Tag Archives: jamaica

Developing Queens: A wave of new retail coming


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

CBRE is a global real estate services company, which has offices in Queens and Long Island that service the borough. The firm focuses on commercial real estate. CBRE First Vice President Dean Rosenzweig and Associate Jeremy Scholder talked with Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre about the changing landscape of the Queens retail market.

La Guerre: Queens has been having a big residential boom in certain markets over the past couple of years. Have you seen a pickup in retail with this boom?

Rosenzweig: The smaller businesses, the moms and pops, when we have a listing or when we are on the search for a client for a site—the smaller guys have definitely been seeking out those areas, like Long Island City. The nationals are starting to poke around. We are doing tours with our national clients in Long Island City, for example, but the nationals aren’t there yet. They’re coming and that will take retail in those areas to the next level.

La Guerre: So if you wanted to go shopping to big-box retailers you wouldn’t be able to in LIC yet, but very soon.

Rosenzweig: Or even smaller footprint national retailers, like you don’t see Starbucks there yet. Are they coming? Yeah. Are they looking around? Absolutely. Will they be there? Probably in a year or a year and a half from now. You don’t even see the national banks on Vernon [Boulevard] right? That’s all coming. The first stage was the developers taking advantage of the rezoning and building the huge amount of residential that’s already built and the huge amount of residential that are in the works. Those units are going to fill up, and people that they are going to bring are going to need services.

Scholder: They are still waiting for the area to hit critical mass. They are waiting for all these new buildings to come to fruition at the same time so they can really feel the impact.

Rosenzweig: You learn over time that retailers have a herd mentality. When one national retailer comes in and then a second one — it doesn’t even necessarily have to be all in the same category— but when a couple of nationals come in, that’s when the rest will take the plunge. And it hasn’t hit that point yet.

La Guerre: So you’re saying eventually the nationals will be popping up all over and together?

Rosenzweig: They are going to realize what the residential developers and the residents that have moved into their projects have — great proximity to Manhattan, incredible mass transit, and the people that are coming in have a lot of disposable income.

La Guerre: Is Queens a destination for trendy stores now, like Manhattan or Brooklyn?

Scholder: Obviously, there is a growing young demographic in some neighborhoods. That’s absolutely the case in Long Island City. Astoria has been another growing market. There is this tremendous basis of nightlife, restaurant scene, arts in Astoria, and some of these trendier places are starting to move in as well.

La Guerre: What are some areas that you expect retail to transform that haven’t been talked about as much? Where are your sleeper neighborhoods?

Rosenzweig: Archer Avenue in Jamaica. You’re going to see some opportunities get created for larger big-box retailers, so it’s not going to just be Sutphin [Boulevard] as it has been or Jamaica Avenue. I think Archer is going to evolve as well. Another area is Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood. The infrastructure has always been there — mass transit, buses, surrounding residential — but I think you are going to see as leases come up and expire a lot of the current tenants may not be quite right for the area anymore. I think it’s going to come on pretty strong, pretty soon.

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$1.2M to reconstruct park in Jamaica


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Captain Tilly Park will be getting a face-lift thanks to new funding proposed by the City Council.

The Parks Department broke ground this week to help clean up the park. Under the $1.2 million project, crews will remove invasive plants in the northern half of the park and replant with native ones that will help to combat the erosion of the area. Along with the plantings, pathways will be repaved and their drainage system will be improved.

“The first phase of renovation will increase the biodiversity and ecological richness of Captain Tilly Playground, while also addressing the park’s drainage and erosion issues,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “We are thankful for the City Council’s support of this important work and look forward to opening a greener and greater park.”

The first round of renovations, which include the projects above, is expected to take about a year to complete.

The second round of renovations will address the plaza area and surrounding landscape near the Tilly memorial. The Parks Department said they will add new asphalt pathways, fencing, granite pavement, benches, drainage, lighting and landscaping.

This portion of the project is expected to start in the fall of 2015 and take about a year to complete.

“I’m pleased to see the beginning of these renovations to Captain Tilly Park,” Councilman Rory I. Lancman said. “Properly removing and replacing the invasive plant species and preventing erosion into Goose Pond is the foundation for a lively, healthy park.”

Army Capt. George Tilly, the son of a prominent Jamaica family, died in the Philippines in 1899 when U.S. forces were fighting Filipino rebels for control of the colony, which was among the territories Spain ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War. A monument to the heroes of the Spanish-American War was erected in the park in 1941.

