Last week Amazon announced their plans for a new headquarters (HQ2) that could bring up to 50,000 jobs to a North American city costing $ 5 billion. Their Seattle headquarters (HQ1) employs 40,000 people over a 33 building campus. So what is Amazon looking for? They would like to build in a metro area that can attract and retain talent, and has access to public transit.
The Bronx fits these criteria.
Home to more than 4 colleges, 6 subway lines, an expanded Metro North system, a median age of 31 years old, and plenty of space ripe for development, The Bronx should be Amazon’s first and only choice. Here are some places where they could build HQ2.
The Mott Haven waterfront is already the site of the Bronx’s biggest private development, 7 luxury apartment towers by Somerset and the Chetrit group. But there is a 96-acre piece of land along the waterfront that Empire State Development (ESD) is hoping to find a developer for. If this site is big enough, Amazon would need to build a deck over the active rail yard and build their campus on the deck. The city can help Amazon by covering the cost of the deck and building a ferry dock, even though the 6 train is a few blocks away. Can you imagine an Amazon headquarters in The Bronx’s hottest neighborhood?
If transportation is a selling point for Amazon then why not build in Melrose? Sure this site is occupied by a homeless shelter, warehouses, and a motel, but I bet a deal can be made. The Melrose Metro North station is about to get increased service and there are hundreds of new apartments planned for the neighborhood. This would be a transit oriented development with enough housing options for their employees, who would be a 10-minute walk away from Yankee Stadium.
The Borough President has proposed a deck over the rail yards next to Lehman College for housing. But HQ2 next to Lehman is more exciting. Certainly, the college and community would benefit, internships and jobs galore. But, it could cost over $ 5 billion if the city doesn’t cover the cost for the deck. The 4, B, and D trains and a number of buses are the best transit options. For what it’s worth Fordham University is about 15 minutes away, thus widening Amazon’s opportunities for recruiting young talent.