Amazon just cancelled its New York City HQ2 plans. Here's what the development was supposed to look like.

PlaxallA rendering of a potential mixed-used neighbourhood along the Anable Basin.
  • Amazon has canceled its plan to move part of its second headquarters, known as HQ2, to Long Island City, Queens.
  • HQ2 will now reside solely in theNational Landing area of Northern Virginia.
  • Amazon will also build a smaller operation center in Nashville.
  • Amazon planned to develop a 4 to 8 million-square-foot headquarters surrounding the Anable Basin in Long Island City.

Amazon has canceled its plan to build part of its second headquarters, or HQ2, in Long Island City, Queens.

In a statement on February 14, the company said that opposition from state and local politicians prevented the company from “go[ing] forward with the project we and many others envisioned.”

While much of that vision was not publicly clear, New York’s HQ2 proposal offers some insight into what could have been in Long Island City.

The company planned to building a 4 million-square-foot headquarters along the Anable Basin, an artificial inlet separating Queens from Brooklyn, to house its 25,000 new employees. That construction was expected to occur over the coming decade, and afterward, the company would have expanded the project to around 8 million square feet to accommodate an additional 15,000 workers.

Amazon hq2 lic queens arlington virginia locations graphicSamantha Lee/Business InsiderAmazon planned to split HQ2 between Long Island City and Northern Virginia.

The entire development was set to be complete in 15 years, at which point Amazon would have spent $US3.7 billion on the project.

It was a hefty price tag, given the company’s parallel development in Arlington, Virginia, which is still moving forward as planned. Construction on the 4 million-square-foot headquarters there, known as National Landing, began earlier this year.

Though Amazon did not release many details about its Long Island City headquarters, a memorandum of understanding from New York’s Empire State Development said the new site would include open public space, community facilities, artist workspaces, technology accelerator space, and room for a public school.

To carry out this vision, Amazon would have had to work with the owner of the land, Plaxall, which put forth its own ideas for a mixed-used district along the waterfront. Its 2017 proposal included flood-resiliency measures and plans to preserve the neighbourhood’s industrial character.

PlaxallPlaxallPlaxall’s plan for a waterfront site in Long Island City.

To house Amazon employees in New York City temporarily while the new campus was under construction, Citigroup revealed in November that it was handing over space in a 50-story office building. The tower, known as One Court Square, has become an iconic fixture of the Long Island City skyline, thanks to its massive height and “Citi” logo, which is visible from Manhattan along the East River.

Citigroup planned to move 1,100 employees out of the office tower during the first half of 2019, freeing up 1 million square feet of real estate for Amazon. The displaced Citigroup employees would have then been moved to alternate locations in Long Island City or transferred to Citigroup’s global headquarters in the Tribeca neighbourhood of Manhattan. Amazon planned to introduce 700 employees into New York City in 2019, followed by 2,200 employees in 2020.

Even months after the original HQ2 announcement, there was plenty left to determine. But in the wake of Amazon’s recent bombshell, the site’s future is less certain.

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