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NYguy Nov 6, 2018 5:46 AM

NEW YORK | Amazon - Long Island City | CANCELED
Stayed away from the Amazon discussion, but since it seems likely one of the headquarters is coming to LIC...

Amazon Plans to Split HQ2 in Two Locations

By Karen Weise and J. David Goodman
Nov. 5, 2018


The company is nearing a deal to move to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, according to two of the people briefed on the discussions. Amazon is also close to a deal to move to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., a Washington suburb, one of the people said. Amazon already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area.

Amazon executives met two weeks ago with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the governor’s Manhattan office, said one of the people briefed on the process, adding that the state had offered potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies. Executives met separately with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a person briefed on that discussion said. Long Island City is a short subway ride across the East River from Midtown Manhattan.

To meet its own deadlines, Amazon will need to move fast. It had said it wanted 500,000 square feet of office space — enough for thousands of employees — available for use next year.

Amazon’s HQ2? Make That Q for Queens

By J. David Goodman
Nov. 5, 2018


New York City last week announced $180 million in new spending on Long Island City to bolster transit, fix the sewer system and attract new, good-paying jobs. Now it appears that spending was, in part, deliberately timed.

Amazon is nearing a deal to name Long Island City, a fast-growing neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, as one of two locations that would together house as many as 50,000 employees in its ever-expanding work force, according to two people briefed on the negotiations.

The arrival of Amazon in Long Island City could finally establish New York as a technology hub on par with its West Coast rivals. But some residents worry about the effects of so many newcomers on the neighborhood of gleaming apartment towers and low-rise manufacturing that is already straining from rapid growth.

The neighborhood has seen a swift rise in new building that began with a single high-rise office tower, opened in 1990 and belonging to Citigroup. If the name Long Island City once seemed aspirational, in recent years it has been more descriptive: Apartment towers now dot the skyline, crowding around the elevated No. 7 subway train.

There have been 41 new apartment buildings built there since 2010, according to an analysis by the city. Last year, more new apartments were built in Long Island City than in any other neighborhood in New York. The reasons, in large measure, are its proximity to Manhattan, its relatively low cost and the views.

The proposed locations of any Amazon buildings within the neighborhood were not clear.

A person briefed on the discussions said city officials took Amazon executives looking for a new headquarters, known as HQ2, around the area three times, in April, July and September. In one instance, the person said, they toured on Citi Bikes, the local bike-share program; in another, they took a sunset ride on one of the city’s new fast ferries.

All the building — and the new residents who come with it — has put pressure on the area’s infrastructure. New schools are needed, according to the city, and the subways are packed.

“The 7 train is overloaded today, and we can’t sell Long Island City as being transportation rich,” Mr. Van Bramer said, sounding a note of caution. “The people who work at Amazon are going to be competing for space on that train.”

It was not clear whether the discussions with Amazon included promises to improve or expand transit options. The office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declined to comment on the company’s plans, which have yet to be formally announced. A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio also declined to comment. Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio met separately with Amazon executives late last month, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

But the city’s new spending plan, released last Tuesday, included one possibility for increasing transportation options that could involve a new train stop in the heart of the area.

“Work with M.T.A./L.I.R.R. and Amtrak to study the feasibility of creating a new rail station in Sunnyside Yard at Queens Boulevard,” read the city’s plan, referring to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road, both of which use space in nearby rail yards.

NYguy Nov 6, 2018 5:54 AM

It's not clear where the headquarters would go (since the details haven't been released), but looking over the area that has rapidly developed in the last decade...

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NYguy Nov 6, 2018 6:53 AM

Now that I think about it, maybe Amazon could initially get some space here...

