In the 1930s, it was a library. By 1970, a courthouse. Today, the Queens Family Courthouse has been transformed into a mixed-use architectural jewel that has helped to energize Downtown Jamaica, redefining apartment life and attracting new retail businesses to the area.
The Central Library Building of the Queens Borough Public Library opened in 1930 on the present site of the Queens Family Courthouse. The Italian Renaissance-style interior featured marble walls and floors and classic detailing. After 36 years of serving the community, the library outgrew its space and moved to a larger facility. By 1970, the building was completely renovated for reuse as the Queens Family Courthouse, featuring a stone façade and grand brickwork, and operated as such until 2002.
NYCEDC released an RFP for adaptive reuse of the Site in 2004 and selected the Dermot Companies to purchase the site and redevelop the space.
Today, the Queens Family Courthouse has opened its doors as a modern development consisting of mixed-income housing and a variety of retail space including a new supermarket, enhancing the quality of life in and fueling the economy of Downtown Jamaica.
Located on the corner of 89th Avenue and Parsons Boulevard, this unique 12-story complex was designed by FXFowle Architects, a New York City firm, preserving the historic building facade. The development incorporated many green-building techniques and the building has achieved LEED certification.
The ground floor and basement features 50,000 square feet of retail space, with a mix of retail tenants that will enhance the quality of life for both residents and the local community.
The selection process involved:
- Engaging local stakeholders to identify tenants that would fulfill the area's retail needs
- Giving preference to retailers who commit to hiring from the local community
- Identifying local entrepreneurs as potential tenants for one or more of the retail spaces
Seventy percent of the Courthouse's 346 rental apartments are classified as affordable housing. The space offers:
- Studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments
- 24-hour concierge service
- A scenic rooftop deck
- Two entertainment rooms
- A fitness center
- A 24-hour, indoor 500 car garage
- 19,500 square-feet of community facility space
While this project involved a complete modernization of the building's interior, the exterior façade was preserved to maintain the structure's historic elegance.