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Amazon’s Second Headquarters Seek Potential Host City

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By Victor Ordonez

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. advocates for the Bronx to host Amazon’s Second Headquarters. (Courtesy of Facebook)

New York officials have primed their plans to have Amazon build its second headquarters in one of the five boroughs. If successful, Amazon said its new five-billion-dollar headquarters would supply the city with over 50,000 jobs.
The Bronx is taking part in a race not only against other cities, but other boroughs in New York City.

“The Bronx has seen incredible progress on job creation and economic development in recent years,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in a statement. “Amazon would be a tremendous new addition to our borough, and we look forward to discussing their proposal for a new headquarters, and how The Bronx could host them, in the near future. The Bronx is a prime location for Amazon’s next home.”

Amazon is seeking a city with more than one million people who can provide a stable and business-friendly environment with the ability to “attract and retain strong technical talent,” according to its press release.

The company has the dubbed the developing project “HQ2.” Experts have considered New York City to be a less likely candidate to host HQ2 due to high costs of living. Amazon’s current headquarters is based out of Seattle; a city with much lower rent.

This is not Diaz’s first run-in with Amazon – he wondered whether the Bronx and eastern Queen’s exemption from same-day delivery was an act of “digital redlining” in a letter to Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon. Redlining is the practice of denying services to an area based on ethnic or racial backgrouds, according to NPR.

New York’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) on Friday issued a “request for expression of interest.” This means that officials have requested project proposals that outline what Amazon would require to build a suitable HQ2 in one of the boroughs.

“Like Amazon, New York is constantly reinventing itself,” said the EDC’s request. “It is the only city in North America that can accommodate the future growth that Amazon shows every intent of achieving.”

The project could potentially provide at least 500,000 square feet to HQ2 by 2019 and up to eight million square feet after 2027. All of the potential locations for HQ2 New York would be near mass transit and within two miles of major highways.

The proposition also mentioned New York’s growing tech force. NYC is currently home to over 50,000 tech jobs and the number is estimated to surpass nine million by 2040, according to New York City’s Labor Statistics Committee.

The proposal went on to reference recent investments in applied sciences at Columbia, NYU, Cornell and other New York institutions of higher learning. The opening of Cornell tech, along with the mini-city rising at Hudson Yard, illustrates New York’s promise to deliver “large scale, transformational projects,” according to the proposal.

City committees from every borough of NYC have been racing to submit enticing proposals for Amazon. However, HQ2 may not prove to be entirely beneficial for NYC. Seattle residents have faced dramatic displacement effects largely-in-part to Amazon’s main HQ.

Seattle’s rent and real-estate prices have consistently risen ever since Amazon’s placement. Houses in the tri state that were worth $400,000 in 2013 are now worth nearly $550,000 on average, according to a study from Spectrum Development Solutions. The study also observed a double in the number of local traffic jams that correlate to the arrival of Amazon’s HQ.

None of these concerns have impeded local officials’ efforts to settle the tech giant into the New York area. Politicians have reiterated the already existing connections to Amazon, such as the company’s asset centers in Staten Island and Sunset Park.
“With several prime options along Brooklyn’s Innovation Coast already in construction, stretching from Sunset Park to Williamsburg, we can accommodate your immediate and long-term needs,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams penned in an open letter to the company, as City & State reported.

The Bronx has tried to get other companies and services to the outer borough. Last year, elected officials in the Bronx signed a letter to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, to demand an Apple store. There are currently none.

Diaz and other elected officials in the Bronx in support of expanding Citi Bike to the borough. The Department of Transportation is negotiating with Citi Bike officials to make the bike-sharing service a reality in the Bronx.

 

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