Amazon’s Surprise HQ2 Candidate: Long Island City

A burgeoning Queens neighborhood a short subway ride from Manhattan, the area joins Crystal City, Va., and Dallas as the rumored finalists for the online retailer's second U.S. campus. The latest twist: Amazon could split HQ2 between two locations.
Long Island City, N.Y.

Speculation about Amazon’s choice for its second North American headquarters took a new twist on Monday when reports surfaced that the company would divide its campus into two locations in Crystal City, Va., and Long Island City, N.Y.

Initially reported by the Wall Street Journal, the rumors of the split were the first indication that the online retail giant would pick two locations rather than the single headquarters, as had been expected since the beginning of the year-long competition.

If Amazon does select Long Island City as one of its two locations, it would be something of a dark-horse candidate A burgeoning community in the borough of Queens, it has not figured prominently so far in the conversations about the new headquarters. Yet Long Island City offers some attractive qualities to a corporation. Located a short subway ride across the East River from Manhattan, the community Long Island City could also provide a significant volume of space by 2019, Amazon’s target date for initial occupancy.

Of note is the 1 million square feet of office space that were available at One Court Square, a 1.5 million-square-foot office tower that was vacated early this year by Citibank. At most recent report, about 1 million square feet remained available at the property.

Long Island City also offers a booming residential market that may appeal to an employer that plans to bring in a large-scale work force. The community has the biggest pipeline of any neighborhood in New York City, with 6,372 units expected to come on line by 2020, according to a report released last week by Localize.city, which uses artificial intelligence tools to track housing trends.

Even as Crystal City and Long Island City are attracting heightened attention, other metros may still be in the running. Dallas is among them, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.