Amazon Makes It Official, HQ2 coming to Long Island City


Amazon and city and state officials today made it official today that Long Island City along with Arlington, Virginia will become the gigantic online retail/media company’s second and third world headquarters (HQ2).

Under the deal to move to LIC, Amazon will invest about $2.5 billion and receive about $2.5 billion in direct and as-of-right city and state subsidies, in which the company will use to develop 4 million square feet in Long Island City and bring more than 25,000 full-time high paying jobs.

“We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”

The subsidies include Amazon receiving performance-based direct incentives of $1.525 billion based on the company creating 25,000 jobs, including a refundable tax credit through the state’s Excelsior Program of up to $1.2 billion calculated as a percentage of the salaries Amazon expects to pay employees over the next 10 years. Additionally, the Empire State Development will give Amazon a cash grant of $325 million based on the square footage of buildings occupied in the next 10 years. 

The company will separately apply for as-of-right incentives including New York City’s Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) and New York City’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP).

Additionally, the community will benefit from the city providing funding through a Payment In Lieu Of Tax (PILOT) program based on Amazon’s property taxes on a portion of the development site to fund community infrastructure improvements developed through input from residents during the planning process. 

Amazon has agreed to donate space on its campus for a tech startup incubator and for use by artists and industrial businesses, and Amazon will donate a site for a new primary or intermediary public school. The company will also invest in infrastructure improvements and new green spaces.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Mayor BIll de Blasio

“When I took office, I said we would build a new New York State – one that is fiscally responsible and fosters a business climate that is attractive to growing companies and the industries of tomorrow. We’ve delivered on those promises and more, and today, with Amazon committing to expand its headquarters in Long Island City, New York can proudly say that we have attracted one of the largest, most competitive economic development investments in U.S. history,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“This is a giant step on our path to building an economy in New York City that leaves no one behind. We are thrilled that Amazon has selected New York City for its new headquarters,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New Yorkers will get tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs, and Amazon will get the best talent anywhere in the world. We’re going to use this opportunity to open up good careers in tech to thousands of people looking for their foothold in the new economy, including those in City colleges and public housing. The City and State are working closely together to make sure Amazon’s expansion is planned smartly, and to ensure this fast growing neighborhood has the transportation, schools, and infrastructure it needs.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said Long Island City is the city’s emerging tech hub  and is ‘primed’ for Amazon.

“Amazon is a timely fit for the borough, given the Tech Plan we commissioned years ago funded by Governor Cuomo to create the city’s leading tech ecosystem, coupled with Mayor de Blasio’s $180 million in new investments for infrastructure improvements unveiled several weeks ago for schools, transportation and open space,” said Katz.

“With its organic growth, wealth of local talent and inherent global assets to foster innovation, Queens offers a dynamic mixed-use community where workers can live, ideas can synergize, and businesses can flourish. New companies should take note, however, that New York is a union town. I have full faith that the City and State will be able to resolve all outstanding issues including organized labor, infrastructure and capacity concerns.”

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) , Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, also chimed in praising Amazon saying Friday before the announcement,”This would be a tremendous victory, with the promise of good paying jobs, new careers and partnerships with our schools and local communities. Life in one borough will become a real option for thousands of new families. Bringing Amazon right here to Queens, when the entire country was trying to secure this new headquarters, would be a generational victory for all of us.”

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Blissville) saidLong Island City has been the beating heart of New York City since the modern city began at the turn of the last century.  With this announcement, our community is again poised to be the most successful mixed-use neighborhood in New York.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

“Talented residents new and long standing; skilled artists, artisans and activists, inventors and idealists, all call LIC home. They come from all over the world; from New York’s backyards and public housing, because they know New York City has the resources, the will and the drive for all to succeed and have a good life for themselves and their families. All are believers in New York as a beacon of excellence, equity and freedom. Long Island City Queens is the neighborhood of the fulfillment of their dreams, and this project can be another step in that future. I look forward to working on the success of this effort,” Nolan said.