Amazon recently announced that it would be looking at cities across the country to open a second headquarters, and New York City boroughs are jumping at the chance to become a new home to the proposed 8.1-million-square-foot facility.
The e-commerce and technology company, which is valued at $500 billion, released a request for proposals (RFP) earlier this month to encourage cities to throw their hats in the ring. Amazon is expected to invest more than $5 billion to construct its second North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2, which they argue will create about 50,000 high-paying jobs.
The Economic Development Corporation plans to submit a response to Amazon in collaboration with the Empire State Development Corporation and is asking interested parties to submit requests for expressions of interest (RFEI).
Recently, Amazon announced that it would open a $100 million, 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Staten Island. It is expected to employ 2,250 people and slated to open sometime next year. On Sept. 21, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the company would expand its presence in the state and add a 359,000-square-foot administrative office at 5 Manhattan West.
But will the company choose New York as the home of its new campus?
After its announcement on Sept. 15, officials from several boroughs took immediate action to make the case to Amazon that they had all the qualifications for HQ2.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sent a letter directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to outline why the borough would be the top choice, highlighting its proximity to the city’s airports and its spike in development — the Bronx has seen nearly $13 billion and 70 million square feet of total development since 2009.
In Brooklyn, a number of major landlords have banded together to submit an RFP including Jamestown, Rudin Management, Forest City and Rubenstein Partners, according to Crain’s New York. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Hoan have also sent a letter to Bezos to make their argument as to why Brooklyn is the best place for HQ2.
“We have no doubt that America’s fourth- (and soon-to-be third-) largest city is the best choice you can make for your second corporate headquarters,” Adams and Hoan wrote.
Queens is also making a pitch but has been somewhat quieter about its efforts.
Thomas Grech, the executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, argues that Queens is exactly what Amazon is looking for in a new headquarters.
“Based upon the RFI that Amazon has put out there I think in every single one of the categories Queens fits the bill,” he said.
Grech cited the abundance of transportation options, including the city’s two airports, and the “plethora of languages cultures, ethnicities and so on that can support the growth in U.S. and beyond.”
Amazon is looking for cities that can provide employees a 45 minutes or less commute to an international airport, access to mass transit, a diverse population and options for recreation, all of which Queens can provide, Grech said.
Though several neighborhoods fit the bill, Grech said Jamaica would be a good location for the new headquarters because of its “transportation connections, both land and air connections, as well as the abundance of well-educated, tech-savvy young people.”
The neighborhood has also experienced a boom in terms of development and was recently awarded $100 million by the state to revitalize its downtown.
Grech is working with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the mayor’s office to make sure that Queens is well represented in the RFP that will eventually be submitted. Katz declined to comment for this article.
He added that all of Queens would benefit if a company like Amazon moved in.
“Business small and large, things like hotels and restaurants and other infrastructure companies, data companies, IT providers [would benefit],” he said. “It truly would be a pebble in a pond. The ripple effect would be tremendous with a behemoth like Amazon to move to New York.”
The deadline to submit an RFEI is Sept. 29 and the deadline for the RFP is Oct. 19.