BY JEN KHEDAROO
Nestled in central Queens, Queens Center Mall has become a staple for communities throughout the borough. But just as the community relies on the mall, Queens Center relies on its neighbors as well.
With about 220 stores covering 963,000 square feet of space, it’s an attraction that draws people to the area, said senior property manager Jeffrey Owen.
Owen had 20 years of experience working at JCPenney before he left in 2005 to manage Queens Center Mall for property owner Macerich, the third-largest owner and operator of shopping centers in the United States.
But his responsibilities extend far beyond property management and issues like lease management and security, but also include reaching out to and organizing events for the local community throughout the year.
“We always want to interact with the community because without them there would be no us,” Owen said. “The mall is successful because of those in Queens. It’s all about the people.”
Queens Center has a working relationship with community leaders, including working with Community Board 4 district manager Christian Cassagnol to sponsor a recent youth fair. Nonprofit Make the Road New York utilizes the Queens Center community room for classes, and a women’s cancer survivors group holds their monthly meetings there.
Queens Center is surrounded by condos and apartments buildings and single-family and multi-family residences. For those living around the mall, there’s an understanding of what it entails, such as traffic congestion during the holiday season.