One Court Square is perhaps the likeliest choice for Amazon's new headquarters. The 50-story office tower is slowly being vacated by Citigroup, which has decided to give up one million square feet of office space — far more than Amazon's initial requirement.
Valhouli said the building was the "natural choice" for Amazon, given its "visibility and symbolic value." As the tallest building in Queens, One Court Square is clearly identifiable from Manhattan along the East River. The fact that Amazon would replace Citigroup might also represent the increasing dominance in the city of technology firms over financial services groups.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the owner, Savannah, was already in talks with Amazon about leasing its vacant space to the retail giant.
In May, New York City announced an estimated $10 billion plan to start developing in Sunnyside, a middle-class neighborhood in the Western portion of Queens. The new development would span around 180 acres and include 19 schools, 52 acres of public parks, and up to 24,000 homes.
The year prior, the city conducted a feasibility study that found it was possible to build decking over the Sunnyside Railyards, which are owned by Amtrak and used by New Jersey Transit. The future development has drawn comparisons to Hudson Yards, a $25 billion neighborhood near the Eastern and Western Rail Yards in Manhattan.
According to Valhouli, something similar could be possible in Queens, but would be difficult to accomplish within Amazon's one-year timeline.
Waterfront sites have become increasingly popular among the tech community, with Boston locating its Seaport Innovation District along the South Boston Waterfront and Sidewalk Labs planning to build its Quayside neighborhood along the eastern waterfront in Toronto.
Long Island City is in the midst of developing its own waterfront megaproject in Hunter's Point South, which features 11 acres of green space. The site is also set to receive 1,120 new apartments, a 600-seat elementary school, and 40,000 square feet of retail and community space.
These amenities are bound to be attractive to Amazon, which has expressed a desire to locate in an area "where our employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities, and an overall high quality of life."
To the north of Hunter's Point is the Anable Basin, an artificial inlet that separates Brooklyn from Queens. In 2017, the developer TF Cornerstone proposed a $925 million mixed-use development in the area, which would include 400,000 square feet of office space.
Plaxall Realty has also put forward a plan for a 15-acre waterfront neighborhood in Anable Basin featuring nearly 1.5 million square feet of office, retail, arts, and cultural space.
Days before the Amazon announcement, Politico reported that the company was considering the Anable Basin as a potential HQ2 site, citing sources familiar with the plan.
Valhouli said the proposed rezoning of the land could make it a strong contender, though the development would likely exceed Amazon's timeline.
"The area of Newtown Creek in Long Island City could potentially be a perfect fit for a company giant such as Amazon," said Jessica Meis, a local real estate agent at Compass.
Though it's currently an industrial wasteland, Newtown Creek is the subject of a new revitalization plan that would bring more green space and public amenities to the 11-mile waterway. The neighborhood is located within blocks of the Long Island Rail Road and the East River Ferry system, giving it easy access to Manhattan.
Meis said the area "would be able to provide Amazon with the massive space needed to grow its operations."
As far as available land goes, her colleague, Cristina DeCurtis, pointed specifically to Dutch Kills, a working-class community with lots of underutilized warehouse and commercial space.
There's just one problem with the choice: Newtown Creek has been named a Superfund site by the EPA, meaning its hazardous contamination poses a risk to human health. That could be a deterrent for Amazon, which is committed to sustainable building.
Wherever the company decides to locate, there are plenty of options in Long Island City.
"What falls under the Long Island City umbrella is actually quite wide and varied," said DeCurtis. "[Amazon] could even go more north bordering Astoria, where there is so much potential."