Amazon’s HQ2 could be headed to Long Island City
Amazon is close to naming Long Island City home to its second headquarters, following a competitive, yearlong search by the tech giant. The company is reportedly splitting “HQ2” between two locations, with the other being Crystal City, Virginia, a suburb outside of Washington, D.C, according to the New York Times. The news comes less than a week after New York City announced plans to invest $180 million in the infrastructure of the evolving Queens neighborhood.
Over a year ago, Amazon launched a nationwide competition to find their next headquarters, with the promise of bringing 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in initial city investment. Under the updated plan reported this week, the company would divide the workforce with 25,000 employees in each location.
Including Long Island City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration also pitched the neighborhoods of Midtown West, Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle (which includes the areas of DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Navy Yard). In their pitch, the city boasted Long Island City’s proximity to Midtown, as well as to local and regional transit networks, allowing Amazon employees to connect easily to LaGuardia and JFK Airports. Plus, the neighborhood features over 150 restaurants, bars, and cafes, with more certainly on the way, and 40 cultural institutions.
As 6sqft reported last October, an eight-acre site next to Hunters Point South in LIC may be the perfect spot for HQ2. The property is found at 55-01 Second Street and bounded by 54th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, on Newton Creek.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo even joked last week he would rename the polluted creek the Amazon River as a way to lure the tech company to Queens. But as of Tuesday, no official area in the neighborhood has been released as HQ2’s site.
Long Island City residents have expressed concern over the effects of Amazon on a neighborhood that is rapidly growing, with infrastructure already strained from the huge influx of residents. A study released last year found the neighborhood had more apartments built since 2010 than any other neighborhood in the United States. In under a decade, over 12,500 new units were built in LIC, with more planned for the former industrial community.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer told the Times: “The 7 train is overloaded today, and we can’t sell Long Island city as being transportation rich. The people who work at Amazon are going to be competing for space on that train.”
The city’s timely announcement of infrastructure improvements last week would aim to bolster jobs, housing, transit, infrastructure, open space, education and arts and culture in the neighborhood. Part of the plan includes studying the feasibility of a new rail station in Sunnyside Yard for MTA, Long Island Rail Road, and Amtrak.
And of the $180 million, $95 million will be for improvements to the sewer system and water mains, $60 million for a new school in Court Square, $10 million for the existing Hunter’s Point street reconstruction project, and $15 million for open space improvements.
[Via NY Times]