On Tuesday, November 13, delivery mega-company Amazon announced that it intends to build its long-awaited HQ2 (second main headquarters) in two parts: one in Arlington, Virginia (just outside of Washington, D.C.), and the other in Queens, New York. While some city and state officials from both of the "winning" locations have long courted Amazon in hopes that HQ2 would bring a welcome influx of jobs and capital to the local economy, residents in Queens and Arlington awoke to a living nightmare.
Amazon is receiving massive tax breaks for deciding to locate in New York and Virginia.
Amazon will get up to $2.2 billion in incentives for bringing new offices and jobs to New York City, Northern Virgi… https://t.co/p2xUYoc9JH— CNBC (@CNBC)1542124301.0
Fascinating: New York is giving Amazon $1.5 billion in "direct incentives" to locate HQ2 there. (or ~$61,000 per jo… https://t.co/q4MtYK3fH5— Heather Long (@Heather Long)1542124124.0
If HQ2 is anything like HQ1, it's likely to cause a crisis in places already in dire straits when it comes to housing and infrastructure.
This is likely to strain transportation and hurt housing affordability in Queens. Amazon’s track record of positive… https://t.co/Hu0bu1ZRlt— Bryan Menegus (@Bryan Menegus)1542077839.0
Note that Amazon isn't paying for infrastructure improvements in NY - rather, NY is paying Amazon with the money th… https://t.co/W7tR7ivhRE— saschasegan (@saschasegan)1542123144.0
If Seattle is an example, the new Amazon hubs could bring housing crises to Queens and northern Virginia. https://t.co/TKyfAvvo2Y— Axios (@Axios)1542115283.0
A big question: How many of Amazon's 45,000 current (and many future) Seattle employees would flee to HQ2? Most of… https://t.co/zaVxFM1ZEp— Mike Rosenberg (@Mike Rosenberg)1542085211.0
Rent prices could skyrocket, forcing local, long-time residents out of their homes, which will likely be taken by techies moving to the city for the first time.
NEW: Amazon’s coming to Crystal City. And housing advocates worry that the tech giant’s arrival will exacerbate exi… https://t.co/jjpvsXAkmu— Tracy Jan (@Tracy Jan)1542113188.0
Washington, DC: Big winner or big loser in Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes? Winner: DC solidifies tech appeal, doesn't giv… https://t.co/ld7fmohyP7— Nathan Bomey (@Nathan Bomey)1542118000.0
At moments like this, many in New York and Virginia wish they were among the lucky losers.
Just remember the real winners are any city who did not shell out cash to have their rental and housing prices destroyed by Amazon.— Beefy Trendsetter (@Beefy Trendsetter)1542121936.0
From our Editorial Board earlier today: “In the case of Amazon, the benefits of many new jobs could easily be outwe… https://t.co/Gt0dlNucxr— Philly.com (@Philly.com)1542082179.0
L.A. loses Amazon’s HQ2 bid, and the reaction is… “Thank God. We have record low unemployment, skyrocketing housin… https://t.co/9P1kngGlNz— Laura J. Nelson 🦅 (@Laura J. Nelson 🦅)1542122698.0
Twitter users were not thrilled at all about HQ2.
Amazon got what it wanted (tons of data, few promises made, many promises gained). Look, I'm sorry. I was wary of H… https://t.co/iuM1wdzoyj— Virginia Montanez (@Virginia Montanez)1542113521.0
NYC is being starved of resources by the wealthiest few & biggest corporations. Our city is crumbling. We can’t pay… https://t.co/VZDUwcrGYs— Nomiki Konst 🌹 (@Nomiki Konst 🌹)1542124601.0
What's in store: —NYC taxpayers paying somewhere b/n $45-65k per new job (& jobs not guaranteed, see Foxconn) —Mas… https://t.co/xIVePX2nRk— Alex Kotch 🔥🚲 (@Alex Kotch 🔥🚲)1542123004.0
Many called on their government representatives to stop this from happening!
Thank god New York City has a "progressive" major and a "Democratic" governor so we can <checks notes> hand out $1.… https://t.co/GPeK2AaBOP— max berger🔥🌹 (@max berger🔥🌹)1542124493.0
I don't want Amazon. I want a metro line that doesn't catch fire and housing that people can afford lol.— kelsey mckinney (@kelsey mckinney)1542123747.0
In the meantime, housing is already being sold at startling rates.
Brokers say they are selling Long Island City units via text message, sometimes sight unseen. The Amazon HQ effect… https://t.co/QbylDsuKMv— Ben Kesling (@Ben Kesling)1542122820.0
Some officials remain optimistic that bringing in a new Amazon HQ will be good for the cities involved.
DC Mayor Bowser says "Amazon in Arlington is a win for DC" and an "opportunity" for the region to collaborate on tr… https://t.co/9YL4J6Nily— Andrew Giambrone (@Andrew Giambrone)1542122087.0
.@Amazon’s decision to locate to Long Island City is an affirmation not only of NYC’s growing tech talent, but also… https://t.co/Qxc8WKFnLZ— Mike Bloomberg (@Mike Bloomberg)1542123051.0
Others were more skeptical...
How many of those jobs will go to NYers? How many will go to locals w/o tech experience? What help with Amazon prov… https://t.co/bSjLKLy9zc— Dan Saltzstein (@Dan Saltzstein)1542125950.0
Among the most prominent voices criticizing Amazon's new location was Queens Congressional Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made national headlines by upsetting Rep. Joe Crowley in an unapologetically progressive primary.
We’ve been getting calls and outreach from Queens residents all day about this. The community’s response? Outrage. https://t.co/Jl4OIfa4gC— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542084013.0
Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at… https://t.co/XXM690nD0v— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542084289.0
When we talk about bringing jobs to the community, we need to dig deep: - Has the company promised to hire in the e… https://t.co/cS8dSCfRoJ— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542084668.0
Displacement is not community development. Investing in luxury condos is not the same thing as investing in people… https://t.co/e9BGNKq70o— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542085424.0
We need to focus on good healthcare, living wages, affordable rent. Corporations that offer none of those things sh… https://t.co/Dq9pZ8xOO3— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542085673.0
Lastly, this isn’t just about one company or one headquarters. It’s about cost of living, corps paying their fair s… https://t.co/FxanVC4GcG— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1542086452.0
It's unclear whether Amazon's presence will have a positive impact, but advocates for residents are unanimous in their warnings: something must be done to avert housing, infrastructure, and public transportation crises.
Anita Bonds, who oversees housing committee, was grim and said Amazon announcement accelerated need to invest more… https://t.co/ScR3JNXaEA— Fenit Nirappil (@Fenit Nirappil)1542124960.0