Kevin Alexander, executive director of the Rockaway Revitalization and Development Corporation, Gayle Baron, president of the Long Island City Business Development Corporation, Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood LDC/Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, Claire Schulman, chief executive and president of the Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Development corporation and Carlisle Towery, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, made up a panel that highlighted the various construction projects that residents around the borough would soon benefit from.
Alexander highlighted improvements of the downtown Far Rockaway area with a newly revamped downtown area. A newly constructed A train Mott Avenue station would connect the downtown area shopping district to transportation.
“What we’re trying to do is really create a more accessible, safe, visually appealing walkway from the newly created subway station to the heart of the downtown shopping area,” he said. “We’re very excited about this project because it also connects all forms of transportation like the bus terminal.”
The area will have trees, enhanced lighting, seating areas and an area to play chess or checkers. “It’s a way to encourage people to come and not just shop, but encourage people to also enjoy the downtown Far Rockaway area,” Alexander added.
The Rockaways will also see 2,300 new units of housing in the central portion of the Rockaways with 1,100 units of condominiums. Approximately 365 have been completed already, and the roughly 900 units of two-family housing are in the works.
Baron noted some of the LICBDC’s efforts to transform the neighborhood. New businesses and hotels are moving to the area while thousands of new apartments are under construction in Long Island City.
“Queens Plaza is receiving much-needed attention,” Baron said. Next month 3,000 employees from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will begin arriving in a new 21-story headquarters building in the plaza, which is replacing an old municipal parking garage.
An $80 million streetscape project in front of the building is near completion. New landscaped sidewalks with benches and light fixtures have been installed along Jackson Avenue.
A new half-acre park at the intersection of Northern and Queens boulevards will be opened in May. A new off-street bicycle path will also lead from the Queens Borough Bridge to both boulevards.
“It’s really going to be exciting and transformative,” she said.
In Ridgewood, Renz spoke of a major development where the MTA invested over $60 million to renovate the Myrtle and Wyckoff transit hub at the Brooklyn border. The money will go to service the M and L line as well as six bus lines.
The new state-of-the-art facility replaces the one that was built in the 1920s, and has an atrium and a rooftop mosaic showcasing the nearby neighborhoods.
“This is an important part of our community because it sits on the end of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, and we are hopeful that this area will get more transit-oriented development,” Renz said.
Former borough president Claire Schulman promoted the new developments in downtown Flushing. She highlighted a project on College Point Boulevard that stretches from 32nd Avenue to Fowler Avenue that has a construction timetable of one year. It will include pedestrian safety islands running down the boulevard, and trees will be planted on the sidewalks by the Parks Department to further enhance the area.
Towery spoke of Jamaica’s new developments, like the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, the Air Train terminal and new hotels, which although are not full-service, add to the improvement of the neighborhood.