Amazon, the Seattle-based electronic commerce and cloud computing giant that has been searching for a second base of operations is finalizing plans to split its new hub between two East Coast cities — Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City, Queens, according to published reports.
The New York Times and other outlets are reporting that Amazon decided to use the two locations to house 50,000 employees, ending speculation and serenades over the past year by politicians in major cities — including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — to add one of the nation’s most prosperous employers and its employees to their tax rolls.
Cuomo met with Amazon in his Manhattan office two weeks ago, a state source said, adding that he proposed Long Island City and stressing that the Queens location is a finalist, but not chosen yet by Amazon.
“I am doing everything I can,” Cuomo told reporters when asked Monday about the state’s efforts to lure the company, the Times reported. “We have a great incentive package,” he said.
The source said the state government is ready to make a substantial offer for Amazon to seal the deal.
An Amazon representative declined to comment late Monday night. A spokesman for Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, also declined to comment Monday night.
Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, said the move would be "great news for our region, as many of their employees will choose to live in less expensive homes and apartments in Nassau and Suffolk counties while bringing back their disposable income to spend in our downtowns supporting local businesses.”
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said his union is concerned about the use of taxpayer subsidies for Amazon to move to New York City.
"Amazon, one of the wealthiest and largest companies in history, needs the city more than the city needs Amazon — plain and simple," Applebaum said in a statement. "If Amazon wants to come here they can afford to do so on their own."
The Times report said Amazon is close to a deal to establish ties in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia, a Washington suburb, and that the company already has more employees in these two areas than anywhere else outside of its headquarters in Seattle.
Long Island City is part of a larger downstate application by the state to Amazon that also included Long Island. In January, Amazon said the metropolitan region, including Long Island, was among 20 finalists for the company’s second headquarters.
The bid from the metropolitan area includes New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, and was assembled by the state. It includes three local building sites: Belmont Park in Elmont, the proposed Heartland mini-city development in Brentwood and Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley, officials told Newsday in January.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met personally with a top Amazon executive and the executive's colleagues last week to woo the online retailer's second HQ to the city, de Blasio told reporters Tuesday.
Speaking beside his wife after voting in Park Slope, Brooklyn, de Blasio, a Democrat, said his administration has also shown Amazon officials prospective sites around the city.
"I met with one of their top executives and his colleagues last week," he said, adding: "My team has been in constant conversation with Amazon for months. I've been briefed on a regular basis. I met with top leadership."
But, de Blasio said, he doesn't know where Amazon would ultimately choose to put its second headquarters: "I don't know if it's going to be one city, two cities, I have no idea. You'll have to ask Amazon."
De Blasio said the city has not offered subsidies to entice Amazon.
'We do not believe in subsidies to corporations for retention or to attract corporations."
In recent years, Long Island City has lured a number of high-profile companies. Last year, Altice USA, the cable television, internet and telephone services provider, moved its headquarters from Bethpage to Long Island City. And last week, cosmetics giant The Estee Lauder Cos. opened a technology center there, moving some information technology jobs from its Melville operation.
Both Altice and Estee Lauder executives said they wanted to tap into Long Island City’s pool of young tech workers.
With James T. Madore and Matthew Chayes.