Amazon's Long Island City HQ2 Site Is Near The Nation's Largest Public Housing Project
Reports have been coming fast and thick in recent days that Amazon HQ2, or at least part of HQ2, will be located in Long Island City, where New York announced $180M in new infrastructure spending early this month.
Such a location, while presumably meeting the tech giant's needs for talent, transit and likely generous subsidies, would put the e-commerce behemoth's campus near Queensbridge Houses, the nation's largest public housing project.
The contrast would be stark between the facilities of the cash-rich tech company and the 26 buildings of Queensbridge, where deferred maintenance is a nagging problem and the median household income for its 6,000 residents is less than $15,900/year — well below the poverty line for a family of four, the New York Times reports.
Residents of that part of Long Island City are reportedly skeptical that the presence of Amazon nearby will do anything to improve the neighborhood beyond the confines of the would-be HQ2 campus.
Travel, financial companies and other businesses have opened in the area in recent years, but "they did not hire here — they brought in their own people,” Queensbridge Tenants Association President April Simpson told the NYT. “My thing is: If you build here, hire here.”
Other local politicos have objected publicly to the prospect of subsidizing Amazon to come to Long Island City.
"If public reports about this deal prove true, we cannot support a giveaway of this magnitude, a process that circumvents community review ... or the inevitable stress on the infrastructure of a community already stretched to its limits,” New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the neighborhood, said in a joint statement on Sunday along with New York state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who also represents the neighborhood.
“We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones,” they added. “The burden should not be on the 99% to prove we are worthy of the 1%'s presence in our communities, but rather on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate neighbor.”
Very likely the big winners from a Long Island City HQ2 location would be commercial real estate players already active in the area, who say Long Island City is characterized by cheaper development sites, booming population and transportation.