Amazon's 8-million-square foot HQ2 site in Long Island City will use land previously designated for affordable housing

Amazon's 8-million-square foot HQ2 site in Long Island City will use land previously designated for affordable housing

long island city


Long Island City.

  • About a fifth of households are in poverty in Queens, the New York City borough where Amazon will place a large corporate campus.
  • Many New York residents are worried about how the HQ2 will affect their city, particularly the quality of life for low- and middle-income people.
  • Politico Pro reported on Thursday that two planned public housing sites have been subsumed by the proposed HQ2 site in Long Island City.

Since Amazon announced this week that they will locate one of their HQ2 offices in Long Island City, many New Yorkers have fretted about how an influx of 25,000 highly compensated Amazon employees will change their city.

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The influx of six-figure labor will likely boost rents in Queens, where about a fifth of households are in poverty and affordable housing is already a struggle.

Already, the HQ2 is displacing plans to house low-income people in New York City. Politico Pro reported on Thursday that Amazon's eight million-square-foot headquarters will likely squash previous plans to build affordable housing on that site.


Plaxall, a plastics company, owns much of the land that Amazon plans to build on. As Politico Pro detailed, Plaxall was readying a proposal to build 4,995 new homes on that site. A quarter of those homes - 1,250 residences - would qualify as affordable housing, meaning it's fit for individuals earning as little as $18,000 annually.

However, most of that 14.7-acre site will become part of Amazon's office campus. Two acres will still be available for housing, but Politico Pro reported that Plaxall is unsure if that will still be a housing site.

Read more: Nashville will become a critical hub for Amazon's logistics business - but it doesn't mean there will also be a boom in warehouse jobs

"The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away," state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents Long Island City, told Politico Pro.

Developer TF Cornerstone also planned to build on what's now part of Amazon's HQ2 site. That negates at least 250 affordable housing units in Long Island City in an apartment building that would have had 1,000 residences.


These moves echo concerns that low-income Long Island City residents have already voiced. Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing project in the country, is next to Amazon's planned campus. The 6,000 residents of Queensbridge Houses have a median household income of $15,843, as The New York Times reported.

"What are they going to do for the community? Are they going to guarantee us employment opportunities?" April Simpson, the president of Queensbridge Tenants Association, told the Times. "I'm worried about, when they come, they're not going to have opportunities for people. Not just people from Queensbridge - but other lower- and middle-income people in this area."

Read the entire Politico Pro article here.