NYC To Amazon: All This Could Be Yours

Screenshot: nycedc

Newly released proposal documents reveal the extent to which New York was willing to bend over backwards to win the bid for an Amazon branch office, as well as the sites the retail giant passed on in lieu of a hefty chunk of Long Island City.

The documents, which embarrassingly refer to New York as “THE DAY 1 CITY”—a reference to Bezos’s personal motto—tout a variety of business-friendly figures about the city: its comparatively low wages for app developers, its commuter infrastructure (debatable), and its willingness to provide a “range of cost saving financial incentives custom-made for Amazon.”

As noted by the Washington Post, Empire State Development even took the step of proposing the use of eminent domain to free up whatever Amazon may have wanted in the four sites proposed: Long Island City, the Hudson Yards area of Midtown West, lower Manhattan, and a slice of land between DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights. The largest of these site would have occupied 26.6 million square feet across 16 buildings.

ESD also pitched Governor’s Island as “an island retreat for Amazon to expand beyond HQ2,” including converting some of its structures, like a brick pre-war barracks, into “the perfect accommodation for employees visiting from around the country.”

By some estimates, the subsidies New York lavished on Amazon to eventually win one of the HQ2 bids may total around $US4.6 ($6) billion, and the process by which these sites were pitched and selected was obscured, not just from the public, but from local lawmakers—many of whom are making their displeasure known. The New York City Council is set to hold the first of three meetings meant to shed light on that process tomorrow.

Read the full proposal here.

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