Possible Amazon sites are an opportunity for urban awakening

(Bloomberg) – When you leave the Crystal City subway station in Arlington, Virginia, the situation in the local real estate market is recorded in surprising colors on canvas covering empty office towers.

Living forms, in contrast to the bureaucratic architecture of the neighborhood's 60s, are a sign for future tenants sent by the owner of the buildings. Local people assume that the colored banners are intended to capture the attention of Amazon.com Inc., which is looking for a year and across the country for a second position. And it could have worked.

Amazon, based in Seattle, is about to reach agreements that could divide a second site for the giant of e-commerce between Crystal City and Long Island City, in the Queens district of New York, according to people who are familiar with research.

"Crystal City and Long Island City are real parallel neighborhoods," said Jenny Schuetz, a member of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. "They do not have much charm or identity, but it will be relatively easy for Amazon to put their brand on them."

Like Crystal City, Long Island City is a neighborhood that seeks to change its destiny. While Crystal City intends to replace the tenants of the government it has lost, Long Island City faces a different problem. The dizzying residential growth has surpassed the school, transport and sewage systems.

Queens is the most diverse district in New York City and has the second largest population, with about 2.4 million people, making it bigger than 15 states in the United States. Long Island City has abundant high-end housing and has the largest public housing project in the country.

Reinventarse

The western border of Queens has been reinvented for years, attracting investment in biotechnology, film studios and coastal development.

"We can see Cornell Tech, life sciences, Amazon that converges on Long Island City as a creative center where all these people mingle in a new space for this century," said Alan Suna, executive director of Silvercup Studios, Ha Amazon's television programming as one of its customers. "There's plenty of room for new buildings that can accommodate this new technology."

The east bank of the East River, now filled with residential towers with panoramic views of Manhattan, was dominated by warehouses and factories. Its transformation began in the early 2000s with the first of a series of rezonings.

"The urban planning department thought they would become artists and singles and became families in Manhattan who just had their first child," said Brent O & # 39; Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association. come on Amazon, we need jobs. But we really need help with the infrastructure ".

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced last week that the district will receive a capital injection of 180 million US dollars to build and improve schools, roads and parks. The investments will include US $ 95 million for the improvement of the sewerage and drainage network; US $ 60 million for a new school; US $ 10 million for road reconstruction and US $ 15 million for park improvements.

"New York is Amazon's most important market, and this is a place where they want to build their presence," said Kathryn Wylde, executive director of the non-profit Partnership for New York. "But they also want to maximize their influence in the federal government since the legal and federal regulatory environment is increasingly involved in their affairs, so it makes sense that they are in Washington."

The area, which once housed scrap yards and motels, was developed during the '60s amid growing demand for office space. During its heyday, Crystal City attracted major government agencies, but it never fully recovered after a few trips.

The US Patent and Trademark Office ended in 2005 and many US Department of Defense workers. they moved as part of the process of realignment and federal closure started in the same year.

Original note: Amazon's Top Office choices offer empty lists for urban revivals

– With the collaboration of Rob Urban, Justina Vasquez and Henry Goldman.

Reporter in the original story: Lily Katz in New York, lkatz31@bloomberg.net, Patrick Clark in New York, pclark55@bloomberg.net

Editor responsible for the original note: Debarati Roy, droy5@bloomberg.net, Rob Urban, Christine Maurus

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© 2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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