Amazon HQ Is Going to NYC and Arlington, Virginia

Jeff Bezos CEO and founder of Amazon at the introduction of the new Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite personal devices in Santa Monica Calif. Thursday Sept. 6 2012


A three-bedroom condo with Manhattan views that had sat on the market for months, priced at $1.7 million, is suddenly drawing would-be buyers now that Amazon has announced plans to build part of its new second headquarters in Long Island City.

"I'm really glad it's coming", said Karla Massey, who works in the Pentagon City neighborhood of Arlington that is part of the new Amazon headquarters area.

But Long Island City has experienced a drastic and rapid transformation over the past few years (it's been dubbed the fastest-growing neighborhood in the city and in the country) as it undergoes the effects of gentrification, according to the Long Island City Post. Real estate agents say they're hearing from investors who'd like to become landlords and from sellers who've chose to pull their homes off the market, sit back and wait for prices to go up, up, up.

The two localities already reflect the ultra-pricey NY and Washington metro areas, though real estate sales there had been relatively modest of late. That's because the pending moves will shift Amazon from the "MVP" employer role it plays here, to a mere "VIP" employer position in two of America's largest, most robust locales. In those cities, low- and moderate-income families increasingly struggle to afford housing anywhere near their workplaces.

Amazon has sought to downplay the importance of incentives to its headquarters-expansion process, saying that access to a talented workforce was paramount - a position it reiterated in a statement Wednesday when asked about the discrepancies between its own estimates of taxpayer incentives and the numbers provided by New York City and cited by Good Jobs First. Meanwhile, the average cost of a single-family house has increased by almost 90 percent to an average price of $844,000.

A coalition of nonprofit groups warned that Amazon's arrival will likely worsen housing affordability for many lower-income workers in the two cities.

"Either you're part of the economy of tomorrow or you're part of the economy of yesterday", Cuomo said during yesterday's press conference.

The announcement has roiled many, including Rep. -elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is calling the deal an example of corporate cronyism. Other state and local governments offered a lot more, including at least $8.5 billion on behalf of Montgomery County, Maryland, and $7 billion for Newark, New Jersey.

'Substantial progress' made on massive China trade deal that excludes US
Numerous leaders in Singapore will also meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Papua New Guinea next weekend. The Philippines and China have overlapping claims in the South China Sea, along with Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Crystal City on the other hand may find it tougher, with just 3,100 units under construction and no major development projects over the last two years.

Curtis, a longtime fixture in Austin's political and economic development circles, says he'd hoped Amazon would add 5,000 to 10,000 HQ2 jobs in Austin.

Governor Cuomo wasn't the only NY politician spinning the Amazon news for all he was worth.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson gave the bird to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's promise to let Jeff Bezos land his whirly bird on the new Amazon campus planned for Long Island City. "But I don't believe it's going to be such a huge increase as everyone might be speculating", Austad said. Amazon's presence in Seattle has contributed to a skyrocketing cost of living, with no relief in sight. Homelessness has worsened. Over the past five years, the median home value in Seattle has rocketed 73 percent to $739,600, according to an analysis by the real estate firm Zillow, which is also based there. "Long Island City doesn't strike me as high on the list for needing extensive tax incentives to stimulate economic development".

"We know that nearly three-fourths of our candidates say that salary is important", said Patel, whose firm regularly surveys thousands of Amazon's job applicants each year.

The state will also spend some $200 million in infrastructure improvements including in mass transit, and a pedestrian bridge to the adjacent Reagan National Airport, and create a new campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute on the site, offering masters degrees in computer science and related fields, Northam said.

"If Amazon was pursuing subsidies, it made the wrong decision", said Michael Ferren, a research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center.

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