The Port Authority held the first public meeting of the JFK Redevelopment Advisory Council comprised of community and business leaders, elected officials, Community Board members, clergy and civic groups at York College On December 14. This Council is the interface between the Port Authority, its partners and the diverse communities of Queens as Justin Bernbach, Port Authority Director, Government & Community Relations NY has stated in previous community forums. Bernbach said that there are currently intensive talks with the terminal teams which will lead to leases signed for the terminals early in 2019.
The meeting was moderated by Selvena N. Brooks and Nantasha Williams of the Port Authority who introduced the terminal developers, and welcomed the chairs Congressman Meeks and Quens Boro President Katz, the 42 other Advisory Council people, and York College and members of the community who attended the meeting.
The Council is chaired by both Congressman Meeks and Queens Boro President Melinda Katz, who thanked the developers in the JFK project for their transparency and efforts to address concerns by the affected communities. These concerns revolve around the business and workforce opportunities that will be available to the individuals, business and quality of life in SE Queens.
On behalf of the community and the Council, Congressman Meeks took the opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work, progress “ off to a very good start” and transparency in what is planned for JFK. He spoke about the creation of committees within the Advisory Council and underscored involvement in these committees. “We need real working committees; committees working with communities so that they are included and their needs met. We have to be heard and successful as a community”.
Governor Cuomo has been the prime mover in this JFK development project, and has empowered the The Port Authority of NYNJ to make the entire project more open to minority and women owned businesses. The Port has held a few community forums to communicate this direction partnering with the Council for Airport Opportunity for individual job openings and with the Queens Air Services Development for bringing news and information to the business community.
Business opportunities are identified as professional services, investment, financing, construction and operations. The first MWBE RFQ pertaining to investments is going out in the first week of January 2019.
In addition, Port promised the Community Development Outreach Office resource center which is scheduled for pening in late December or early January. It is located at 144-33 135th Ave & Jamaica Avenue. This center is open to public and will have personnel on hand to answer any JFK development questions.
Of The $1.5 million dollars cost to renovate, almost $1 million was awarded to MBWE firms who are: Burhani Signs, Vurtis Partition, Dorion Norton, Genrus, L. Richards Heating, MME Construction, The Outfity M&J, Windsor Electric, Unique Woodworking.
The Port listed the program timetable for JFK Reimagined as a six year plan.
2nd quarter 2019: Leases finalized’ 2nd quarter 2020, environmental approval’ 2020 Ground breaking; 2023, first new gates; 2025 completion.
December 18 Port approved additional funds.
Now the Port is moving forward with continued collaborative dialogue with developers focusing on: lease development, MWBE goals and objectives, community outreach, landside roadway coordination, development of information to support environmental concerns.
Both investors teams from Terminal One (TOGA) and JetBlue were on hand to introduce themselves; Carlyle from T1 and RXR from JetBlue presented similar points, and commitments to the community. They thanked the Port for the opportunity and to outline their time line for development, MWBE compliance and community considerations.
Icema Gibbs of JetBlue spoke alongside of Seth Pincky, project manager of T1 of the investor partner RXR Realty. He said they are proud to have strong presence in the community through community benefits. Advisor to JetBlue, Brian Simon spoke passionately about the benefits to the community. “ We are=engaging the local talent pool give opportunities to York and local schools, exceed 30% minority , hire millennials and grads. We exchange ideas and prioritize change as community partners. “
President of York Marcis Zwiegs supported this school initiative and suggested to RXR that a curriculum be created to
collaborate with this project with her students aspirations.
Melinda Katz added to the jobs conversations by reminding the investors that the Second Chance organizations are important to include because they assist individuals (youth, adults, students, new graduates) who are unemployed and out of school look for work and/or training opportunities.
There were few comments from the audience of 200 people except for two attendee questions; one about “ getting commitments in writing” and another about more congestions with bigger terminals. Meeks and Katz both acknowledged that, “Yes” this will be in writing”. An airline spokesman said that there will not be more traffic since the number os airlines slots is fixed and there is not intention by Port to change this. Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence took time to personally meet with guests aft their presentation to discuss cargo and trucking issues
For Laguardia Airport opportunities: www.lagua
Individual Job Careers/Opportunities: Council for Airport Opportunity www.caony