Amazon is eyeing a return to New York City
28 May 2019
Amazon may have bid farewell to Queens, but it still “hearts” the Big Apple.
After walking away from a deal to build a headquarters on the Queens waterfront in Long Island City, Amazon is back to shopping for office space on Manhattan’s West Side, sources tell The Post.
The tech giant has been in talks with owners of two shiny new skyscrapers located just one block west of Penn Station — the newly built One Manhattan West and its soon-to-be sister project, Two Manhattan West, sources tell The Post.
The online retailer is seeking “at least 100,000 square feet or much more” — just to start, one well-placed source said.
Amazon, which already has 5,000 workers in NYC, had been “seriously” looking at Two Manhattan West prior to choosing Long Island City in November, a second source said. “That interest has returned over the last few weeks,” the source added.
Brookfield, which owns the two Manhattan West towers (and another at 5 Manhattan West, where Amazon is already a tenant), denied through a spokesman that it was leasing to the Seattle company. But multiple sources pointed to the company’s strict confidentiality agreements as a potential reason.
“We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
At Two Manhattan West, Amazon is eyeing space at the top of the tower, sources said. The only issue is that the building, to be located on 31st Street and 9th Avenue, won’t be ready for tenants until 2022.
One Manhattan West, by contrast, will be ready for tenants to move in this fall, including a 250,000-square-foot space in the middle of the 67-story tower. The 250,000-square-foot space won’t be available long-term, but could satisfy Amazon’s space needs until Two Manhattan is ready, sources said.
Amazon also is considering space in the US Post Office building across the street, known as the James A. Farley building — a Vornado development that will boast office space across five levels and will be ready for tenants next May, sources said.
Amazon’s renewed focus on Manhattan so soon after dropping its plans for Queens is an apparent rebuke to the politicians who helped scuttle Amazon’s plans to build a 4 million-square-foot campus in LIC, including US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sources said.
Queens residents overwhelmingly supported plans for 25,000 new jobs with an average wage of $150,000, despite protests from Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians over $3.2 billion in capital grants and tax incentives, polls have shown.
One reason is that every job that Amazon brought to the area would have had a multiplier effect on five or more other local jobs, including at local coffee shops, dry cleaners and food franchises, said Alfredo Ortiz, president & CEO of the Job Creators Network.
Manhattan, by contrast, will barely register the growth, experts said.
“Frankly, that kind of activity gets lost in Manhattan,” said Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City.
The Long Island City deal would also have seen Amazon invest in a 600-seat public school; a workforce development and training space; an artists’ workspace; and 149,650 square feet of public open space, among other projects — all of which is now lost.
“The investment in Long Island City was going to create a whole cluster of activity around it,” Wylde explained. “No one is going to have that same impact in Manhattan unless you go to Upper Manhattan.”
By Lois Weiss
Source: NY Post