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 disapproving.
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.
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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.
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While real estate prices are expected to rise in Long Island City and the surrounding area due to Amazon’s impending move to the neighborhood, one listing has lowered its price. The most expensive apartment in the borough of Queens, located at 46-30 Center Boulevard, is on the market again, the New York Post reported. The penthouse, which sits just north of the Pepsi-Cola sign, is asking $3.65 million, less than the $4.25 million it was listed for in 2017. Soon after Amazon announced their move to Long Island City, interest in the neighborhood surged. As 6sqft previously reported, searches for residential apartments in the neighborhood are up 281 percent compared to the daily averages prior to the Amazon news.
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Department of Education facilities via Google Earth
Long Island City advocates are requesting ownership of a city-owned building that sits on land soon to be developed by Amazon for its second headquarters, as the Wall Street Journal first reported. The sprawling, block-long structure at 44-36 Vernon Boulevard currently houses offices related to the city’s Department of Education along with over 1,000 staff members. For the past three years, local residents have asked for the building to be turned into a community facility. With all eyes on Long Island City due to Amazon’s impending move there, advocates believe this is their last chance for the community to take over the property.
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Rendering of Plaxall’s proposed, but not yet approved, mixed-use LIC project courtesy of WXY architecture + urban design
A plan to create 1,500 units of affordable housing in the Anable Basin area of Long Island City will most likely be scrapped, as Amazon prepares to open its headquarters on that same land, Politico reported. Amazon announced this week plans to bring its second headquarters to the Queens neighborhood on land currently owned by plastics company Plaxall, as well as some parcels owned by New York City. Previous plans from Plaxall and the city, who hired developer TF Cornerstone to build a mixed-use campus at the site, called for 1,250 and 250 units of affordable housing, respectively. But an Amazon spokesperson told Politico there will be no housing at its new complex.
Amazon in, affordable housing out
Photo of Bezos via NMAH’s Flickr and photo of the Century via Wikimedia
With Amazon officially coming to New York City, where will its founder and chief executive live? Jeff Bezos will have an easier time finding a property in the city than most, as he already owns four apartments in Manhattan. All of the NYC properties owned by the multi-billionaire are located on the Upper West Side at 25 Central Park West, in a condo building known as the Century (h/t I Love The UWS). Bezos, who owns several homes (as well as the biggest in Washington, D.C.) and remains one of the top landowners in the country, has requested helipad access for Amazon’s new Long Island City headquarters, making any neighborhood he chooses to live just a quick ride away.
Via Wiki Commons
Amazon’s decision to divide its second headquarters between Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia was confirmed on Tuesday, bringing with it questions about how the neighborhoods will withstand the influx of 25,000 new workers each. According to a new study from RENTCafé, LIC already has an occupancy rate of 98.2% and about 15,400 units currently either under construction or in a planning phase, so Amazon’s announcement is sure to add fuel to an already bustling market. In fact, according to listings site CityRealty, searches for residential apartments in the neighborhood are up 281% compared to the daily averages prior to the announcement.
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Image: Maxpixel CC public domain.
On the heels of news that Amazon has chosen Long Island City, Queens for one of its two new headquarters, making the promise of 25,000 new jobs a hopefully-someday reality, comes the fine print request that the company would like a helipad for its new East River waterfront HQ, please. Slate reports that the request appears deep in a 32-page memorandum of understanding with the city and state.
Rooftop helipads have been banned since 9/11
Rendering of Plaxall’s proposed (but not yet approved) mixed-use LIC project courtesy of WXY architecture + urban design
Amazon officially announced on Tuesday its plan to bring its second headquarters to Long Island City, following a 14-month long contest among hundreds of cities across the country. The company will also open a second new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, with each location expected to house 25,000 new employees; Nashville will become home to Amazon’s “Operations Center of Excellence,” equipped for 5,000 full-time jobs. In Queens, Amazon intends to construct the mixed-use complex across both public and private sites that sit along the East River, in an area known as Anable Basin. Although the HQ2 project still must undergo a public and environmental review, as well as a possible rezoning, the tech company said it will receive over $1.7 billion in incentives from New York State for its project, which is expected to cost over $3.6 billion, and has the potential for another $1.3 billion “as-of-right” benefits from New York City.
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