BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Amazon has announced that it is looking for a location to develop its second headquarters—which would be known as Amazon HQ2—and Sunnyside Yard is reportedly among the spots it is eyeing.
Earlier this year, the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) released its $2.5 million Sunnyside Yard feasibility study, which evaluated the viability of decking over active rail and facilities currently at the site to make way for housing units, retail space, parks and schools. Sunnyside Yard—which currently serves as a storage hub for Amtrak, the New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road—sits on approximately 180 acres of land in western Queens.
Grant Long, a senior economist at StreetEasy, a local real estate marketplace in New York City, spoke to the Queens Tribune to discuss the possibility of Amazon HQ2’s being built above Sunnyside Yard.
“Sunnyside Yard is the best fit,” said Long. “Through this project, people within the community can get good jobs.”
Amazon HQ2, which would seek up to eight million square feet of commercial space, is expected to create 50,000 high-paying jobs that offer an average salary of more than $100,000.
Long said that these salaries would enable workers at the new headquarters to afford apartments or condos at the numerous buildings constructed in Court Square, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Williamsburg and Long Island City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he is committed to creating or preserving 200,000 affordable units in the five boroughs by 2024, but has only been able to create 80,000 thus far by relying on the private sector. Long said that Amazon could be a partner to secure the remaining 120,000 affordable units to meet the mayor’s goal.
Long said that Sunnyside Yard is also near 13 subway stations, including the LIRR and 7 train—which connects to Grand Central Station. He said that this makes the site an even better fit for Amazon HQ2.
Long cited Netflix, Slack and Spotify as companies with offices in New York City, and believes that this could attract Amazon and other similar companies to relocate to the five boroughs.
“Large cities across the country do it,” said Long. “When you have a bunch of similar companies in the same space, it attracts people to those jobs. A lot of companies are coming to New York because it’s a city of skilled workers.”
Earlier this month, Amazon stated that its new headquarters could eventually entail $5 billion in capital investment.
The Sunnyside Yard project is projected to cost approximately $19 billion. The EDC’s study has detailed three possible scenarios for the site that would include between 14,000 and 24,000 housing units, as many as 5,300 parking spots, anywhere from 500,000 to 900,000 square feet of retail space, up to 19 new schools and community facilities.
For more information on why Long thinks Amazon HQ2 should come to Sunnyside Yard, see their recent blog.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.