- Now that Amazon has canceled its plans to locate one half of its new North American headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, the head of the New York City Economic Development Corp. said the agency is moving forward with the original plan for the site — a $925 million mixed-use project that will bring with it new businesses and affordable housing, Gothamist reported.
- James Patchett, president and CEO of the NYCEDC, made the announcement while addressing those in attendance at the Feb. 27 Crain’s New York Business breakfast. The development will add 1,000 residential units — 250 of those affordable — to Long Island City, as well as 100,000 square feet of light manufacturing and industrial space, retail, a cultural center, a middle school and a park.
- The project, which is expected to create more than 2,500 construction jobs, was originally announced in 2017 but was shelved when the city began developing its bid for Amazon’s HQ2. The inclusion of light manufacturing and industrial space is an intentional nod to the area’s history and intended to help retain that type of commercial use.
Amazon announced Feb. 14 that it was scrapping its plans for Long Island City after the company’s move came under political fire. Critics objected to the approximately $3 billion in incentives the city and state used to sweeten the deal for Amazon, although the company said 70% of New Yorkers supported the plan.
The replacement development Patchett mentioned in his speech to business leaders would likely be scuttled if Amazon changes its mind about Long Island City, and that’s exactly what New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and other political and business leaders are asking the company to do. In an open letter to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos published in the New York Times on March 1, Cuomo and others ask Amazon to reconsider. In the letter, Cuomo said he “will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval, and Mayor de Blasio will work together with the governor to manage the community development project.”
Amazon's HQ2 is not the only big potential Queens project in the works. The proposed multibillion-dollar Sunnyside Yards development that would see residences, schools and parks built over what is a 180-acres active rail yard in Queens gained a bit of traction in October when city officials held a public meeting during which they solicited ideas for the potential project, according to City Limits. New York City and Amtrak, according to the NYCEDC, are in the master planning phase now, but in the agency’s 2017 feasibility study for the development, the project could cost as much as $19 billion and eventually see the addition of 24,000 new residences with up to 7,200 of those units classified as affordable.