When the transit hub in the Jamaica section of Queens was expanded in 2003 to enable passengers arriving by subway or train to get to Kennedy International Airport in eight minutes by light rail, community leaders hoped the glassy new AirTrain station would encourage additional development.
In a sign that this dream was not far-fetched, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation said last week that the South Korean developer of Techno-Mart, a shopping complex in Seoul that houses more than 2,000 electronics retailers, plans to build a 13-story $260 million wholesale merchandise mart on Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue, cater-corner from the station.
The 979,000-square-foot building will have 10 floors of showroom space to accommodate 500 businesses, 172,000 square feet of retail space and parking for 800 cars, said Paul Travis, a New York developer who is teaming with the Korean company, Prime Construction. It will be Prime's first foray into the United States.
The project is the first to be announced since the area was rezoned last month to encourage development of a lively “airport village.”