The park, once used to raise ducks and geese, is located between Gothic Drive and Highland Avenue, west of 164th Street.

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Arrest made in 2012 Queens murder of Long Island man


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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An arrest has been made more than two years after the shooting death of a 22-year-old Long Island man in Jamaica, police said.

Christian Euton was gunned down at 156th Street and 111th Avenue just after 11 p.m. on June 13, 2012, cops said.

The Valley Stream resident and LaGuardia Community College student had gotten out of his car to check for damage after running over a pothole when he was shot, relatives and police told Newsday at the time. His brother, who was in the car, told family that he saw two groups arguing nearby. One man in the group opened fire, and his brother was struck twice in the torso.

Lamell Ford, 33, of Jamaica, has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in Euton’s death, police said.

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Jamaica man accused of selling weapons, drugs, stolen vehicles through Craigslist


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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A Jamaica man has been indicted for selling $500,000 in stolen vehicles and auto parts as well as weapons and drugs through Craigslist, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The accused, Conrad Hall, 43, “allegedly used the Craigslist website to initially sell stolen auto parts before his criminal activity brazenly escalated and he began to sell luxury automobiles and motorcycles that had been stolen, as well as weapons — including a 9mm Glock and a .357 Magnum — and approximately five pounds of marijuana,” Brown said. Authorities believe that Hall also scammed insurance companies with the help of the owners of the stolen vehicles.

Hall was allegedly working with three others — Denise Mboumi from Brooklyn, Shane Carter, of  Queens, and Eboni Davis, a Bronx resident — who reported their cars as being stolen to their insurance companies and received cash payouts  when they had actually sold their cars through Hall. All three were charged with third-degree insurance fraud and first-degree falsifying business records.

Hall was indicted along with Jermaine Edwards of Queens for selling a stolen 2010 Honda CRV, and with Roger Haye, of Long Island, and Queens resident Carlton Young for selling marijuana.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Hall was awaiting arraignment on a total of seven indictments charging him with criminal possession of stolen property, insurance fraud, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of marijuana, criminal sale of marijuana and other charges. If convicted of all charges, he could be sentenced to more than 200 years in prison.

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Teen charged in deadly Jamaica home invasion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in a botched Jamaica home invasion that left one man dead and another injured, police said.

Prakash Churaman has been charged with murder, attempted murder and burglary in the fatal Dec. 5 shooting, cops said.

Churaman entered the 144th Street home of 21-year-old Taquane Clark, an alleged acquaintance, with at least one other person with the intent to rob the place at about 6 p.m., according to police. But something apparently went wrong when Clark was shot in the head and a 27-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the torso and right leg.

Clark was pronounced dead at the scene and the other victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Charges are pending against a second person who was hospitalized after being injured in the home invasion, cops said. Police are still investigating whether others were involved.

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Large downtown Jamaica development site listing for $24M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CPEX   

A huge development site a block away from the downtown Jamaica transportation hub is selling for $24 million.

The 35,000-square-foot site, which comprises a few lots from 147-07 to 147-37 on 94th Avenue, allows up to 420,000 buildable square feet, according to real estate firm CPEX, which is marketing the site.

World Wide Food Products, a longtime seafood company, has been at the property since 1975, according to DNAinfo.

Downtown Jamaica has been the talk of much major development recently. Last year, officials announced construction of a 210-room, 24-story hotel nearby the LIRR and AirTrain station at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd.

Earlier this year, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit that has been working to transform the neighborhood, announced the development of a $225 mixed-use, 29-story residential and commercial tower on the site it owns at 93-01 Sutphin Blvd.

In October, a 90,000-square-foot building and parking garage at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. traded hands for $22 million. It has 719,736 square feet of buildable space.

Also, nearby York College, which is located across from the building and parking garage, hopes to help usher in development and new businesses as a START-UP NY site, and is offering new businesses about 3.5 acres of land on-campus.

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Suspect wanted for forcibly touching 12-year-old in Jamaica


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect they say forcibly touched a 12-year-old girl as she walked down the street in Jamaica on Saturday night.

The victim was walking near 195th Street and Hillside Avenue about 8 p.m. when the suspect walked up behind her, pulled her toward him and made a comment about her body, cops said.

The girl was able to pull away from the man and flee. There were no reported injuries.

