Amazon has inked a lease in midtown Manhattan less than a year after abruptly withdrawing from plans to bring half of its second North American headquarters to Queens, according to the the Seattle-based company.
The e-commerce giant has signed a lease for 335,000 square feet in the Hudson Yards neighborhood at SL Green’s 410 Tenth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets where it will have more than 1,500 employees, according to Amazon and the building's owner. The Wall Street Journal first reported the new lease.
The arrangement is Amazon’s largest expansion in New York City since the company abandoned plans to situate half of its second headquarters in Long Island City’s Anable Basin. It’s worth noting that the HQ2 campus would have spanned between 6 and 8 million square feet and brought some 25,000 jobs over 15 years if the deal came to fruition, according to documents on the arrangement. The new space is roughly the same size of the company’s current New York corporate offices, which house some 3,500 employees.
“As we shared earlier this year, we plan to continue to hire and grow organically across our 18 Tech Hubs, including New York City,” the company said in a statement.
Under the HQ2 deal, which was brokered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, Amazon said it would bring $27 billion in tax revenue to New York. The effort faced fierce pushback from some community advocates and elected officials who criticized the roughly $3 billion in subsidies, a combination of tax incentive programs from the city and state, the company would receive in exchange for setting up shop in Queens.
Vocal critics of the deal included City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represent Long Island City, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The congresswoman took to social media Friday to point out Amazon’s continued interest in New York City.
“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway - *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” she wrote in a Friday night tweet. “Maybe the Trump admin should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families.”
Cuomo pushed back on that reaction, stressing that the Queens headquarters would have created substantially more jobs and noted that the new office space will not benefit Long Island City.
“This is crumbs from the table compared to a feast,” Cuomo told the Associated Press. “We don’t have a problem bringing businesses to Manhattan but we have been trying for decades to get that Queens waterfront developed.”
After Amazon abandoned its HQ2 plans, the New York business community feared that the backtrack could spell trouble for the city when trying to attract other tech behemoths and major companies to the city and state. News of the the company’s midtown expansion may put some of those fears to bed as Amazon joins the ranks of Google, Facebook, and Disney in their continued push to snap up prime Manhattan office space.