Amazon could be headed to the Big Apple.
The New York Times has reported that Amazon is in talks to finalize a deal that would make Long Island City one of its two largest headquarters on the East Coast.
Amazon is planning on splitting its new $5 billion headquarters, also called “HQ2,” between two cities. Long Island City is one of them. The other location is west of Arlington, VA, in the Crystal City area. Amazon’s search for a second headquarters began in September 2017 and announced 20 finalists in January 2018.
New York City has recently pledged $180 million towards revitalizing transit and fixing the sewer system in Long Island City (a neighborhood in the borough of Queens). That money, combined with Amazon’s move, could provide a boost to the already fast-growing neighborhood. An analysis by the city found that at least 41 new apartment buildings have been built in Long Island City since 2010. It’s not hard to see why: Long Island is cheaper than Manhattan and offers great views.
However, some suggest that Amazon’s arrival could cause already-high rent and housing prices to soar like they have in Seattle. In 2017, the Seattle Times called it a “prosperity bomb”: the company has brought massive economic growth to Seattle but also incredible income disparity and gentrification. The same thing could happen to Long Island City, which, like the rest of New York City, faces overcrowded subways and a large homeless population.
Amazon decided to create a second headquarters outside of Seattle in a bid to make it easier to lure more than 50,000 tech workers to the company. Analysts commented to USA Today that the company’s decision to create two additional headquarters instead of one was a smart investment for the company. Amazon already has several tech hubs spread throughout North America, including a fulfillment technologies center in Atlanta.
It is not yet clear where Amazon will build its new offices in Long Island City.