LIC Partnership tremendously disappointed with Amazon’s decision — but optimistic for future

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Photo by Mark Hallum

Since Amazon announced it was going to build its HQ2 campus in Long Island City in November, one of the deal’s biggest supporters was Elizabeth Lusskin, the president of the Long Island City Partnership, the neighborhood organization that advocates for economic development.

But the deal’s collapse on Feb. 14, culminated by Amazon formally withdrawing its vision for Queens, saddened the organization — yet hopeful that something good may still come from it for the neighborhood.

The Partnership’s mission is to attract new businesses to the the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, retain those already there while welcoming new residents and visitors to the vibrant mixed use community.

“This is the largest economic development opportunity ever for New York State and New York City, and if done right, will have a lasting positive impact on both, as well as Long Island City, for generations to come,” Lusskin said when she was named co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee a week after the Amazon deal was first announced in November.

For the last three months, she spoke highly of Amazon’s decision to locate its second headquarters around Anable Basin. Lusskin remarked that it was the culmination of 30 years of work to bring great jobs to Long Island City and western Queens with its 35,000 public housing residents and more than 50,000 students.

Even after reports surfaced that Amazon was reconsidering the move to Long Island City back on Feb. 8, Lusskin remained positive telling a business crowd that she had gotten no indication of any change in the company’s decision, but she did warn that Amazon had plenty of other options.

“They have before them fully fledged proposals from a number of places,” she said on Feb. 13. “Those didn’t go into the garbage.”

The following morning came the stunning announcement, Amazon decided to cancel the project because of the opposition from local officials.

“The departure of Amazon’s HQ2 is a tremendous disappointment and blow to Long Island City residents, businesses, non-profits and more, who were eager to seize on the opportunities created by the largest economic development project in New York’s history. On the brighter side, the world is getting to see what Long Island City has to offer as a home for great companies and great people,” the LIC Partnership said in a statement.

Even so, Lusskin and the LIC Partnership insisted that all hope is not lost for the neighborhood’s future.

“Having one of the largest companies on the planet make LIC its first choice to locate one of its new headquarters highlights just how far we’ve come-with even more opportunities on the horizon,” the LIC Partnership statement continued. “Community organizations and business leaders have worked tirelessly over the years to attract new businesses that bring good-paying jobs to Long Island City, and we know it is the perfect neighborhood to grow for tech, life sciences and other sectors of the future. The neighborhood’s diverse amenities, live-work culture, dynamic population and convenient access to two major airports are only some of what appeals to innovative companies large and small. Before Amazon’s announcements, the Long Island City Partnership was advocating for investments to our infrastructure, workforce development, schools and mass transit, and we will continue to do so.”