Citigroup Shrinkage Leaves 1M SF Hole At One Court Square

July 24, 2018
Miriam Hall


The company is reducing its space in the building down to 400K SF, the New York Post reports, with its lease on the upper 31 floors set to expire in 2020. It is the first time the building, which spans 1.4M SF, will be available for rent. The asking rents will be between $55 and $65 per SF. “We’re excited to introduce this asset to the market,” Savanna Director of Leasing Brian Reiver told the Post. “Many folks have never been inside. We also think we can create a ‘main and main’ [retail mecca] at the centerpoint of Long Island City.”

Some investors and developers see the increasing population in Queens and the growing number of rentals and condominiums as a boon for the area. Additionally, New York State’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program that offers businesses a tax credit to move jobs to the outer boroughs is said to be a big draw.

Busy Bee Nov 6, 2018 2:11 PM

Been on SSP for nearly 20 years. This might be the biggest cart before the horse moment I've seen yet.

NYguy Nov 6, 2018 2:34 PM


Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8370152)
Been on SSP for nearly 20 years. This might be the biggest cart before the horse moment I've seen yet.

That's why it's here in proposals. NOTHING here is certain. But this is as valid a proposal as any of the others, we just don't take up much of the NY threads talking about it like everyone else. And we'll go back to that if NY isn't in fact chosen.

NYguy Nov 6, 2018 2:48 PM

Is Long Island City ready for Amazon’s HQ2?
Taking stock of the booming Queens neighborhood, which may be an HQ2 contender

By Amy Plitt
Nov 6, 2018


LIC was one of four New York City neighborhoods pitched by city and state officials as a possible HQ2 location, and according to the Times, “the state had offered potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies” in order to get Amazon to the city. (Let us not forget Governor Andrew Cuomo’s offers to rename both the Newtown Creek and himself for the company.)

The city’s bid cited LIC’s “13 million square feet of first-class real estate,” along with its proximity to airports, transit lines, and cultural institutions as selling points. In January, Amazon announced that New York City was one of 20 finalists for its new headquarters; and just this week, rumors began circulating that the city was among the final-final contenders.

But with these rumors comes a number of questions: Where will 25,000 Amazon employees live? Where would Amazon build a 500,000-square-foot headquarters? And does this mean the BQX is back on? Read on for our attempts to answer these, and more.

Long Island City has seen a massive residential real estate boom in recent years, with more than 12,000 apartments added to the neighborhood’s housing stock between 2010 and 2016. But there’s also a good amount of office space spread out across the neighborhood in converted warehouses and new buildings (such as Tishman Speyer’s the Jacx, a 1.2 million square foot tower on Jackson Avenue), and in-the-pipeline development projects.

There are also sites that are currently a question mark, such as One Court Square, currently the home of Citigroup (and the tallest building in the borough). When the banking conglomerate downsizes in 2020, it’ll leave about 1 million square feet of empty space—though the skyscraper, built in 1990, might be out of date for Amazon’s current needs.

On the waterfront, two massive projects—one developed by Plaxall Realty, and the other by TF Cornerstone—would bring around 6,000 apartments, with a chunk of those set aside as below market-rate, to the neighborhood. (Both need to get the requisite rezonings to move forward.) The second phase of the Hunter’s Point South megaproject, which will have 900 permanently affordable apartments, is now back on track.

Further inland, there are other huge developments that are either in the works or nearing completion, including Tishman Speyer’s Jackson Park, which has 1,800 apartments; Jerry Wolkoff’s 5 Pointz-replacing rentals, with more than 1,100 apartments; and Simon Baron’s ALTA LIC, a rental that also offers co-living apartments, recently opened with nearly 500 units. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a lot of new housing coming to the Brooklyn waterfront, just a hop, skip, and a jump from LIC—between the Domino Sugar megaproject, Greenpoint Landing, and other new developments.

....even with the fancy new high-rises and the new amenities the city used to lure Amazon to LIC, it’s still a neighborhood where the median income is less than $60,000/year. The neighborhood is also home to the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing complex in the country. A downsized HQ2 would still have a huge, hard-to-predict impact on an area that’s already working hard to keep up with its massive growth.