The suspected is described as a light skinned man and about 20 years old.

Police have released a surveillance video of the suspect before the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Shooting at Jamaica home leaves one dead, one injured


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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One man was shot dead and a second was injured after a group of masked men forced themselves into a home in Jamaica Friday night, police and reports said.

Police found 21-year-old Taquane Clark with a gunshot wound to the head and another victim with a gunshot wound to the torso and right leg inside Clark’s home on 144th Street about 5:50 p.m., cops said.

Clark was pronounced dead at the scene and the other victim, a 27-year-old man, was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Police are looking for three men who forced their way into Clark’s apartment while wearing black masks, according to the New York Daily News. Surveillance footage is also being examined.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is still ongoing.

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Professional boxer arrested for brutal killing of Jamaica woman


| slicata@queenscourier.com

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A professional boxer and former Golden Gloves champ was arrested Wednesday night and charged with stabbing and beating his ex-girlfriend to death near her Jamaica home two days earlier, police said.

Trevis Hall, 28, was charged with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the brutal slaying of Margarita Rivera, 31, a mother of two, police said.

Rivera was found fatally injured on Monday at about 2:30 p.m. in front of 107-22 Watson Place, just down the street from her residence, authorities said.

She had been stabbed several times in the head and chest, police said, and had also been beaten in the head, according to a witness, who told cops someone had struck Rivera with a pipe. Both weapons were recovered by police at the scene.

Rivera was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Hall, a native of Guyana, was a 2009 Golden Gloves champ. He’s boxed in eight pro matches since 2010 and as recently as Sept. 20 of this year.

According to published reports, Hall, who had recently split with Rivera, was found by cops behind a dumpster, unconscious and intoxicated about 10 miles away from the murder scene. He was also taken to Jamiaca Hospital, where he was questioned by detectives.

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Jamaica of the future imagined by residents


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Imagine Jamaica with more affordable housing, better transportation and more, higher-paying localized jobs.

That was the vision put forward for the neighborhood when more than 100 residents and community advocates attended the city-run Jamaica Planning Initiative meeting this past weekend.

“We’ve been talking to ourselves for too long in this community,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “We care about the future and are so excited for this plan going forward.”

With so much change having hit the neighborhood already, the city came up with the idea of meeting with local residents to find out what they want in the future. The Jamaica Planning Initiative was a community workshop that broke up residents in attendance into four small groups: 1) transportation, public space and urban design, 2) housing and commercial development, 3) Jamaica identity, branding and marketing and 4) Jamaica jobs. Residents chose the issue that they felt was most pertinent.

They focused on the study area east of the Van Wyck Expressway to Farmers Boulevard and north of Linden Boulevard to Union Turnpike.

Topics discussed were plans for more affordable housing units, finding safer ways for pedestrians to cross streets, creating a localized job market for residents in the community, upgrading small business opportunities and bringing better transportation to the neighborhood.

One issue that was brought up by residents was the concern for more affordable housing.

“We need affordable places for people to live that don’t make much money,” one resident said in a focus group. “That is where the money should be invested.”

At this point, the city agencies working on the project, which include the DOT, Regional Plan Association, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the NYC Small Business Service among local elects, were looking for community feedback so they can move along to the next phase, which is the Jamaica Action Plan. It is the final step before actual implementation.

“The Jamaica Action Plan will incorporate your crucial feedback on topics of focus and opportunity,” said Cali Williams, vice president of the NYC EDC. “Based on today’s charrette sessions, the city will release a set of realistic projects and programs to improve and enliven the experience of Jamaica.”

The workshop turned out to be a major success for all parties.

Regarding the next step, which is the implantation process, the projects will be identified as short-, medium- and long-term proposals. Some of the short-term projects will begin “right away,” according to the EDC, and they and local elects are looking for the continued support of the neighborhood.

“Queens is the diamond of all boroughs,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said. “But we can’t have the greatness we are unless everybody participates in the building of our community.”

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Luxury penthouse building planned for Jamaica Estates


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of TCX Development

A new luxury penthouse building is coming to Jamaica Estates, further suggesting a change in investors’ attitudes toward the emerging market around the neighborhood.

Great Neck-based TCX Development is constructing the building, which will be located at 177-30 Wexford Terrace, a block away from the F train.

The group is also behind a seven-story rental building with a penthouse, which is being constructed at nearby 190-11 Hillside Ave.

