With Amazon Out, It’s Time for NYC Businesses to Come Together
Like so many across New York City and the country, I was shocked and disappointed by Amazon’s announcement that it would be withdrawing from their plans to build its second headquarters in Long Island City. Its decision will cost New York tens of thousands of high-quality jobs and sends a cautionary message to companies around the world thinking about calling New York home.
In addition, this will leave a lasting negative impact on our city and state. Incentives aside, it is estimated that the state would have earned $14 billion in tax returns, and the city would have received around $13.5 billion in tax revenue over a 25-year period. This is not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that would have been made to Long Island City’s sidewalks, public open space and other infrastructure. These types of investments, along with $2.2 billion in additional infrastructure improvements planned for Long Island City, create high-quality middle-class jobs and keep our city strong.
Despite Amazon’s withdrawal, given that the majority of New Yorkers were supportive of the deal, it is clear that there is an appetite across the five boroughs for this type of economic development. Now, more than ever, we must learn from this situation and come together to secure the investments necessary to allow our great city to continue to thrive.
New York needs a strong middle-class workforce with good-paying jobs, which could have been provided by building HQ2. Amazon’s second headquarters would have put many New Yorkers to work with temporary and permanent construction jobs and tech and front-office positions. In the construction industry alone, the development of Amazon’s new campus in Long Island City would have created an estimated 1,300 jobs annually through 2034. From electricians to iron workers to laborers, these would have been jobs that provide a pipeline of middle-class opportunities—the exact types of jobs that industry leaders and elected officials should be focused on creating.
These opportunities don’t just benefit the New Yorkers hired for these jobs, but they cause a positive ripple effect across the region and strengthen the foundation of our middle class, which keeps our neighborhoods diverse and community-oriented.
Following Amazon’s decision, the building industry, business community and local elected and public officials must come together to ensure that New York attracts the types of companies that will allow us to continue to prosper. Amazon represented a tremendous opportunity, but make no mistake, others will undoubtedly follow. In the meantime, we need to ensure that New York has state-of-the art infrastructure and a commitment to building for the future—so that we’re ready when the next opportunity arises.
Now is not the time to hang our heads or give up on making this city even greater—that’s not what New York is about. Instead, we must focus on making our city an even more compelling location for today’s and tomorrow’s leading businesses. We must show the world that New York is still very much open for business.
Carlo Scissura is the president and CEO of the New York Building Congress.