamaica was 30 percent below the Queens median of $333,000 between March and May 2014, according to data from Trulia. That level of affordability, the Journal reports, is drawing first-time buyers and investors.

“Jamaica is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Queens and it has improved quite a lot over the past 20 to 25 years,” Gregory Scotidas, a broker in the area, told the Journal. [WSJ]Christopher Cameron