In Jamaica, once Queens’s pre-eminent downtown, the highest demand for housing is just north and east of downtown Jamaica. Rezonings in the 2000s failed to recognize this, instead downzoning these residential neighborhoods on the periphery of downtown while upzoning the downtown itself.
Builders are still not keen on the heart of downtown Jamaica, which has a lot of foot traffic, retail and transit, but little appetite for market-rate residential development, which is necessarily at the higher end of any submarket. Developers are, however, willing to build on the edges of the area that planners have designated for growth – in the case of 90-31 171st Street, a new building planned for Jamaica, right up to the line of where development is supposed to end, at 171st Street.
There, a developer picked up a single-family lot in 2008 for $816,000, and their architect has filed for a new building permit on the site, which would be home to a seven-story, 12-unit apartment building, according to an application submitted to the DOB earlier today.
The permit was filed by Maspeth-based Architects Studio on behalf of developer Kingston Property, with Mizra Rahman listed as a principal. The site is actually directly across the street from No. 90-34, where Architects Studio is designing another building for a different developer.
The apartments at No. 90-31 would be slightly larger than No. 90-34’s, with just 12 units divided across 13,000 square feet of net residential space, for roomy 1,100-square foot apartment size on average. The building would include a single garage parking spot, and the total construction area would reach nearly 20,000 square feet on the 40-foot-wide lot.
If the city wants to see more market-rate development around Jamaica – and given the low price points, with one builder telling YIMBY they were looking to rent brand new one-bedrooms for just $1,600, anyone concerned about affordability should want to see growth here – they’re going to have to listen to the market and allow for more of this sort of development farther east of 171st Street.
Much as planners would like to see more development in the heart of downtown Jamaica, based on the permit filings we’re seeing, the real potential is on the margins.
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