- Many residents of Long Island City and Arlington aren’t happy that Amazon will be opening its HQ2s in their neighbourhoods.
- It’s important to note that the HQ2s won’t be built overnight, and changes will come gradually.
- Hiring will be complete in Arlington by 2030 and by 2028 in New York City.
And with good reason. HQ2 is going to strain New York City’s already-decaying subway system. The influx of six-figure labour will likely boost rents in Queens, where about a fifth of households are in poverty and housing affordability is already a struggle. In Arlington, residents said schools are overcrowded, traffic is a challenge, and housing is pricey – HQ2 is likely to augment those issues.
Compounding those frustrations are the tax breaks Amazon will receive for adding those jobs. Amazon will get a $US550 million cash grant for its Arlington office and $US1.5 billion from New York. Both cities will also assist Amazon in building a helipad for Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO and the richest man on earth.
Folks are concerned that the essential character of their neighbourhoods will be forever altered. As columnist Danny Westneat wrote in The Seattle Times, “Amazon is about to detonate a prosperity bomb in your town.”
But missing from this panic is an important note – the neighbourhoods won’t be changing overnight.
According to the agreements Amazon has with New York and Virginia, the company will have years to hire all 25,000 folks to the respective headquarters. The New York office will be staffed up by 2028, while Arlington will reach 25,000 by 2030.
The hiring will be gradual, as well. Next year will bring only 400 hires to Arlington and 700 to Long Island City, according to the proposals.
Throughout the next 10 to 12 years, on average, the New York office will hire 2,500 employees per year and the Arlington office will hire around 2,100 per year.
There also may be way more than 25,000 folks joining Amazon in each city. The proposals say there is potential for hiring to go on for the next 16 years in both cities. (That’s called “Phase Two” in Virginia.)
By 2033, Amazon may have a total of 40,000 workers in Long Island City and nearly 38,000 in Arlington by 2034.
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