“HQ2 has to work for Queens, not just Amazon,” City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement to Curbed. “We already have an infrastructure deficit in LIC. We must ask how such a complex would impact the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. This isn’t a done deal. The local community must be heard here.”

chris08876 Nov 6, 2018 10:44 PM

The slogan for the bid should of took cues from Mercedes: The Best or Nothing

Its exciting for the area if or when it manifests.

I can see a nice boom occur, and hopefully it will provide the ammo for pushing transit expansions.

I think when we were talking about this in the past, Hudson Yards would of been the choice, but it came as a suprise to see LIC in the news. As much as I like LIC, I was like "really!??" in a surprised fashion.

But goes to show how much the area has improved. I remember what the area use to be 5-6 years ago. The transformation has been nothing short of incredible.

On the plus, it will further increase the motivation for certain projects to rise. Places like Astoria Cove and the Greenpoint expansion could cater to some of these employees.

I'd hope to see a spike in rentals in the pipeline neighborhood wise. Not to mention the healthy boost in what I'd imagine would be retail.

25k folks long term is a nice addition, and business will benefit around the area. Further raising the standard.

chris08876 Nov 6, 2018 10:52 PM

Further transit expansion is what I mean. Certain lines may see heavier burden due to the influx. Always good when initial transit funding occurs.

But glad Amazon Coumo and DeBlasio sweetened the deal.

antinimby Nov 6, 2018 11:03 PM


HQ2 has to work for Queens, not just Amazon,” City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement to Curbed. “We already have an infrastructure deficit in LIC. We must ask how such a complex would impact the people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. This isn’t a done deal. The local community must be heard here.
NIMBY NYC pols are already trying to make things difficult. You really have wonder why Amazon would consider NYC at all. They thought liberal high tax Seattle was bad, they haven't seen anything yet.

Wait till the "community" and their pandering politicians start making all types of demands, like hiring this percentage of minorities, that percentage of women, this percentage of residents from this community or that community, this number of union contractors, etc.

NYguy Nov 7, 2018 12:00 AM

^ They'll complain about everything. I haven't followed the Amazon proceedings closely, but I though part of the plan was to have a workforce living close to the "campus". If that's the case, then transit (though always a central issue in NY) shouldn't be the nightmare everyone seems to think it would be. I thought the idea of a new, major headquarters would benefit other cities more, but this is something that would be good for LIC, which needs to "mature". It wouldn't be in Brooklyn or Manhattan, but in a little known part of the city outside of New York.


Here’s a look at what both New York and Virginia offered Amazon to land the prize.

Long Island City

• New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted to reporters on Monday that he is doing everything he can to lure Amazon to New York, saying, “We have a great incentive package.” While he did not release any official number on how much the state offered, reports say it could include hundreds of millions in subsidies.

In its proposal, it offered the company more than 13 million square feet of real estate at lower prices than in other boroughs of New York City.

• It also highlighted that the neighborhood has more than 150 restaurants, bars and cafes as well as 41 new apartment buildings constructed since 2010.

• Another big selling point was its location. Long Island City is centrally located between Manhattan and the city’s two major airports, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airport. And, just last week, the city released a new proposal to add more transportation options to Long Island City, including a potential new subway stop.

Crystal City

• Just like the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, Crystal City has easy transit access and proximity to Reagan National Airport.

• It also has ready-to-occupy office buildings throughout the city.

• An urban downtown-like setting with restaurants, hotels, shopping and other amenities within walking distance.

• Low state taxes.

• The city also comes with all of the benefits of the D.C. region, including ample tech talent, universities nearby and proximity to the federal government.

• Plus, an added bonus for Bezos, it’s an easy drive from his new $23 million Kalorama mansion.

Crawford Nov 7, 2018 12:11 AM

They'll almost certainly take One Court Square to start, since Citi is vacating that space, but the long-term expansion plan will likely be on the Sunnyside Yards, where there's massive space for tens of thousands of employees.

