By Bill Parry
Long Island City is still in the hunt for what is being called one of the biggest economic development deals of the century, making the short list of 20 metropolitan areas out of 238 proposals for e-commerce giant Amazon’s second headquarters.
Known as HQ2, the second Amazon campus in North America is expected to create 50,000 high-paying jobs and more than $5 billion in investment.
“New York’s emerging tech hub — Long Island City, Queens — is ‘primed’ for Amazon,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “With its projected growth, wealth of local talent and inherent assets to foster innovation, Queens offers a dynamic mixed-use community where workers can live, ideas can synergize, and businesses can flourish. Congratulations to the administration for submitting such a competitive bid and getting us this far.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration chose four neighborhoods to pitch to Amazon out of a field of 23 in all five boroughs: Long Island City, Midtown West, Brooklyn Tech Triangle and Lower Manhattan. Other metro areas that made the short list include Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver and Washington, D.C.
“Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough — all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity,” Amazon Public Policy Executive Holly Sullivan said. “Through this process, we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation.”
In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to delve deeper into the proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community. Amazon expects to make a decision this year.
“We’re excited to be one step closer to landing the 50,000 good-paying jobs in Amazon’s HQ2,” de Blasio tweeted. “No city in the world has the talent New York City can offer.” de Blasio tweeted.
Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation, called the choice on Long Island City a no-brainer.
“LIC has everything that Amazon wants: plenty of affordable warehouse and office space, easy access to major airports, and proximity to public transportation,” MacKay said.
“I would add excellent housing stock, culture galore, and the best restaurants in the world. On the other side, the company would have no trouble attracting top-notch talent to LIC, as educated achievers have been moving to this tech bub for years. And on top of that, the neighborhood is one subway stop from Manhattan, which ain’t too shabby.”
Referring to Amazon’s chief executive, MacKay added, “This would be Amazon’s second headquarters, but after a few years, I am confident that Jeff Bezos would switch it and make LIC the main headquarters so he could live there.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by email at bparr