Queens Community Board 3 Land Use Committee mum about gentrification pressures in Jackson Heights

By LOUIS FLORES

The members of the Land Use Committee of Queens Community Board 3 have not responded to a letter submitted on behalf of the Jackson Heights community of residents, seeking comment about recent, major changes in commercial businesses.

The September 13 letter was sent by e-mail to the general e-mail account of Queens Community Board 3.  The letter was signed by long-time Jackson Heights resident Susan Lippman and Louis Flores, the latter, who is the author of this article and the publisher of Progress Queens.  In the past, Ms. Lippman has been a contributor to Progress Queens.

The letter sought to express concerns that have been growing in the community about changes in retail stores on 82nd Street, changes that community residents say may reflect upward pressure on commercial rents and a harbinger of gentrification.  

A popular clothing store on 82nd Street closed and relocated to Junction Blvd., and plans were immediately made for the clothing store's former 82nd Street location to be replaced by a Banana Republic, raising concerns that the commercial landlord may be raising rents in order to attract expensive, chain store retailers.

Word is also spreading in the community that a 10-story hotel may be set to rise at 37-23 72nd Street near Broadway.

The e-mail transmitting the letter to Community Board 3 was copied to the office of Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), who also did not provide any response to the e-mail.

Not mentioned in the letter to Queens Community Board 3 was concerns over the construction of a 15-story mixed-use building at 71-17 Roosevelt Avenue, immediately east of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

In the past, a community group, Queens Neighborhoods United, has opposed efforts to gentrify the mix of businesses along Roosevelt Avenue.  In 2014, Queens Neighborhoods United collected petitions in an effort to defeat the creation of a business improvement district for Roosevelt Avenue.

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