Port Authority executives, elected officials, the JFK Redevelopment Advisory Council and community leaders unveiled the office at 144-33 Jamaica Avenue on Friday.
The program is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s JFK Vision Plan. The plan calls for creating one unified airport by demolishing old terminals, utilizing vacant space, and modernizing infrastructure while incorporating more technology and passenger amenities.
Additionally, the plans call for enhanced roadways in and around the airport to provide better access from the Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway.
The office officially opened on Monday with five staff members, who will host certification workshops, roundtables, office hours for terminal developers and more.
The office will also primarily serve as the hub for career opportunities for local residents and businesses with a focus on Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE).
“The opening of this office symbolizes our commitment to transparency and accessibility for the local community,” said Nantasha Williams, manager of External Affairs and Community Outreach for the JFK Redevelopment Program.
Williams pointed to Huntley Lawrence as an example of “what can happen when you mix good economic development, good projects, private and public partnerships with the community.”
Lawrence was raised in Queens and attended August Martin High School, where he first got involved with the aviation industry. He interned as a high school student with the Port Authority and is now Aviation Director for the same agency.
“We’re taking another step to further strengthen our bonds with the community and our neighbors,” Lawrence said. “We will be leveraging the enormous talents of the community that surrounds us to fulfill this vision.”
In 1997, the Port Authority built a similar office when they began discussions on the AirTrain.
“We’re doing this again to make sure that we fulfill our commitment to the community,” Lawrence said. “If we’re not providing solid jobs, if we’re not insuring communities around the airport benefit from the development, if we’re not taking care of our own, then we’re not doing this right.”
Like the AirTrain, Congressman Gregory Meeks said, the current redevelopment project can also be beneficial for the community.
“We want to set the example that those who have been here for a long time and have suffered and put together their businesses will be the first ones to have the opportunity to receive the benefits of the project like his,” he said.