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.
A package of legislation being introduced in the City Council on Wednesday aims to make renting in New York City more affordable. The bills, drafted by Council Members Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera, would limit broker fees and security deposits each to one month’s rent, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The bills come after a report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer released last summer found that New Yorkers paid over $507 million in security deposits in 2016.
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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.
Via Vornado Realty Trust and Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Last month, billionaire Ken Griffin closed on a penthouse at 220 Central Park South for over $239 million, making it the most expensive home ever sold in the United States. Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund Citadel, said he will not use the pricey pad as a primary residence, but instead as “a place to stay when he’s in town.” The staggering sale has renewed support from public officials for a pied-à-terre tax, which would place a yearly surcharge on homes worth $5 million and up, and apply to non-primary residences, as reported by the New York Times.
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.
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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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In a statement this week, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka asked that New York City’s Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) Program providing homeless shelter residents with free rent for a year if they are willing to leave NYC be re-evaluated due to “serious defects.” A recent investigation by WNYC confirmed that some families ended up in “illegal and uninhabitable” apartments in Newark. As CBS New York reports, Baraka cited the fact that participants were coming to Newark under the program–which pays landlords a year’s worth of rent upfront–and ending up in the aforementioned conditions, then being abandoned to become homeless again when the year was up.
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Photo via Dan Phiffer on Flickr
Last May, 6sqft reported on the release of the MTA’s ambitious 10-year “Fast Forward” plan to modernize New York City’s transit system featuring a state-of-the-art signal system, more accessibility, a new fare payment system and thousands of new subway cars and buses. Perhaps the most ambitious part of the plan is that work previously estimated to take nearly 50 years would be completed within the next decade. But just how much would these marvelous changes improve our daily commute? Transit advocacy organization Transit Center breaks it down for a few of the city’s more sluggish examples to show us how much time we might get back to do better stuff than sit on the subway.
More time to wait in line for coffee
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority currently claims that 114 of its 427 stations—or 24 percent—are accessible. But a new study led by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office shows otherwise. A team of staffers surveyed 42 of the stations that the MTA deems accessible, visiting each station on four separate days at different times of the day. Based on complaints and conversations with advocates, they assessed elevator accessibility, station signage, and features for vision-impaired riders. As Curbed first reported, their findings show that an already sub-par statistic is actually inflated.
Rendering via EDC
The plan to build a streetcar between Brooklyn and Queens got a much-needed push forward on Wednesday. The city’s Economic Development Corporation awarded consulting firm VHB $7.25 million to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX). First announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2016, the streetcar plan has faced many roadblocks, delays, and doubts from public officials. But last year, the mayor announced a revised proposal, which includes a higher price tag, fewer miles on the route, and a delayed start date.
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