Wednesday 12 December 2018
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Businessinsider - 25 days ago

New Yorkers are making lots of doomsday predictions about Amazon’s HQ2. Here are all the things that could make it a disaster.

Half of Amazon s second headquarters, known as HQ2, will be located in Long Island City, Queens, the company announced on Tuesday. The news has sparked fear and outrage among local residents, who worry about climbing rents, crowded subways, and crumbling infrastructure. These fears are not unfounded. As Amazon prepares to move 25,000 employees to Long Island City, and constructs a new headquarters along the Anable Basin, the area could face issues of homelessness, displacement, and the shuttering of small businesses. New York s governor may be rejoicing at the news that Amazon will move half of its second headquarters to Long Island City, Queens, but the mood among residents is one of outrage and despair. A day after the announcement, New Yorkers gathered at a rally in Queens led by two local politicians who ardently oppose the move: Senator Michael Gianaris and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. It may be cold outside, but I am steaming mad, Van Bramer told the crowd on Wednesday. Just this morning, several residents contacted us to say there s no heat in Queensbridge. But somehow folks who consider themselves progressive Democrats have seen fit to throw $3 billion to the richest man in the world. In the background, protestors held angry signs with phrases like Scamazon and Rent hikes now with two-day shipping. Read more: Everything we know about Amazon s HQ2 development in Long Island City, Queens Though it s impossible to predict the impact of HQ2, many urban experts are worried about what 25,000 new employees and a multi-billion-dollar headquarters could do to the already-fragile Long Island City. Ahead of Amazon s arrival, residents have complained of overcrowded schools, bottle-necked subways, and failing infrastructure. Commuters say the the 7 line, the most direct route from Long Island City to Midtown Manhattan, is entirely congested during peak hours and roads on the Queensboro Bridge aren t much better. These issues could become worse as Amazon begins its slow takeover along the Anable Basin, an artificial inlet in Long Island City that separates Queens from Brooklyn. Here are all of the realistic, yet nightmarish scenarios that could occur in Long Island City after the tech giant moves in.The subway could become even more unbearable. There s good news and bad news for riders of the MTA. On the one hand, Amazon employees commuting to Long Island City would be going against rush hour traffic. On the other, New York s subway system is already plagued by overcrowding and delays, making it ill-equipped to handle more passengers. If there s no reliability because the signals don t work and the cars are too old, then it doesn t matter what the capacity is, Danny Pearlstein, the policy and communications director at Riders Alliance, told Business Insider. While Amazon has pledged to provide $600 million for transit and infrastructure improvements in the next four decades, the MTA estimates that New York would need $37 billion to fix its crumbling subway system. Read more: I ve lived near Long Island City for more than a decade. Here s why an Amazon HQ2 in Queens may be a disaster.

Real estate prices could skyrocket. In just a few short years, Long Island City has become increasingly unaffordable for both renters and homeowners. In the Hunters Point neighborhood, the area where many Amazon employees are likely to locate, the median home value is around $1.2 million more than five times the national average, according to data from Trulia. A recent analysis from home loan and mortgage company Mr. Cooper found that Amazon s HQ2 could drive up home prices in its chosen city by nearly 30%. The same effect could apply to rents as well. At around $2,700 per month, rents in Hunters Point are nearly double the national average. Throughout all of the city, rents have increased by more than 5% from year to year. If rising rents in Seattle the site of Amazon s current headquarters are any indication of what s to come, many Long Island City residents could soon be priced out.

Renters could struggle to find an apartment. Data from real estate site RENTCaf shows that apartments in Long Island City have exceeded 98% occupancy. With around 700 Amazon employees set to move into the city by 2019, that could make it difficult to find a place to live, and potentially drive up prices in the near future. The good news is that Long Island City has around 15,400 apartment units under construction, though not all of them will be affordable for current residents.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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