Image via CityRealty
Update 3/1/19, 1:10pm: According to Crain’s, Governor Cuomo said today on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, “They have given no indication that they would reconsider. I have no reason to believe that Amazon is reconsidering. Would I like them to? Certainly. But I have no reason to believe that.”
Amazon’s Valentine’s Day breakup with New York City has been rough on Governor Andrew Cuomo; the New York Times reports that Cuomo has continued to beseech the retail giant to build one of its two new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, as it had announced plans to do last November. According to the Times, Cuomo has privately assured Amazon officials that he would ease the company’s path to any needed approvals and is “working intensely behind the scenes”–including a personal pitch to founder Jeff Bezos–to get Amazon to reconsider.
Baby, come back
John Brown Smokehouse on 44th Drive in LIC via Flickr
The owner of a Long Island City barbecue restaurant flew to Seattle on Monday in an attempt to revive the city’s deal with Amazon. Josh Bowen, who owns neighborhood joint John Brown Smokehouse, met with executives from the company for two hours, according to Qns.com. Earlier this month, Amazon announced it would no longer open a headquarters at the proposed waterfront location in Queens after facing resistance from local politicians and activist groups. During the meeting, the businessman asked if they would reconsider their decision to pull out of the project. Their response? “Never say never,” the executives told him, according to Bowen.
Amazon said on Thursday it will no longer build a new headquarters in Long Island City, the New York Times reported. The online retail giant selected the Queens neighborhood last year for its “HQ2” campus following a 14-month nationwide contest. Amazon had promised to bring 25,000 jobs to New York City in exchange for nearly $3 billion in state and city incentives. In a statement, the company said it does not plan to look for another location at this time.
Rendering via CRÈME / Jun Aizaki Architecture and Design
6sqft reported last May on a proposal for a civic design project aimed at reconnecting the neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Long Island City. Brooklyn-based studio CRÈME‘s concept, called Timber Bridge at LongPoint Corridor, calls for constructing a floating bridge made of durable timber that would span Newtown Creek and expand past it to the LIRR rail yard in LIC. Not only would the new bridge provide greater access to transit options, but, according to the design team, Timber Bridge would give cyclists and pedestrians a safer commute than the car-jammed Pulaski Bridge. The Brooklyn Eagle reports that this grassroots initiative is now just a bit closer to becoming a reality with the creation of a nonprofit and new support from local civic leaders.
Bridge love, this way
Rendering via NYCEDC
News broke last week that Amazon was reconsidering its move to New York City after facing opposition from residents and local officials. But a new poll released on Tuesday shows a majority of New York voters actually support the deal for the tech company to open its headquarters in Queens. According to the Siena College Research Institute, 56 percent of voters in the state back the project, while 36 percent disapprove. City residents support the Amazon deal even more, with 58 percent approving, according to the poll.
Since Amazon announced it had selected Long Island City for its new headquarters last fall, a lot of people have wondered what will happen to the neighborhood and its surrounding communities. While LIC has already undergone a series of radical changes of the past two decades—first there was an influx of artists seeking larger live-work spaces and later a wave of condo developments—the arrival of Amazon promises to have an even deeper impact on LIC.
And the potential negative effect of the tech giant moving into town has not gone unnoticed by public officials and locals, who have led a strong opposition campaign. It was reported on Friday that Amazon was reconsidering its plan to move to the neighborhood after facing an intense backlash from those who fear increased rents and even more congestion. But with no plan to officially abandon Queens, it’s important to understand what could happen if Amazon does put down roots in LIC by first looking at how the company has already changed Seattle, where it first set up shop back in 1994.
More on the effect
After facing months of intense backlash from residents and local officials, Amazon is rethinking its plan to open a massive complex in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Sources told the newspaper, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, that executives at the tech company have had discussions to reassess the plan to open its “HQ2” in New York City. “The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” a source told the Post.
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A pair of job postings listed by online retail giant Amazon kicked the excitement level up a notch in anticipation of the company’s new “HQ2” headed for Long Island City, Queens. According to Bloomberg, the ads, seeking a software development manager and software engineer, referred to the company’s impending New York expansion by saying the new HQ would be the site of a 50-person team starting in 2019 as part of its Intelligent Cloud Control group. Following a flurry of press inquiries, Amazon quickly added that though they would begin hiring for HQ2 later in 2019, the listings were for positions in an already-existing office.
More Amazon excitement this way
Google Street View of Long Island City’s engine 261
In 2003, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg shuttered six city firehouses including Engine Company 261 at 37-20 29th Street in Long Island City, the growing neighborhood was nowhere near its current density. Since then, a veritable mini-city of high-rise residential towers has sprung up in the once-industrial Queens neighborhood; the FDNY has been considering the need for more firepower to keep the mini-metropolis safe. The recent announcement of Amazon’s impending arrival with 25,000 jobs in tow has given more urgency to concerns about the increased demand for emergency services, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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Rendering via Binyan Studios
The Skyline Tower, a 67-story condo building under construction in Long Island City, ended the year on a very high note. In addition to being named 6sqft’s 2018 Building of the Year, the Hill West Architects-designed, 778-foot-tall tower became the first in Queens to pass $1 billion in total sell out. Plus, the property, which developer United Construction & Development Group first filed plans for in 2016, sits across the street from One Court Square, where Amazon is leasing one million square feet of office space before the company moves to its new HQ2 complex along the waterfront. On Wednesday, new renderings of Skyline Tower were released, showing off the interiors, views, and new subway entrance at the future tallest tower in Queens.
See the renderings