New Amazon HQ is a Win for New York

Amazon's decision to move to Long Island City validates New York City as a global leader in creativity, innovation and economic power. It represents the single largest economic development project in New York State history.

What does it mean for New York?

The fact that Amazon is choosing a borough outside of Manhattan marks the culmination of a long-term City and State economic development strategy to diversify our economy throughout the five boroughs.

The addition of 25,000 jobs, many of them high-paying jobs, will benefit the entire City. Thousands more jobs will be created to develop the Amazon campus and surrounding areas. Amazon’s decision means that Long Island City will continue to be home to considerable economic activity.

The news means a vast windfall of increased tax revenue for both the City and the State. Despite some criticism over the economic incentive package, the agreement will more than pay for itself. The State estimates the return on the investment will be roughly 9 to 1. Revenue generated from income tax on new employees, among other sources of revenue, will create billions of dollars to further improve infrastructure, public schools and other vital city services. The long-lasting and life changing benefits to New Yorkers in the form of police officers, fire fighters, schoolteachers, parks, libraries, and other vital city services are substantial enough to put any criticisms to rest. We need a prosperous economy to help fund progressive polices.

A new report by the Regional Plan Association smartly points out that the potential that Amazon’s move to LIC will mean a push for greater investment in projects that would benefit affordable housing, expanding mass transit and protecting Long Island City from climate change.

Bolstering the RPA’s report is the fact that Amazon itself has already promised to invest heavily in Long Island City. That includes donating space for local artists and technological innovators on the campus in addition to a new school – and even investments in infrastructure and sustainable green space. Moreover, the company will promote workforce development at the neighboring Queensbridge Houses.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s LIC Core Neighborhood Study has already done the initial legwork to identify the potential for permanent affordable housing opportunities in corridors adjacent to Amazon HQ2. Those efforts must continue.

Finally, the Amazon decision means that the substantial investments that City Hall and Albany have made on public green space, affordable housing, public schools and other areas have paid off. The City is thriving, and the world’s most profitable and powerful companies want to move here to be part of it themselves. I can think of no bigger compliment to administrations past and present than that.

Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, Empire State Development and the city and state’s Economic Development teams deserve credit for making this deal happen. New York City will continue to thrive for years to come as a result.