Astoria, News
Feb 12, 2019

Amazon May Be Reconsidering Its Move To LIC

The news of Amazon’s new headquarters, nicknamed HQ2, has met with plenty of controversy in the neighborhood. And now, according to several sources, its chilly reception from politicians and the (…)

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So are these mailings friendly or ominous? Asking for a friend. Image credit: Imgur

The news of Amazon’s new headquarters, nicknamed HQ2, has met with plenty of controversy in the neighborhood. And now, according to several sources, its chilly reception from politicians and the community alike may have the behemoth company reconsidering its move to Long Island City.

The project was hailed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo as being a great opportunity for the city, potentially bringing in some 25,000 jobs, and this was backed by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, but locals weren’t so sure. Concerns ranged from everything from congestion on public transport to real estate prices, as well as how New Yorkers’ tax dollars would be spent and the ethics of giving incentives to the world’s richest company.

Amazon reconsidering its move to LIC

Critics of the Amazon headquarters created a sign reading “Scamazon.con” in the windows of this LIC waterfront building. Image credit: Reddit

As of now, there has been no official word from Amazon about abandoning the LIC headquarter plan, and their press has been nothing but optimistic about the upcoming development. However, according to as-yet anonymous sources, Amazon also has not closed on any real estate deals in the area, meaning that it would be very easy for them to back out at any time. In addition, New York State has not officially approved of the project, and is not projected to make a final decision until 2020. By contrast, both Virginia and Tennessee, the other proposed locations for Amazon headquarters, have already passed incentives for their respective developments.

According to Governor Cuomo, Amazon’s backing out of Queens could potentially wreak havoc in the polls, and he called the State Senate’s possible actions to block the development “governmental malpractice,” and said that Amazon’s absence “would be a tremendous loss.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens is one of Amazon’s most vocal detractors, and has voiced concerns about the cost of the company’s desired subsidies, which are reckoned at about $3 billion in taxpayer money. Though Senator Gianaris claims that he has not heard directly of any concerns from Amazon’s executives, he said, “If Amazon’s goal is to extort New York through threats, that says a lot about whether we should want them here at all.” His concerns are echoed by other opponents, who feel that Amazon is putting political pressure on state officials, which could potentially divide state Democrats come elections. Another opponent is newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who called the project a “creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with State Senator Michael Gianaris, remains in staunch opposition to Amazon’s arrival.

 

Despite the pushback, there has been no official statement from Amazon executives about reconsidering the HQ2 development. An Amazon spokesperson, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that the company is still looking to forge relationships with local businesses and community leaders. “Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be,” they said.

In addition, a Siena poll showed that New Yorkers, including Queens residents, still support the e-commerce giant’s move to the area, and public opinion seems pretty well divided.

Amazon may reconsider its move to LIC, despite some local support.

While some protest, others welcome: locals gather at City Hall in support of Amazon, claiming the company’s arrival will bring jobs to the greater New York area. Image credit Facebook / Long Island City

 

What do you think about Amazon moving in? Are you worried about rent and the character of the neighborhood? Are you looking forward to the potential jobs? Are you on the fence? Let us know in the comments! And if you attended the open discussion held in LIC on February 12, let us know how it went!

 

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