NYguy Nov 7, 2018 12:19 AM


Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 8371049)
They'll almost certainly take One Court Square to start, since Citi is vacating that space, but the long-term expansion plan will likely be on the Sunnyside Yards, where there's massive space for tens of thousands of employees.

Yeah, the sunnyside yard thing came to mind, but that will take time. I do believe that there was a small portion of the yards that was supposed to be out for RFP, there's a thread here somewhere. But the Court Sq place would be a plus since it would help attract Amazon, and the issue of filling that space would be solved before it really became an issue.

If Amazon ultimately decided to go somewhere else, I wouldn't be upset with that. But I do think that it would be huge for LIC.

In either case, people are never pleased, and most people weren't going to be happy with the decision no matter where it turned out...

New Yorkers, Virginians Wary of New Amazon Headquarters
New offices could mean thousands of jobs and an economic boost — but can the city infrastructures handle the influx of new residents?



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Monday that he’s doing everything he can to court Amazon and secure the Long Island City deal, after a cities across the country competed to lure the company with massive tax incentive packages for the past year. “I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes,” he said. “Because it would be a great economic boost.”

Local residents and community activists are not as enthusiastic as the governor.

“If they bring [tens of thousands of] new corporate employees to Long Island City, then those people are going to have higher incomes and want to live in a convenient location along the 7 [train] line, which is going to put pressure on rents that people in Queens haven’t really dealt with before” says Michael Forest, an organizer with the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project. “Everyone in Queens is at risk for increasing rent prices if this happens. It’s a scary prospect.”

Long Island City, located at the southwest corner of the borough, is already struggling to accommodate the rapid growth the formerly-industrial neighborhood has seen in the last two decades, with residents consistently speaking out against rezoning proposals that would allow even more build-up. “Since the early 2000s there’s been such a profound change in the skyline of Long Island City, and now we literally live in the shadow of these sky scrapers,” Forest says. “People are pretty much unanimously opposed to big development in Long Island City, but our voices get drowned out as the city keeps moving forward with this agenda.”

“When Amazon drops on Long Island City, it’ll set off a tsunami of hyper-gentrification that will push out whatever remains of the working class — and much of the middle class,” says Jeremiah Moss, who runs the blog Vanishing New York and published a book of the same name, documenting the small businesses and culture lost to gentrification and development. “We’ve seen it in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan when Google moved in. Real estate speculation skyrockets. Landlords get crafty about kicking out rent-regulated tenants. Portfolios of buildings are sold, emptied, and converted to market rate for the new upper class coming in.”

Moss suggests that it’s not only residents that would be hurt by the changing landscape and rising rents brought on by such a large corporate office moving in, but local businesses as well.

“The workers at these big tech companies generally don’t patronize small, local businesses,” Moss says. “They work inside a bubble where all is provided, or where large food-hall type places, like Chelsea Market, spring up to feed them. So we often see small businesses die around these big tech companies.”

In addition to these economic concerns about gentrification and hyper-development, there’s also the practical question of whether the city’s subway system, specifically the 7 line that serves Long Island City, could handle that many new residents. Easily accessible public transportation was one of Amazon’s chief concerns in searching for a new home (or homes) for their new offices, with cities with more developed and efficient public transit quickly pulling to the front of the pack.


Long Island City was preparing for its breakneck development to pick up speed even before news that Inc. may move in.

Earlier this year, much of the neighborhood was designated as an “opportunity zone,” a classification that comes with a suite of generous tax benefits for real estate developers. If Amazon selects the neighborhood for a major new North American campus, as is widely expected, it’ll bring thousands of new, highly paid employees to the area and create a unique and irresistible combination for New York City builders.

“We’ve been seeing so much activity in Long Island City,” said Jessica Millett, co-chair of the tax department at Duval & Stachenfeld LLP, a law firm. “The opportunity-zone activity ramps it up a level. Amazon threw fuel on that fire -- my phone started exploding.”

