It isn’t yet clear exactly where Amazon.com Inc. would fit its Long Island City (LIC) offices, should the e-commerce giant pick Queens for its second headquarters.
Politico recently reported that a sprawling, family-owned waterfront site surrounding the Anable Basin is a likely spot. However, another option could be further away from the river and closer to LaGuardia Community College.
Jessica Millett, co-chair of the tax department at Duval & Stachenfeld LLP, predicts that the Seattle-based company will pick a large industrial area on the fringe of the CUNY campus.
"That area is ripe for development," she told me.
LaGuardia president Gail Mellow also noted the "unique density of activity" centered around LaGuardia’s campus, to attract and link residents, students, employees and tech companies.
"We have championed and created opportunities for our diverse constituencies, including the City’s low-income residents as well as our homegrown workforce, to plug into the many opportunities that the area offers to connect with tech businesses. LaGuardia enthusiastically supports Amazon’s potential move to Long Island City for a very specific reason – to create new economic development opportunities for the underrepresented populations we serve, including our talented, first-generation college students, as well as our qualified job-ready workers. Amazon has a unique opportunity to think strategically about building stronger partnerships with institutions like LaGuardia so that we can develop a shared understanding of the talent and workforce needs, and expand opportunities for practical training."
LaGuardia Community College isn't the only New York school excited for an Amazon arrival. Cornell Tech, where Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) recently signed a 10,900 square-foot lease on the school's new Roosevelt Island campus, praised the pending move for what it could do for its graduates.
Cornell Tech’s chief practice officer Josh Hartmann said:
New York City’s tech industry continues to expand rapidly, and Cornell Tech is at the heart of it. The campus is spinning out hundreds of graduates each year – among the top tech talent in the country – as well as groundbreaking, impactful research that is solidifying New York’s ranking as the nation’s most diverse tech hub. If Amazon chooses to come to New York, they’ll join a dynamic and growing community in close proximity to an exceptional pool of talent at Cornell Tech, and everything else that makes New York City a great place for innovation.
New York University also believes Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) would influence its student base. NYU spokesperson John Beckman confirmed :
NYU, like other universities in the city, worked with the City on its submission to Amazon, and is supportive of the efforts to bring Amazon to NY. We’re excited by the prospect of Amazon's presence, which will enable our talented students to connect with good jobs in New York City.
Amazon announced in September last year that it was seeking a site for a second corporate headquarters that would eventually employ up to 50,000 people. But it now plans to split its new headquarters between two sites, including Long Island City, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Not everyone is looking forward to an Amazon construction boom. That's because many residents appreciate LIC the way it is.
Back in 1990, Citigroup drew the ire of many locals when it transformed LIC with One Court Square — a 50-story office tower (the tallest building in New York outside of Manhattan).
Amazon would likely transform the quiet Queens enclave in ways the New York banking giant never could. From housing prices and retail development to public transportation and traffic congestion, Amazon "HQ2" will have a ripple effect throughout the neighborhood.
“I don’t know if it’s an upgrade or a downgrade,” says 88-year-old LIC resident Vincenzo Cerbone.