Jamaica ‘Tree of Life’ is the neighborhood’s largest affordable housing complex to date

By Emily Davenport / edavenport@qns.com

Construction has begun on a brand new affordable housing development in downtown Jamaica.

The mixed-use building going up on 164th Street, called Tree of Life, will have 174 units available, with a mix of studio, one, two, and three bedrooms, including a superintendent’s unit. 12 stories high and includes over 15,000 square feet of commercial space, over 9,000 square feet of community facility space, 64 parking spaces, and approximately 1,500 square feet of residential amenity space including a fitness room and community room.

The project officially broke ground on June 9 during a special event with the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and a number of representatives and elected officials from Queens.

“The city is facing an affordability crisis that requires us to harness all our tools, tap all our partners, and engage all our communities to find long-term affordable housing solutions that benefit both residents and neighborhoods,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.  “Tree of Life combines city investment, innovative programs like Voluntary Inclusionary Housing, and vital federal resources to create 174 affordable homes – a third of which are permanently affordable – in a passive house development that will bring jobs and services to the neighborhood.”

Financed under the HPD and HDC’s Mix & Match program, the project apartments will be available for families with incomes ranging from $31,750 to $66,550 for an individual and from $40,800 to $85,470 for a family of three. Approximately 53 of the units available will be permanently offered to households with maximum income limits of $50,800 for an individual and $65,280 for a family of three under the City’s Inclusionary Housing program.

Tree of Life will include a number of energy efficient qualities, including solar panels and a co-gen system. Because of its location in the Special Downtown Jamaica District of Queens, the building is nearby many modes of transportation. In addition to servicing those in need of affordable housing, the community facility space at Tree of Life is anticipated to include an education and training center with a library and computer area, conference room, and individual counseling rooms that will be accessible to the community.

“Once complete, the Tree of Life building will be worthy of its name, giving families of low and moderate income’s the opportunity they need to live the quality of life they deserve,” said City Councilman I. Daneek Miller. “With so much development taking place in Jamaica, it has been a priority for my office to ensure we are building for those who already call southeast Queens home.”