The Real Deal New York

Inside New York’s pitch to Amazon

In a joint city and state proposal, sites were offered from Hudson Valley down to 3 World Trade Center and The Farley Building
December 11, 2018 08:12AM

From left: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Jeff Bezos, and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

A joint New York city and state proposal to lure Amazon to the region suggested using eminent domain to help secure property, according to a report.

As part of the bidding process the state’s Empire State Development and the city’s Economic Development Corporation offered up to $3 billion in tax breaks and a dozen sites in the state, including several in the city, according to the Wall Street Journal. Among the city sites offered were the Farley Building in Midtown West, 3 World Trade, and space along the Brooklyn waterfront. The company also had its selection from sites on Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley

The state’s ESD also offered to obtain property for the e-commerce giant in a bid to sweeten the deal.

“Subject to public approvals, ESD is empowered to acquire, encumber and dispose of any real property interest, including through eminent domain,” the proposal reportedly stated. “ESD can also override local zoning, offer tax subsidies while holding title to a property, and provide lower-cost financing or grants to economic development projects.”

The proposal was released ahead of a series of City Council hearings on the HQ2 bidding process. The efforts in 2017 has been criticized by local politicians and activists for being conducted in secret.

“We wanted to be fully transparent about actions we have taken on this project to date,” the EDC said in a statement to the Journal.

Amazon, in its selection for a new campus and promises of bringing 50,000 employees to the winning bidder, received over 200 applications from across the country but ultimately chose to split the operation between campuses in Long Island City and in Arlington, Virginia.

In Long Island City, the rents were much cheaper than other New York city sites, reportedly ranging from $24 to $49 a square foot. [WSJ] — David Jeans