The Wexford Terrace building will feature a rooftop terrace on top of eight stories with studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The exterior of the building will boast black brick and white panels.

There will be 68 total apartments, a 9,500-square-foot community facility space for residents and 47 parking spaces.

Prices at the residence building will start at $1,550 per month for studios, $1,750 for one-bedroom apartments and $2,200 for two-bedrooms, according to a representative from the firm.

The top two floors will have 10 penthouse units, which will start at $2,600.

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Queens basketball coach charged after lewd video chats with teen


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A Queens basketball coach has been charged with child pornography possession after a 15-year-old he coached claimed they had lewd video chats, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Robert Walker, 42, who coaches three Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams and regularly conducts basketball workouts with teenage boys, communicated with the boy in April through ooVoo, a video chat and instant messaging application, according to Brown. He allegedly convinced the teen to not only pose naked via video, but also to send naked pictures of himself.

A search of Walker’s Jamaica home found a video on his computer of the 15-year-old victim posing naked, prosecutors said.

The chats came to light after the victim told his parent, who then contacted police.

Following his arrest, Walker allegedly admitted to engaging in inappropriate activity with other boys under the age of 16 during his basketball workouts. He said he would have them remove their clothing, then would take pictures and videos, including some of the boys masturbating, according to Brown.

As of Tuesday night, Walker was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of use of a child in a sexual performance, disseminating indecent material to minors, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Any other individuals who believe they may have also been victimized by Walker should call the 105th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-776-9252.

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Real estate firm helps give home to Queens family


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Urban Compass

Real estate firm Urban Compass is donating money — and time — so that a Queens family can have a home of their own.

The company has pledged $20,000 to Habitat for Humanity New York City to renovate a vacant Jamaica home, which will be purchased by a family of four from Elmhurst that was selected through the organization’s affordable homeownership program.

Urban Compass employees will also volunteer 500 hours to help construct the home at 178-25 93rd Ave. So far the team has already helped put up Sheetrock and worked on the backyard and lighting.

“The employees in the company are very community oriented and people that want to participate in society around them and help make the world better,” said Robert Reffkin, CEO and founder of Urban Compass.

The house, which is the first of many that Urban Compass plans to help Habitat NYC with, is expected to be completed in six months. The family will be able to move in May of next year.

178-25 93rd Ave.

178-25 93rd Ave.

Originally built in 1920, the home has been vacant for several years and has fallen into disrepair, according to Habitat for Humanity.

The organization bought the house for $1 from the New York City Housing Authority to be one of 13 properties around the city that will be transformed and purchased at low mortage interest rates by families through its homeownership program.

 

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Video: Queens bus driver fights with teen


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video via YouTube/Ms Irene

A Queens bus driver has been suspended after he was caught on camera physically fighting with a teenager over a fare, according to video footage and published reports.

The incident began when a 16-year-old boy boarded a Q112 bus Tuesday morning at Jamaica Boulevard and Guy R. Brewer Avenue in Jamaica, reports said. In the approximately three-minute video, the driver can be seen cursing at and berating the teen, who allegedly tried to get a free ride.


“If you’re a grown man you would have paid your f***ing fare,” he says in the video.

“I feel tough every f***ing day, little boy,” the driver also shouts at the teen.

The situation then escalates with the two exchanging insults and the bus driver getting in the teen’s face and eventually shoving him. They are seen struggling as the video cuts off.

After continuing to struggle for several minutes, the driver managed to throw the teen off the bus, the woman who shot the footage with her cellphone told the Daily News.

The teen reportedly then threw a garbage can at the bus. He has been charged with criminal mischief.

The driver has been suspended without pay, according to the Daily News.

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Burglar shot after attacking officer: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A 19-year-old man was shot during a Jamaica home invasion on Monday after he attacked a police officer, authorities said.

When cops arrived at the scene of the burglary on 142nd Street near 109th Avenue about 1:10 p.m., they heard a woman screaming for help from the home’s second floor, police said. Inside, they confronted the burglar, Leighton Friday, in the living room.

Friday then struck one of the officers in the head with a metal object, possibly a crowbar or a hammer, according to published reports. The injured officer and a second officer fired their guns at him, striking Friday in the wrist and thigh.

The officer was transported to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Friday was also taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition, authorities said. He has been charged with two counts of burglary, assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

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