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City and State Offered Multiple Long Island City Sites to Entice Amazon to Area

A rendering showing possible development opportunities (in blue) for Amazon in Long Island City. (Via NYCEDC)

Dec. 11, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The city and state offered dozens of Long Island City sites as part of its pitch to lure Amazon’s HQ2 to the neighborhood, according to a new batch of documents released last night.

Officials presented Amazon with 30 “first-class” sites on the waterfront and in Court Square that Amazon could occupy and expand into, totaling more than 13 million available square feet.

These sites, as well as property in three other neighborhoods around the boroughs, pitched to the company were selected after the city itself called on the private sector to identify available properties that could accommodate Amazon.

The sites included practically all waterfront properties west of Vernon Boulevard between Queens West and the Queensborough Bridge, along with a cluster of sites in Court Square south of Jackson Avenue. Some properties, additionally, were identified in Queens Plaza and scattered areas north and south of Sunnyside Yard.

Long Island City locations offered by the city and state to Amazon in its HQ2 pitch. (NYC EDC)

Along the waterfront, 11 sites owned or leased by six distinct entities were proposed. The sites include the five parcels at Anable Basin officially selected for Amazon’s campus buildout (owned by the city, Plaxall, and with some leased to TF Cornerstone), and properties to the north owned by Silvercup and ConEd.

The privately-owned site known locally as “Lake Vernon,” additionally, was offered in the pitch.

In Court Square, 10 sites were offered in the general area south of Jackson Avenue between 11th Street and Thomson Avenue—which New York officials referred to in the pitch as the “commercial core district.”

The 10 sites here are owned or leased by five entities. The city and state, one of the entities, own the majority of available sites in this section— six Jackson Avenue properties next to and over the LIRR yard that have been partly proposed for development before.

The remaining four sites in the Court Square cluster are owned by Plaxall and Innovo Property Group; Westbrook Partners, with Savanna’s One Court Square—where Amazon will be temporarily moving into as its headquarters are built—also thrown in the mix.

Outside of the waterfront and Court Square areas, eight properties were pitched that include Silvercup’s flagship studios at 21st Street, a two-story building off Queens Plaza, the Falchi building, and the Standard Motor Products building.

Rendering of a developed Long Island City waterfront, as proposed in the city and state’s Amazon HQ2 pitch. (NYCEDC)

The city and state noted in its pitch that the waterfront district had more opportunity for new development from the ground up, and said the cluster of city/state owned sites in the commercial core district could allow for a contained campus within a few short blocks.

One Court Square, additionally, was also pitched as a “phase 1” building that Amazon could occupy until it identified expansion opportunities.

Some of the proposed properties, like the city-owned building occupied by the DOE on Vernon Boulevard and the Falchi Building, have been classified as “existing” or “rehabilitation” and appear to be protected from new construction.

The rest of the properties, however, are overwhelmingly marked as “new construction.”

A city and state rendering of a potential Court Square Amazon campus. (NYCEDC)

The selected Long Island City sites, additionally, offer insights into plans for sites thought to be in progress, in limbo or long abandoned.

The waterfront Silvercup properties by the Queensboro Bridge, for example, were once planned to house another massive studio grounds for the company. The plans, however, appear to have stalled, even as Silvercup recently completed a cleanup of the contaminated properties—signaling interest in developing the sites.

New York officials said in its bid to Amazon many of the pros heard about Long Island City—that it is transit-connected, ever-growing, and increasingly becoming a tech and business force to be reckoned with.

The release of the city and state’s official response, meanwhile, comes as the City Council prepares to hold the first of a series of oversight hearings tomorrow on how the Amazon deal came to be.

To see the city and state’s full Amazon HQ2 response, click here.

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Click for Comments 

Great news that they picked Nyc. We will have 25000 new high paying jobs and 20 billion in tax revenue.


Amazon coming to NYC is great news. Amazon building an oversized campus in a residential waterfront neighborhood with little mass transit, terrible. Please move to the area where other commercial buildings are rather than taking over an amazing residential neighborhood. Jerks.


For once I agree with you, Brooklynmc. They could have gone ANYWHERE else in the city. And the fact the city was willing to use eminent domain to give them whatever they wanted is really disturbing. Corruption all around. Not sure why these politicians are always choosing to sell out LIC.


We signed a two year lease. I will start looking for property in the Bronx before someone else decides to build a campus. If I can’t afford the Bronx, I am going to Chicago, Austin or Atlanta. It is hard here and getting harder.


Disagree. Subways are at capacity going towards the city at morning rush. They are nearly empty in the opposite direction. The solution is to encourage reverse commuting. I don’t think the waterfront is perfect for that though. North of 33rd st station would be better. As would Flushing or Kew Gardens.

Get rid of DeBlasio and Cuomo

Putting in all that work and then saying they were not in it to win it is a complete sell out. Funny how it was made public right after Cuomo’s “election”.


I heard Eminent Domain was on the table too. NYC always uses eminent domain for the wrong reasons. SHUT This deal down NOW. The CITY COUNCIL should sue for being bypassed. Gov. Corruption Cuomo & Bill DumBlsio would sell their souls for Amazon to come here. They did with taxpayer Billions.


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