You are reading

Amazon Will Likely Begin Headquarters Construction in 2020, City and State Vow Chances for Public Input

Anable Basin today, where Amazon will build its headquarters. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

Nov. 20, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

Update 11/21 : Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senator Michael Gianaris announced last night that they will not be participating in the Community Advisory Council set to be created as part of the General Project Plan.

“This Community Advisory Council is a thinly veiled attempt to present the Amazon development as a fait accompli and move the discussion towards how to accommodate their entrance to the community,” the two said in a joint statement. “As we have made abundantly clear, we oppose the deal to bring Amazon to Long Island City and continue to fight against it. We will not participate in the Community Advisory Council, whose purpose is to give local validation to a project we are working to stop in its tracks.”

Amazon is likely to begin building out its Long Island City headquarters in 2020, with the city and state both pledging a lineup of opportunities for the public to shape facets of the project well before construction takes off.

The city Economic Development Corporation and Empire State Development, which held a local media briefing on Monday, said a 14-month process is now in the works where the public, by way of meetings, hearings, newly-formed advisory committees and more, will help dictate the buildout of the e-commerce giant’s expansive campus at Anable Basin.

Officials stressed at the briefing, which comes just a week after Amazon officially announced its new headquarter locations to much buzz and criticism over its proceedings, that now begins a “very public conversation” on a campus that Amazon is anticipated to begin moving into in 2022.

“A lot of folks have reacted to this thinking that this is a fully designed project,” said James Patchett, president of NYC EDC. “The truth of the matter is it’s not.”

The 14-month planning process, anticipated to wrap up in early 2020 and with Amazon likely putting shovels on the ground immediately after, will result in the state’s plan that aims to rezone the basin and bring about Amazon’s development, officials said.

The outline, also known as the General Project Plan (GPP), will dictate elements like the size and scope of what the company can actually build on site, along with other uses.

Amazon headquarter location in Long Island City

“We need to work with the community to determine where the buildings will go on the sites, how many square feet will actually go there, what the height limits will be, how they’ll be designed, how they’ll be integrated with the community…” Patchett said. “All of that will be part of the conversation.”

The plan also builds on the components already nailed down in Amazon’s upcoming 4 million square foot development, like a school, open space, and a workforce training center, as part of the company’s memorandum of understanding with the city and state.

“In terms of land use, there is no existing design for these sites,” Patchett said.

Included in the months-long planning is an environmental review process, set to start soon and which officials highlight as one of the ways the local community can make their voices heard.

The public, like in all environmental review proceedings, can give input on what should be looked at when determining the impact of Amazon’s development on the surrounding neighborhood in areas like infrastructure, noise, air quality, traffic, parking and more.

Input is typically given during public scoping meetings and open comment sections, which will likely kick off in 2019.

Amazon, meanwhile, is expected to hand in a plan within the next two months that will give the state a starting point in how to think of the project’s environmental review process, according to Holly Leicht, ESD executive vice president of real estate development and planning.

While Leicht says Amazon would ostensibly begin construction after the 14-month process ends in 2020, the deal signed with the city and state says the company will commence construction within a year of the GPP’s final approval.

While the environmental review takes shape, the GPP will also begin to be drafted, which will be done in coordination with a soon-to-be-formed Community Advisory Committee—yet another way both city and state say the public will be represented in planning.

This committee, typically established in GPPs, includes local elected officials at the state and city level. State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer—both of whom have opposed several facets of the deal Amazon struck with the city and state , will be invited to the committee, and can appoint people to the group, too.

Officials say they are in conversations now with elected officials about the committee, and expect its makeup and launch to be finalized within the next week.

City and state officials, along with Amazon representatives, will also head to local community boards to present on plans and milestones “multiple times” and hear feedback over the course of the roughly year-long process.

While the GPP will have its own advisory board, another one will be formed to help steer the Long Island City Infrastructure Fund, one facet of Amazon’s deal with the city and state. The fund is set to receive $650 million from Amazon over the course of 40 years in payments that would otherwise go toward property taxes. The funds, as the name suggests, will go to infrastructure improvements outside of the company’s headquarters, but still within the neighborhood.

