- Amazon is reportedly nearing a deal to put part of its second headquarters, known as HQ2, in New York City, in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens.
- The Long Island City part of New York’s pitch to Amazon promised the company 13 million square feet of real estate, a fun neighbourhood, and speedy commutes.
- The state has also reportedly offered incentives that could include hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies, as well as more tongue-in-cheek promises, such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo changing his name to “Amazon Cuomo” and renaming a polluted creek the “Amazon River.”
Amazon is nearing a deal to put part of its second headquarters in New York City, in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens,The New York Times reported on Monday. The other part of HQ2 will reportedly be in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia.
The deal seems to have taken months of deliberating on Amazon’s part, as well as plenty of promises from New York politicians.
“I am doing everything I can,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Monday of his attempts to woo Amazon. “We have a great incentive package.”
He added: “I’ll change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes.”
According to The Times and the New York Daily News, these incentives could include hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies.
From New York City’s initial talking points to the latest reports, here’s what we know about what New York has offered Amazon to close the HQ2 deal for Long Island City.
A “creative, mixed-use neighbourhood.”
New York City’s initial proposal to Amazon, submitted in October 2017, listed four potential HQ2 sites: Midtown West, Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, and lower Manhattan.
According to The Times, it seems Long Island City has won out.
The proposal described the neighbourhood in Queens as a “creative, mixed-use neighbourhood with a rich legacy as the city’s industrial innovation center,” and highlighted its more than 150 restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as its art galleries, museums, and theatres.
More than 13 million square feet of real estate.
Real estate in Queens – at lower prices than in other New York City boroughs – was a key part of the Long Island City pitch.
The neighbourhood has been growing swiftly in recent years, with 41 new apartment buildings constructed since 2010, The Times reported, citing an analysis by the city.
The Long Island City pitch promised Amazon that workers would have short commutes and highlighted the proximity of LaGuardia Airport.
According to the proposal, getting to LaGuardia from Long Island City takes 25 minutes by public transportation and 15 minutes by car; getting to John F. Kennedy International Airport supposedly takes 45 minutes.
As for commutes, the proposal promises a five-minute trip to Brooklyn on the G train, 15 minutes to midtown Manhattan, and 45 minutes on the Long Island Rail Road to Nassau County. Cornell Tech, on Roosevelt Island, is just a five-minute ferry ride.
Last week, the city released a proposal that included potentially adding more transportation options near Long Island City, like a new subway stop.
The city plans to work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Amtrak “to study the feasibility of creating a new rail station in Sunnyside Yard at Queens Boulevard,” according to The Times.
Plenty of tech talent.
The city’s proposal says that 2.3 million New Yorkers have a bachelor’s degree or above and that the metro area has the largest population of tech workers in the nation, with more than 296,000.
The city’s 105 higher-learning institutions could provide a pipeline for the company – including students from Cornell Tech, a five-minute ferry ride from Long Island City.
Up to hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives.
While New York is known for providing economic subsidies to entice companies to open up shop in the area at both the state and the city level, the city has not released official figures on how much it is willing to spend to attract Amazon.
Cuomo has said the state created a “great incentive package” for Amazon that sources told the Daily News and The Times could include hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies.
Last year, Cuomo said Amazon would receive $US20 million in tax incentives for putting an administrative office with 2,000 jobs in New York City. Even with half of the 50,000 jobs Amazon has promised as part of the second-headquarters project, HQ2 would have a much bigger impact.
Mayor Bill De Blasio has publicly resisted offering special subsidies to Amazon.
Meanwhile, New Jersey approved tax breaks that would total about $US7 billion in an attempt to get Amazon to pick a location in the state for its second headquarters.
Cuomo changing his name to “Amazon Cuomo” and renaming a polluted creek the “Amazon River.”
A source told the Daily News in late October that Cuomo also said he would “rename the heavily polluted Newtown Creek in Long Island City the Amazon River.”
While it was most likely a joke, it reveals just how desperate – and gimmicky – states and cities have gotten in their attempts to win over Amazon.
In October 2017, for example, buildings in New York City including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center lit up in “Amazon orange” in support of the city’s HQ2 bid.
Read more about Amazon’s HQ2:
- Amazon made an important investment in Seattle, and it highlights a key issue for HQ2
- Amazon HQ2 candidates are going to great lengths to keep their plans secret
- HQ2 is making cities consider projects they have been ignoring for years – and it shows the power of Amazon
- 7 horrible things that could happen to cities if they win Amazon’s HQ2 bid
- The cities where homeowners will benefit the most if Amazon’s second headquarters lands there