‘We do have sewage problems’: Long Island City, where Amazon will reportedly put part of HQ2, badly needs infrastructure upgrades

Ready or not, here Amazon comes.

The company is close to choosing Long Island City as one of the spots where it will place its HQ2 project, along with Arlington, Virginia, The New York Times reported on Monday evening. Part of the New York City borough of Queens, directly across the East River from Manhattan, Long Island City is a neighbourhood in transition.

Once industrial, the neighbourhood is now full of tall, glassy condo towers and attractive restaurants. Forty-one new apartment buildings have been built in the neighbourhood since 2010, according to the city.

It’s still a neighbourhood in transition, however, and some areas remain undeveloped. That’s most likely where Amazon plans to step in.

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Amazon is said to be breaking a central promise of HQ2 by placing it in 2 different cities

But, as with any area, Long Island City has its issues, many of them growing pains. All those new people moving in are straining the area’s transportation, schools, and even sewer system.

That’s according to an investment strategy that New York City released this year identifying ways to remedy those three issues.

Over the past several years, New York has set aside $US46 million for sewer and water-main upgrades in Long Island City. Dramatic improvements are being proposed or are already in the works, including $US60 million for a new school and a new station stop off the Long Island Rail Road, which runs through the neighbourhood on its way to Penn Station. New York last week announced $US180 million in new spending for improvements to Long Island City.

“We do have sewage problems,” Sheila Lewandowski, a community fixture in Long Island City, told The New York Times. “They’re backing up. If we’re going to bring in this major corporation, we better invest a lot more in infrastructure.”

Indeed, those challenges won’t go away if or when Amazon comes to town. If anything, they will get worse.

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