At the center of both decisions is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who joked with reporters Monday he’d even change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” to win over the internet giant. Cuomo’s administration, expected to grant the company a bevy of concessions to open an office hub there, was also charged with picking New York’s opportunity zones.

Long Island City, once a decrepit post-industrial neighborhood, has seen billions in investment in recent years, driven in part by its proximity to Manhattan. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced another $180 million to improve the neighborhood’s infrastructure, including sewer upgrades and a new school.

It isn’t yet clear exactly where Amazon would situate its offices in the neighborhood, or if it would be able to take advantage of the tax breaks. But developers that build or renovate real estate for Amazon could potentially use the breaks, in addition to whatever deal-sweeteners offered by Cuomo to woo the tech giant. Either way, its decision will boost interest in the area.

Already, political opposition to Amazon’s potential move is mounting, with calls to extract concessions from the tech giant and even levy a “gentrification” tax. Jimmy Van Bramer, a city council member who represents the area, said that not all his constituents are excited about the prospect.

“We need to know what Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have promised Amazon, and what Amazon has offered the city in return,” he said.

For Long Island City developers and brokers concerned about the abundance of planned apartments, Amazon’s an answer to their prayers. Almost 1,700 units were proposed and more than 4,500 were already under construction in the neighborhood, according to an April report by the Long Island City Partnership, an economic development group.

Hudson11 Nov 7, 2018 2:27 AM

speculation or undisclosed info, I wonder? This project has been sitting on the shelf for quite some time, it would be remarkable if HQ2 sparked its resuscitation.


The multi-tower Silvercup Studios West is one major plan poised to begin if Amazon comes to town

NYguy Nov 7, 2018 4:06 AM


Originally Posted by Hudson11 (Post 8371177)
speculation or undisclosed info, I wonder? This project has been sitting on the shelf for quite some time, it would be remarkable if HQ2 sparked its resuscitation.

I don't think they would get any prime waterfront locations, even though there are a few multi-tower developments along the waterfront. I think it would have to be something more in the core of LIC. I think part of the LIC proposal probably incorporates some of the older warehouses that can be converted.


In its proposal, it offered the company more than 13 million square feet of real estate at lower prices than in other boroughs of New York City.

It would likely have been some combination of new and old, converted space.

NYguy Nov 7, 2018 2:37 PM

Where in Long Island City could Amazon’s 25K workers end up?

By Lois Weiss
November 6, 2018


Could the Citigroup Building at One Court Square become the top spot for Amazon as a Long Island City HQ2?

Surely, the nearly 1 million square feet now available — as first reported by The Post’s Steve Cuozzo — will go a long way to housing the tech giant’s expected 25,000 employees.

Another 25,000 may be headed to JBG Smith’s Crystal City in Arlington, Va., just a powerboat ride down the Potomac River from Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’ local digs.

But at the new NYC average of 200 square feet per person, the Citi tower in LIC would hold only 5,000 Amazonians. Squeeze ’em into a high-density layout of 120 square feet and the head count goes to 8,333, give or take part of a person.

The financial institution is downsizing in the tower, now owned by Savanna. Its top of tower signage would also appeal to the tech giant, which has held our rapt attention for the last year as it conducted a search to wring the most incentives out of every jurisdiction.

The state and city are expected to pony up many millions of dollars for tax breaks and infrastructure, such as the $180 million suspiciously announced last week to beef up sewers and such in Long Island City.

There are other possibilities for where Amazon can live, work and thrive.

Chris Yu has started building a 67-story tower at 22-15 44th Drive set to rise to 964 feet and become the tallest in Queens.

Its 802 units are being marketed for more than $1 billion. Amazon could just buy the whole thing and rent to its employees when the structure is completed in two years. “It’s already on the third floor,” said Eric Benaim of Modern Spaces, the sales agent for the tower.

Ironically, the developer bought the site from Citigroup, which had planned another office building.

