Nov. 6, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Long Island City will likely be home to part of Amazon’s second headquarters, according to a series of reports released yesterday.
The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Monday that after a yearlong search for a single home for their second headquarters, the e-commerce giant has instead decided to split HQ2 between two areas—one in Long Island City, and the other in Crystal City, Va.
A total of 50,000 employees will reportedly make up the two locations, the reports say.
Amazon, however, has not publicly announced a final HQ2 decision, and reports continue to stress that the company is nearing deals to move to the two locations, but has not come to a final decision.
It is also unclear where in Long Island City the company would build out its headquarters. A definitive announcement will be made before the end of the year, although it could be made as soon as this week.
Executives from the Seattle-based company have apparently met with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo in recent weeks, with the state offering hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to incentivize Amazon.
At one point, Cuomo joked that he’d change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” and even rename the polluted Newtown Creek to “Amazon River” to win over the company in their HQ2 search.
Amazon, additionally, has toured Long Island City at least three times with city officials as part of its search. The tours included Citi Bike and NYC Ferry rides.
The news comes several months after New York City, along with hundreds of cities and municipalities in North America, submitted bids to the company after it announced its search for a second headquarters location.
Long Island City was one of four areas the city had highlighted in its bid. The city noted that the neighborhood has “over 13 million square feet of first-class real estate” in outlining total HQ2 campus potential there.
The area, according to the Long Island City Partnership, has 7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space with close to 4 million square feet of additional space to be built by 2020. Most of the existing office space provided in the numbers, however, has already been leased, the LICP said.
Amazon had said at the launch of its search that it would require 500,000 square feet of commercial space by 2019, and an additional 8 million square feet beyond 2027.
The available space for the project, according to Amazon, does not have to be contiguous, but should be close to one another “to foster a sense of place and be pedestrian-friendly.”
Amazon’s needs, coupled with its likely move into Long Island City, have raised questions about where exactly it would choose to build, with some even pointing to Sunnyside Yard as the only place to foster the massive headquarters.
Amazon’s move, additionally, comes as the neighborhood has repeatedly voiced its concerns over infrastructure needs ranging from schools, transportation, sewer systems, open space, and beyond. The concerns, they say, stem from an influx of people moving into the area without proper preparation on behalf of the city. Continued development and rezonings, they add, only exacerbate the issues.
The city appeared to admit to Long Island City’s shortcomings when it released an investment strategy late last month, noting that it is working on several projects that will bring $180 million of infrastructure improvements to the community. Part of the report said rapid residential development resulting from the 2001 rezoning has strained neighborhood resources and the quality of life of residents.
It is not known, however, if Amazon will be investing in area infrastructure as part of its potential move to the neighborhood.
Council Member Jimmy said, however, that nothing has been decided just yet.
“HQ2 has to work for Queens, not just Amazon,” he said in a statement. “We already have an infrastructure deficit in LIC. We must ask how such a complex would impact the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. This isn’t a done deal. The local community must be heard here.”