The advisory board will also be set up with chairs identified by local electeds. Separate public meetings and forums, additionally, will be held to consider projects that could be aided from the fund.

“It’s very important to us that this be a community focused conversation,” Patchett said.

The city and state made the case for the upcoming public engagement opportunities as the Amazon deal was slammed with criticism from elected officials and locals for its secretive negotiations and use of a state GPP.

The negotiations and choice to executive a state-run land use process were both viewed by critics as methods to circumvent the public’s input at the local and city level.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (left) and State Senator Michael Gianaris. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

“It’s a direct assault on community engagement and consultation on a project that would change the face of Queens,” Van Bramer said leading up to the official Amazon announcement.

The city, however, said Amazon’s decision process was the only private facet of the ordeal, and something they were willing to sign on to given the magnitude and competitiveness of the project, like the rest of the participating cities.

Now, as part of future proceedings, Amazon is expected by both the city and state to be involved in community and even press engagement on its project.

“This project will not be a success unless they are real partners in the community,” Patchett said about Amazon. “It’s their obligation—and we’ll hold them to that—to become real members of the community.”

Amazon’s Anable Basin campus could span up to 8 million square feet and provide around 40,000 jobs over the course of 15 years.

The company will be temporarily occupying 1 million square feet at One Court Square as the buildout along the Long Island City waterfront is underway.

email the author: [email protected]

27 Comments

Anonymous

Bramer and Giannaris are career bureaucrats who’ve never created jobs, and have only worked with their cohorts to add more homeless shelters and deny the growing crime surrounding the public housing developments. They’re rage is at not getting their piece of the pie. And now Bramer wants to be Boro prez. God forbid!! Amazon as an entrant to the community need to pay towards supporting the community, but in no way is a massive job creator coming to the neighborhood a bad thing.

11
2
Reply
brooklynmc

I get it that some people are going to make out financially but more people are going to be displaced by this and your comment is tasteless.

2
10
Reply
Arron Johnson | Citi Habitats

Amazon HQ2 will certainly impact LIC and the residences. The way that is was handled by the elected officials was shady but big picture good for business. If you already own in the area, don’t even think about selling now. If you’re looking to buy in LIC, now is the time.

13
7
Reply
MRLIC

you are a heartless real Estate agent. If it was your life upended by this , how would you like it? Some people would like to stay here in LIC (why, I don’t know) and they are being gentrified out by heartless politicians and their DEVELOPER BUDDIES. Pay To Play is back but in reality it NEVER LEFT.

Reply
MRLIC

I hate:

* the filthy rich
* heartless politicians
* developers

Unless they’re filthy rich, heartless politicians AND developers, in which case they are totally trustworthy! Go Trump MAGA again!

Reply
MRLIC

Why did Gov. Corruption Cuomo and Bill DumBlasio Mayor hash out this deal in a back room? What happened to TRANSPARENCY? A crooked deal for NYC/LIC I am sure. Typical NY STATE AND CITY BACK ROOM DEALING. I am sure GM iss right about Amazon employees buying condos before the official announcement. Would not surprise me in the least.

15
42
Reply
brooklynmc

Maryland’s Republican Governor offered the largest incentive of all at 8.5 billion dollars.

26
5
Reply
MRLIC

Surely our current billionaire president would never cut shady backroom deals with his fellow developers!

15
3
Reply
BHDD

MRLIC, You know there are hundreds of Amazon employees(growing rapidly each year) working at their Amazon NYC office at 34th&5th since a few years ago, right? What’s wrong with some of them buying Condos in LIC ? Textbook ignorance.

24
4
Reply
MRLIC

BHDD –what you call textbook ignorance is not true. What I see here is an enclave for well off and rich people only. Long time residents pushed out by high rents. Many small businesses also can’t [pay these high rents. Subways PACKED to capacity and roads and buses. I see all this TERRIBLE PLANNING. Building without planning never works. Cart before the horse is NYC and NY state’s way of doing things. Amazon employees can afford to buy these Condos you speak of, also Doctor’s and Lawyers etc…Well off and rich. Good for them. NOT. RENTS will now go even HIGHER with AMAZON coming here DUMMY.