Nearby, Brause Realty will have the entire 711,236- square-foot 27-01 Queens Plaza North available in 2023 for another 5,600 employees.

Tishman Speyer has 300,000 square feet left to rent at the new One Jackson, aka The JACX, where WeWork has gobbled up 250,000 square feet that could also be rented by Amazon, taking care of 4,600 more bodies.

Amazon already leases 360,000 square feet on two floors of 5 Manhattan West for which it will receive $20 million in performance tax breaks from the state. The building also hosts the Amazon-owned Whole Foods store.

Property owner David Brause, who is also on the board of the Long Island City Partnership, said, “We’re very excited about the prospect of Amazon coming to Long Island City. Unlike some of the smaller cities on its short list, New York City could easily stomach another 25,000 people.”

NYguy Nov 7, 2018 5:25 PM

Well, maybe they are looking at one of the waterfront sites...

Waterfront Plaxall property in Amazon's sights as e-commerce giant eyes new home in Queens



Amazon is eyeing a sprawling, family-owned waterfront site surrounding the Anable Basin in Long Island City for its potential move to New York, several sources with knowledge of the plan told POLITICO.

The development would span a neighboring, city-owned site to the north that the Economic Development Corporation is seeking to turn into a 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use project, the sources said.

The agency last year picked a team that includes developer TF Cornerstone and Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center to build light industrial office space, at least 1,000 new homes and a new school.

The other property — known locally as the Plaxall site for the family that has owned it for decades — is also being eyed for a rezoning that would allow a substantial amount of new development.

That proposal would establish a nearly 15-acre, mixed-use district to accommodate 4,995 new homes, 335,000 square feet of light industrial space and 328,000 square feet of retail, cultural and office space.

Spokespeople for TF Cornerstone, Plaxall and Amazon declined to comment, as did an EDC spokeswoman.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were split on whether to provide lucrative incentives to such a thriving business. (Several officials said they worked in concert, despite the disagreement.)

Following a New York Times’ report that Amazon was “nearing a deal” for Long Island City, de Blasio said Tuesday the company had yet to make a final decision, but he boasted of the possibility of a Queens headquarters.

Were Amazon to pick Long Island City, the choice “consolidates New York City as an international tech hub,” he told reporters outside his polling station in Brooklyn.

The mayor reiterated his opposition to providing Amazon tax breaks and bristled at a reporter’s characterization of the city’s recent $180 million commitment to infrastructure improvements in Long Island City as a “ploy” to attract the company.

“That’s not fair at all and that is absolutely inaccurate,” de Blasio said.

“I want to differentiate the state and the city — the city is not providing subsidies, we do not believe in subsidies to corporations for retention or to attract corporations,” he added. “The state does have laws that provide automatic subsidies and I’m not going to comment on the state’s policy. I am just going to make sure that everyone understands that the city is not providing subsidies here.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo — whose administration would not disclose any details of the proposal, including the size of the subsidy — said Amazon “would be a big win obviously for anyone who gets it."

“I want to have New York dominate the tech space,” he said, speaking to reporters outside his own polling station in Mount Kisco. “I think they would be foolish to go anywhere else," he said with the arrogance of a New Yorker. "But I think it will be transformative for the entire state.”

He promised to involve himself in the bureaucratic challenges of opening a new headquarters such as construction permit approvals.

“I will personally expedite the government planning process,” Cuomo said.

Crawford Nov 7, 2018 5:45 PM

That Silvercup project was put back on the front-burner earlier this year, per Crains NY. It's also proximate to the Annabelle Basin project linked to Amazon.

Would not be surprised if Silvercup gets going soon, given it has all zoning approvals.

C. Nov 7, 2018 6:14 PM

Nice thread. I hope it's this...

Image courtesy of &

jayden Nov 7, 2018 9:06 PM

This is all so premature.

the urban politician Nov 7, 2018 9:33 PM

Oh my God.

If this ever happens, that would be insane.

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