NYC is on the hunt for an Amazon replacement in Queens

Officials recently met with property owners, developers and leaders there about possible development plan, Politico reports

Bill de Blasio and Vicki Been and One Court Square (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia)
Bill de Blasio and Vicki Been and One Court Square (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia)

Though Amazon has moved on from its plans to bring a corporate campus to Long Island City, the city hasn’t given up on the Queens neighborhood housing a megaproject just yet.

New York City officials are now looking to develop several waterfront sites there and recently met with local stakeholders to talk about building a development framework for the area, Politico reported.

Earlier this month, officials from the Economic Development Corporation and Department of City Planning sat down with property owners and developers connected to three large LIC sites to talk about a new vision for the area, according to Politico. Two of those sites were supposed to be for Amazon’s project. City officials then met with local community boards about gathering feedback on a possible rezoning — before undertaking such an endeavor.

Before Amazon announced last year that it had selected Long Island City as one of two new sites for its corporate “headquarters,” the Queens neighborhood had been eyed for its development potential. But those plans, including another potential rezoning in 2015, never fully materialized, according to Politico.

The city needs to figure out ways to make sure that development at the site doesn’t trigger the same backlash the Amazon deal did.

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The tech giant said it would bring tens of thousands of jobs to the city and build an 8-million-square-foot campus on land owned by the EDC and the Plaxall family. It tapped TF Cornerstone to build part of its campus and nearly signed a 1 million-square-foot office lease at Savanna’s One Court Square. The announcement also kicked off a flurry of residential activity in the neighborhood that has since quieted after the firm abandoned its plans.

But local officials, labor groups and residents lashed against Amazon’s anti-union labor practices and the $3 billion incentive package the e-commerce Goliath would receive.

The opposition led Amazon to back out of the deal on Valentine’s Day.

Despite the potential of the waterfront, it’s not yet clear what the city’s new vision will entail.

“What I think is unacceptable is to have seven different … private applications coming forward,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents LIC, told Politico. “Rather, i think what we need is a comprehensive plan that is inclusive of community needs and demands from the beginning.”

[Politico]Mary Diduch