Amazon Eyes Long Island City For HQ2

LIC waterfront with new development (courtesy of Joe Mabel)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been intensely lobbying Amazon to locate its HQ2 in Long Island City. Gov. Cuomo jokingly offered to rename Newtown Creek ‘Amazon Creek’ on the condition that the corporate giant agreed to choose LIC. He even humorously offered to change his name to ‘Amazon Cuomo’ to entice the corporate giant to choose Long Island City.

It seems that Cuomo’s intense lobbying may have borne fruit, according to a Monday report in the New York Times. The Times reports that Amazon has decided not to create one mega headquarters, but to divide the new headquarters in two. One of those locations, according to the article is in LIC. The other location Amazon has chosen is Crystal City, Virginia, in the greater Washington D.C. Area. The Times, however, did strike a cautionary note, though, stating that the company has made no final decision.

Should Amazon choose LIC, the decision would have a powerful effect on local real estate and rents. Business Insider reports that Amazon’s effect on Seatle’s real estate drove rents higher: “As Amazon grew between 2005 and 2015, Seattle’s median rent went from $1,008 to $1,286, an increase nearly three times the national median. Recent data also shows Seattle’s median home price hit $777,000 in February, up 18% from the year prior.”

Amazon HQ in Seattle (courtesy of Joe Wolf)

Amazon’s creation of an LIC headquarters would mean thousands of new jobs which would increase the value of real estate here and would also sharply increase demand for Greenpoint residences, most likely resulting in increased residential and commercial rents. Traffic would also increase as would ridership on the already crowded local mass transit system.

Should the Times report prove true, the construction of the headquarters locally would also create many new secondary jobs that provided goods and services to the new Amazon workers and inject new tax money into the city’s coffers, while taking millions in subsidies from the state. One thing is sure, an Amazon headquarters on the banks of Newtown Creek would have a massive effect on Greenpoint as well as Queens. It would be another sign of the economic transformation of our area.

About Geoff Cobb

Geoffrey Cobb is a brooklyn high school history teacher and writer of the blog historicgreenpoint.wordpress.com. He has lived in Greenpoint for over twenty years and is the author of a history of the area Greenpoint Brooklyn's Forgotten Past.

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