JetBlue officially opened its new 200,000-square-foot headquarters in the 12-story historic Brewster Building, located at 27-01 Queens Plaza North, where it relocated from its former Forest Hills location.
The airline is bringing roughly 1,000 employees to its new regional corporate facilities, who will eat and shop in Long Island City, further boosting the area's economy, according to an airline spokesman.
“JetBlue has played a huge role in making New York City the nation's No. 1 travel destination,” Bloomberg said at the opening on Wednesday, April 4. “We couldn't be prouder that JetBlue has cast a major vote of confidence in Long Island City as a great place to do business.”
The airline's new headquarters combine 900 employees from its Forest Hills location with 70 crew members from Darien, Connecticut.
JetBlue started business in New York in 1998, with its first flight out of John F. Kennedy Airport in 2000, according to CEO Dave Barger.
“Now in our second decade, we are growing jobs with this new office, serving seven Empire State destinations with more daily seats between New York City and upstate than any other airline, and growing the regional economy with competitive fares,” Barger said.
The Brewster Building is owned by Brause Realty, and JetBlue is subleasing the space from MetLife, which will continue to maintain a presence in the building, according to Bloomberg.
The building was constructed and 1911 and is where the Brewster Aeronautical Company manufactured its F2A, or The Brewster Buffalo, which was the first mono-fighter airplane used by the U.S. Navy in World War II.
Down the street, before the airline held its event, Bloomberg also announced the completion of a $45-million roadway, pedestrian and bicycle improvement project at Queens Plaza, which is known as the borough's entryway.
The project broke ground in 2009, and is expected to improve traffic flow, while offering a respite for commuters, workers, residents and bicyclists.
The enhancement extends from Queen Plaza North to South, from Northern Boulevard and Queens Plaza East and West to 21st Street.
The city received more than 600 submissions in a contest to name the new 1.5-acre open space. The winner, chosen by a panel of city and community representatives, is “Dutch Kills Green,” submitted by Harry Charalambides and James Stark.
“Today is a great day for the colorful, gorgeous mosaic that is New York City,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. “With this morning's announcement that 'Dutch Kills Green' has been chosen as the name for the new 1.5-acre park in Queens Plaza, we're adding a touch of greenery to our lives - and today's ribbon-cutting for JetBlue's brand new headquarters is complementing the new park with a touch of blue, an official team color for the Mets and the Yankees, but also for New York's hometown airline.”
The Queens Plaza enhancement project includes new crosswalks, sidewalks, countdown pedestrian signals, improved lighting, and native trees and plantings.
It features 489 new trees, landscaped medians, an off-street bikeway, a separate pedestrian walkway, and the 1.5-acre open space at the plaza's east end that has wet-lands, artist-designed benches and permeable paving to direct stormwater to its plant life.
“It is wonderful to see the changes and improvements that have taken place over the past couple years at Queens Plaza in Long Island City,” Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said. “These improvements to our community have not only helped to improve the roadways and pedestrian paths, it has made the area more welcoming to all who come to work or visit.”