Amazon’s second headquarters is coming to New York, according to rumors. If it’s true, “it’s the biggest success for New York in 10 years,” says Marcus & Millichap’s Eric Anton. The area where the new HQ2 would be settled is Long Island City in Queens, where “a forest of apartment towers sitting dark at night as a metaphor for the area’s challenge with new residential supply.” Or – like “The Real Deal – New York Real Estate News” puts it – “glut of new apartments and commercial space could have been a key selling point.”
Just a five years ago – when Alessandro and I wrote “Tech and the City” – this part of Queens had a long way to go before becoming another center of New York high-tech. It didn’t have a ‘cool factor’. However Long Island City holds the record for playing host to the largest dot-com to have successfully survived the bursting of the bubble in 2000. This was none other than FreshDirect.com, a model of eCommerce in the food sector, studied and imitated by so many on both sides of the Atlantic (it has recently moved to the Bronx). Since 2012, Long Island City has also become one of the world centers for a new way to mass produce goods using 3D printers. Shapeways, the startup that wants to “make things possible, easy and inexpensive, and manufacture any object created by anyone for whomever” has a large factory here, and recently announced it got $30M in new funding led by Lux Capital, which will accelerate its expansion.
Another boost to Long Island City’s becoming a new tech area is the CornellTech campus on Roosevelt Island that is located directly opposite this bank of the river.
Savills Studley’s Jeff Peck noted that Amazon could help transform Long Island City from a neighborhood seen as a satellite to Manhattan’s office market into a destination all of its own. “The same thing happened in Midtown South and the Meatpacking District,” he said. “Tech behemoths like Facebook and Twitter made those submarkets their homes. And then the mid-tier and smaller tech companies followed suit.”