It seems like every major city in the United States is working to attract Amazon following the e-commerce site’s announcement that it would be issuing a national request for proposals for an eight million-square-foot commercial space that will function as its second headquarters. New York City is one of the city’s in the running since it meets the company’s requirements for good transportation options, proximity to major airports, and a population that exceeds one million, but there are some drawbacks— mainly that the city is just too damn expensive.
The city’s boroughs have virtually made this into a competition amongst each other and has everyone from local officials to developers already making pitches to Amazon that explain why their borough is best. Below are the cases that have been made.
Local officials have penned a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, pitching why the Bronx is a prime candidate for Amazon’s second headquarters, reports the New York Post. In the letter, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, along with more than two dozen officials, state that the borough “offers more advantages to Amazon than any other municipality” and ideally the company’s best option. “We are six miles from LaGuardia Airport, 20 minutes from Kennedy Airport, and Manhattan is just a quick train ride away” reads the note.
Officials also highlighted the borough’s rise from an area of poverty and despair to a neighborhood that has improved economically and is booming with culture and development. “Since 2009, The Bronx has seen nearly $13 billion and 70 million square feet of total development. Over 110,000 more Bronx residents have jobs today than did in May 2009, and unemployment has been cut by more than half. “
And what good would a pitch be if they didn’t mention the Bronx’s attractions? Daiz writes, “Our borough has the largest number of colleges, parkland and hospitals in New York City. We are also the home of The New York Yankees, The Bronx Zoo, Wave Hill and the New York Botanical Garden. We have our own beach and are home to the oldest golf course in the nation.”
StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long makes a convincing argument for Sunnyside, Queens as a location for Amazon’s headquarters, if it were to choose New York. The rest of the city might find it challenging to provide the 8 million square feet of commercial space that Amazon is seeking, but a recent feasibility study conducted by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) showed that developing above Sunnyside Yard is viable.
Sunnyside also has plenty of decent transportation options that include easy access to 13 different subway stations, ability to bike to and from Manhattan, connections to the Metro North, and proximity to LIRR stations. It’s also close to the city’s major airports, located less than five miles from LaGuardia Airport and about 15 miles from JFK airport.
Grant also affirms that no matter where a second headquarters for Amazon ends up, it would need a housing market that could handle the impact of such a huge business moving into the neighborhood. Nearby Long Island City is booming with new developments that Amazon’s entrepreneurs shouldn’t have a problem affording, given that the average salary for an employee will be around $100,000.
And then there is Brooklyn. Following Amazon’s announcement, lawmakers and big name developers wasted no time in banding together to assert their reasons for why Brooklyn makes the most sense.
“Brooklyn’s innovation coast from Williamsburg to Sunset Park has numerous opportunities for a campus-like environment with an ecosystem of academic institutions, a skilled labor force, bedroom communities and culture,” said Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball.
In a letter to Amazon, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Hoan touted the neighborhood’s “one-of-a-kind energy” along with its schools and economic prosperity, all things that, ideally, make Brooklyn a great pick for Amazon.