26
Reply
SuperWittySmitty

Both Cuomo and DeBlasio were easily re-elected to put together deals like this by the residents of NYS & NYC. You sound like the typical armchair quarterback who has a lot to say but never really does anything./ I bet either of these guys are more productive on one day than you are in an entire year!

24
5
Reply
MRLIC

Super Witty Smitty- If your comment was directed at me at least say so. You are not so SUPER or Witty Smitty. Gov. (Corruption) Cuomo had that shady deal called THE BUFFALO BILLIONS upstate. $10 Billion down the drain of taxpayer money. It was corrupt from the start and jobs were not created and Companies did not move to the area they designated. Cuomo’s almost like son to him Joseph Percoco was jailed as were 3 others. Cuomo seemed shocked. He denied knowing the other 3 very well. At one time when the project was first unveiled he called one of the other 3 a “genius”. I guess he did not know him very well. Wait until Cuomo tells the Public he has to DOUBLE THE TOLLS on the Mario Cuomo Tapanzee Bridge (NEW), to pay for that BRIDGE. All smoke and mirrors. DeBlasio spends so much time at his GYM he does little work. Good because everything he does is WRONG for NYC. He should have been indicted in his Fund for One NT scandal. The Prosecutor never said he was “INNOCENT” as DeBlasio claims. What the Prosecutor said was there wasn’t enough evidence for the indictment. DumBlasio is a SOCIALIST/COMMUNIST as is Alexandria Octavio-Cortez. DumBlasio also knew about the lead paint in NYC Housing Authority. He swore by Shola Olatoye and she finally had to step down under pressure. GUILTY as CHARGED. NYCHA is still a mess. Remember the Moreland Commission Cuomo shut down after creating it? The commission was getting too close to him. As for why these 2 losers won easily. NYC especially is purely DUMB-O-CRATIC. NY State is a little more balanced. Polls had DumBlasio winning easily but upstate Polls had Cuomo just about even with Molinaro. In uneducated NYC however Cuomo was ahead 71-14%. New Yorkers ard DUMB. Any City that can let KING BLOOMBERG win 2 terms and buy his 3rd term are idiots. Bloomberg ruined NYC and made it a city for the rich only as you see now.

2
23
Reply
Eagerly awaiting Amazon HQ2

I am soooo excited about Amazon making their NYC home in LIC! We moved here from Manhattan in 2007, and I sincerely think that Amazon HQ2 will have such a positive, invigorating effect in our community, let alone in our whole city. Welcome to our home Amazon! Hey, it rhymes!

33
18
Reply
Eyeroll

Do you work for them or something? No one in Queens is excited for packed trains and out of control rent hikes.

12
16
Reply
Frank

Speak for yourself. I look forward to the development of the neighborhood and appreciation of my condo. I wonder if JVB will hold his breath and stop his feet in the corner because he isn’t getting his pocket lined on this deal.

3
1
Reply
brooklynmc

As a happy resident of Center Blvd with kids in local schools, I am pretty bummed but this will be good for LIC and NYC. Amazon should be ashamed though. Big time.

2
12
Reply
MrLIC

They can get Triton Construction to build it. They should be mostly finished with the library by then.

19
2
Reply
GM

I read that a few condos were bought by Amazon employees before official announcement. Isn’t it insider trading?

7
15
Reply
Not Martha Stewart

Insider trading is illegal for securities, but I don’t think there are any such regulations for condos. Even more troubling was Amazon’s development partner buying the land to the South of current developments.

4
2
Reply
Lisa Kaplan

Not illegal at all. In fact, the prices of apartments have gone up some upto 60% already. A two bedroom unit in a building just behind the PepsiCola sign, which was on the market (like forever) listed at 1.8M, sold at 2.6M last week, a day after the official announcement. Even the ones in CityLights are getting sold (just look at the price hikes!). This is a great time for sellers. Buyers and renters – not so much. A lot of foreign buyers in the market now.

7
1
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

Recent News