In addition to the 25,000 jobs that e-commerce giant Amazon has promised to bring to its future Long Island City headquarters, “the number of [local] people who are going to be put to work will be in the tens of thousands,” says Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress.
That includes designers, engineers, contractors and construction trades—and these jobs will likely last a while because, according to Scissura, the plan to site one of Amazon’s two new bases in Queens, announced Nov. 13, will be “a decade-long process.” In a joint statement, the state and city said that in 2019, Amazon will occupy up to 500,000 sq ft at One Court Square and will build 4 million sq ft of commercial space in Long Island City’s waterfront area over the next 10 years, with potential expansion up to 8 million sq ft over the next 15 years.
Amazon received about $1.5-billion in subsidies from New York, according to The Washington Post. The firm says it will donate land for a new school for about 600 students and a 3.5-acre public waterfront park, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D). Scissura expects the Amazon project will spur infrastructure beyond its waterfront site, including expedited construction of the BQX streetcar, a rail project planned between Astoria, Queens, and Red Hook, Brooklyn.
The AirTrain subway link to LaGuardia Airport may also get a boost. The Building Congress is co-chair of a coalition launched in October of about 20 airlines, unions, construction groups and other business and community stakeholders to push for the project.
Noting the airport’s $8-billion upgrade, “It’s essential that the development of AirTrain LGA be a part of that vision,” said Scissura. “Traffic congestion is crippling our commercial districts.” The coalition, called A Better Way to LGA, wants a project environmental impact statement completed by the fourth quarter of 2019.
Brooklyn Affordable Housing Project Starts
The nonprofit Breaking Ground and the African-American Planning Commission broke ground Sept. 26 for Edwin’s Place, a $75-million, 125-unit affordable housing project in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section.
The eight-story building, designed by A.M. Stern Architects, will be set back from the street to accommodate adjacent elevated subway tracks and will have 3,000 sq ft of retail space.
The project has received funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the New York City Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development, New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corp. , and banking giant Wells Fargo.
“Edwin’s Place will transform a vacant city-owned lot into homes.” Rev. David K. Brawley, pastor of East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro I.A.F., said in a statement.
N.Y. Issues First Offshore Wind Power Solicitation
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority issued on Nov. 8 its first comprehensive solicitation for large offshore wind power projects, seeking 800 MW or more to meet new clean-energy goals in a bid to compete with neighboring states.
Cuomo set a mandate for 50% of state electricity from renewable sources by 2030, with a goal of 2,400 MW of offshore wind by then. “This action is a watershed moment in New York’s renewable energy development,” he said in a statement, adding that it will support up to 7,000 skilled new jobs in manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance. The solicitation requires project labor agreements and prevailing wages during construction, an economic benefits plan backed by an independent audit and mitigation steps to address environmental impacts and issues affecting commercial fishing.
The agency is set to award 25-year contracts for projects ranging between 200 MW and 800 MW, with potential for larger capacity projects “if sufficiently attractive proposals are received,” it said. Each bidder must submit at least one proposal of about 400 MW. Bids are due in February, with awards set for spring to take advantage of federal tax credits that expire in 2019.
Separately, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Nov. 15 issued a draft plan for lease tracts in waters off southern New York and New Jersey that could generate up to 9.6 GW of offshore wind energy.