Policy

Long Island City, Policy, Top Stories

amazon, long island city, amazon nyc

A rendering of One Court Square, where Amazon will temporarily move in 2019; via NYCEDC

City and state officials lured Amazon to open its new office complex in New York with an extensive pitch, complete with four suggested neighborhoods and the promise of prime real estate, according to documents released by the city’s economic development corporation on Monday. In exchange for 25,000 new jobs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are offering Amazon nearly $3 billion in incentives and grants. And while last month Amazon selected the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City as its new home, officials had proposed bringing Amazon’s campus to the Farley Building, 3 World Trade Center, Brooklyn Height’s Watchtower building, Bjarke Ingels’ The Spiral, and even Governors Island.

See the full pitch

Long Island City, Policy, Queens

Rendering of Plaxall’s proposed (but not approved) mixed-use LIC project courtesy of WXY architecture + urban design

A majority of New Yorkers approve of Amazon moving to Long Island City despite opposition from Queens activists and politicians, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Fifty-seven percent of all respondents said they support the company’s plan to build a waterfront office complex in Queens, with 26 percent disproving. And approval among Queens residents is even higher, with 60 percent supporting the deal. But the poll did find a more divided opinion about the potential $3 billion in public incentives and grants offered to Amazon by the city and state, with 46 percent approving of the subsidies and 44 percent disproving.

More here

affordable housing, Policy, real estate trends

Via City Realty

In an effort to demystify property ownership and management company networks across New York City, JustFix.nyc, a Brooklyn-based tenant advocacy nonprofit, launched a new tool today to help tenants easily obtain the information they need to deal with difficult landlords. The free tool, available at WhoOwnsWhat.nyc, aims to cut through some of the opaque practices of landlords, like the tendency to use a shell company or LLC to preserve their anonymity. The platform makes it possible to connect dots that are often hidden and will provide tenants, housing advocates, and local officials with the information to fight speculative behavior, harassment, and discrimination.

Find out how it works

Policy, Transportation

NYC sets $17 minimum wage for Lyft and Uber drivers

By Devin Gannon, Wed, December 5, 2018

uber, ride-hailing, taxi

Via Wikimedia

Roughly 80,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City are expected to get a pay raise next year. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on Tuesday voted to secure a minimum wage for drivers with ride-hailing companies, including Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno, making New York the first city in the world to do so. Going into effect in 30 days, the new rule mandates a minimum wage of $17.22 per hour, after expenses. That hourly rate is equivalent to the city’s employee minimum wage of $15 per hour, which will be set at the end of this year.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy, Union Square

Photo via Wiki Commons

Earlier today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing to consider landmarking seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets, one of which many already recognize as an unofficial NYC landmark — The Strand bookstore. In advance of the hearing, The Strand voiced strong concerns that the designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future, as the New York Times reported. Referencing the recent tax incentives that Amazon received to relocate to Long Island City, Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden said, “The richest man in America, who’s a direct competitor, has just been handed $3 billion in subsidies. I’m not asking for money or a tax rebate. Just leave me alone.”

Find out what happened at today’s hearing

condos, New Developments, Policy, Upper West Side 

City rejects bid to stop tallest Upper West Side tower

By Chava Gourarie, Tue, December 4, 2018

Courtesy of Binyan Studios/ Snøhetta

The Department of Buildings this week rejected a challenge against the tallest tower planned for the Upper West Side, as first reported by Crain’s. Community groups argued that the design of Extell Development’s 775-foot condominium tower at 50 West 66th Street violated the city’s building code, but the department overruled those objections. Read more

Policy

Via CityRealty

State Sen. Michael Gianaris announced on Tuesday plans to draft legislation aimed at cracking down on insider dealing in real estate. The proposed law comes after a report in the Wall Street Journal found Amazon employees were buying condos in Long Island City before the company had publicly announced plans to build their second headquarters in the neighborhood. The legislation would prohibit anyone from using confidential government information to buy or sell real estate, according to Gianaris.

Find out more

Policy, Transportation

Image via WNYC

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday said it expects to lose roughly $215 million this year from fare evasion on the city’s subways and buses. Nearly 500,000 people daily are not paying to ride, according to a study conducted by the MTA, contributing to the agency’s already massive deficit. At a meeting to discuss the issue, NYC Transit President Andy Byford told reporters he intends to focus on both fixing services and stopping fare evasion, as the New York Times reported. “I think the most pressing priority for customers is that they want reliable regular service,” Byford said. “But equally, I think New Yorkers would expect that everyone pay their way.”

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Long Island City, Policy

NYC Council to grill city leaders on Amazon deal

By Devin Gannon, Fri, November 30, 2018

Via CityRealty

Citing concerns about the closed-door deal that drove Amazon to choose Long Island City as home for its second headquarters, the New York City Council announced it will host three hearings to question both city leaders and company exeuctives. Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the first hearing will take place on Dec. 12 to look at how the deal happened, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. “One of the major perversions of this is that was all done behind closed doors, with nondisclosure agreements, and without the public or elected officials who weren’t including feeling like they had any say,” Johnson told the WSJ.

Get the details

Financial District, Policy

80 Centre Street via Wiki Commons

On Wednesday, city officials announced that plans to build a 40-floor high-rise detention center at 80 Centre Street will not be moving forward, reports the Daily News. The site had been proposed earlier this year as part of a plan to close the jail at Rikers Island and relocate the inmate population to four local jails spread throughout the boroughs. The de Blasio administration cited logistical challenges associated with moving the current tenants, which include the Manhattan Marriage Bureau and offices of the Manhattan District Attorney, as reason for the decision.

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