Since Amazon announced that it would issue a request for proposals for a new, 8 million square foot North American headquarters, cities have bent over backwards to try and woo the retail giant to their metro areas. And while New York has been viewed as a possible contender from day one, Brooklyn developers and lawmakers are hoping to make the case for the borough as the best choice.
Brooklyn has one obvious advantage over Manhattan: space. There aren’t too many places on the island where an enormous campus could go, so Kings County—with its tech-friendly commercial spaces like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Industry City—could have an advantage.
And Brooklyn developers are hoping that will help sway Amazon; according to Crain’s, a group of firms including Rubenstein Partners, Forest City, and Jamestown (which is one of the owners of the massive Industry City complex) will band together to make the case for Brooklyn to Amazon.
“Brooklyn's innovation coast from Williamsburg to Sunset Park has numerous opportunities for a campus-like environment with an ecosystem of academic institutions, a skilled labor force, bedroom communities and culture,” Andrew Kimball, the CEO of Industry City, told Crain’s.
Setting aside the cringe-worthy term “innovation coast,” he’s not wrong; while there are few planned commercial spaces that are as large as Amazon is ultimately seeking, there are plenty of smaller ones—Domino Sugar’s the Refinery, or the huge office complex at 25 Kent Avenue—that could accommodate the first, 500,000-square-foot portion of what the corporation is looking for.
Developers aren’t the only ones who want to see Amazon in Brooklyn; Borough President Eric Adams teamed up with Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Hoan on a campaign called “Brooklyn Prime” (cringe). According to City & State, the pair are hoping to bring business owners and other pols on board to make the case for Brooklyn.
“Our one-of-a-kind energy is what has been attracting innovators, freedom riders, and immigrants from every other place on Earth,” a very effusive letter to Amazon reads. “[W]hat has more than 2.6 million people waking up here every day, what has young scholars selecting our schools, and what has the public and private sectors investing billions of dollars here.”
Time will tell if Brooklyn has a shot—Boston was rumored to be a front-runner, while Denver, Chicago, and Austin are all seen as better choices, according to prognosticators (who are, as you might expect, having a field day here).