Exit Amazon Reversal of the Retail Giant's HQ2 Plan Impacts LIC

Long Island City (King of Hearts via Wikimedia Commons)

Updated 2/19/19

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn't the only person disappointed about Amazon pulling out of the controversial deal to bring its second headquarters to Long Island City.  The online retailing giant’s surprising reversal on February 14 following tremendous opposition also elicited an unhappy response from New York's real estate industry, which had expected the deal - and it's promise of 25,000 new jobs - to boost home values and sales in the neighborhood.

Eric Benaim, CEO of Long Island City brokerage Modern Spaces, didn't mince words when he told Bloomberg News in the aftermath of the decision: “I think those local politicians, their careers are over. They’re responsible for losing 25,000 jobs.” He also told NBC New York that there had been an increase in real estate business Long Island City last November and December around the time the agreement to bring Amazon HQ2 was first announced, with some Amazon employees reportedly purchasing homes in advance.

Broker Ryan Serhant of the Bravo reality series Million Dollar Listing New York, told CNBC's Squawkbox that Amazon's change of heart had prompted concern from his buyers: "We put, I think, 15 different apartments into contract, purely speculatively, based on the Amazon move. All 15 of those buyers called yesterday, freaking out, saying, 'Should I pull my deposit, can I get it back? Is there an Amazon contingency in my contract?'"

In a statement, John Banks of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) acknowledged the potential losses triggered by the canceled deal, but also reaffirmed the city’s unique status as a destination for commerce and technology.  “New York’s renaissance over the past 40 years has been due in part to our ability to work through difficult issues that have led to record population and job growth and the emergence of our city as a true global capital," he said. "It’s unfortunate that we have lost out on an opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs for city residents and generate billions of dollars in tax revenue to fund vital services including infrastructure improvements for transportation, schools, and open space. Nevertheless, New York City is still open for business and will retain its status as a world-class center for tech and innovation.”


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  • AOC had very little to do with it. And the Chicken Littles (Whalen, Haber, etc.) are mostly interested in their own pockets; the nabe is fine and other business will come... the ground has been prepared.