When Amazon backed away from building a sequel headquarters in Long Island City on a heartbreaking Valentine’s Day, it spelled out not only bad news for Queens, but likely the Bronx as well.
Given the rapid, vibrant transformation that the south Bronx has undergone in recent years, specifically Port Morris and Mott Haven, some Bronx real estate investors and experts believe the deal would have benefitted the new and ever improving borough.
“Amazon opening a second headquarters in Long Island City would have essentially guaranteed a spillover effect to the south Bronx,” said Jonathan Yunason, president of 925 Capital, a Manhattan-based development firm that specially develops commercial properties in the south Bronx.
Since December, he’s invested in two additional south Bronx properties, one at 101 Bruckner Boulevard adjacent to the Willis Avenue Bridge and another at 259 E. 134th Street, just across from the Third Avenue Bridge.
“Amazon most likely would have opened the door to allow smaller companies to take office space in its surrounding areas,” he continued. Even though Queens can feel like a foreign land from the Bronx, Long Island City is only a mere five miles away from Yunason’s Mott Haven properties and is easily considered to be the surrounding area.
He continued on, citing that the large scale Brookfield project slated for a lot that’s also adjacent to the Third Avenue Bridge has an estimated completion that essentially coincided with Amazon’s HQ2.
Yunason also noted that the Union Crossing building of 825 E. 141st Street in Port Morris would have also likely benefited from Amazon’s potential Bronx spillover effects.
“There is no doubt that the Bronx could provide such a move with much needed support in terms of affordable workforce housing, office space for companies operating in the Amazon eco-system, and a major upgrade in logistics properties for e-commerce,” the developer added.
As far as affordable workforce housing goes for Amazon, one luxury apartment complex in the south Bronx has already seen people jumping across the east river from Long Island City before any news of a possible HQ2.
Newly opened Bridgeline of 329 E. 132nd Street, which overlooks the Bronx waterfront also would have likely continued to benefit from Amazon’s move, says Jillian S. Faulls of Bridgeline’s leasing team.
“Amazon definitely would have brought an influx to the south Bronx,” the 15-year real estate aficionado said, adding that more people would have simply been introduced to the area, even if they don’t commit to a luxury apartment.
“That would have also boosted local and small businesses down here and introduced a lot of people to an area they may have not been all that familiar with,” she said, calling that parcel off Bruckner Boulevard an area that’s “budding in its own unique way.”
Faulls also noted that the commute from the #6 IRT stop at 3rd Avenue-138th Street station to Long Island City’s Vernon Boulevard station via #7 IRT transfer at Grand Central Station is only about a 30-minute trip.
“That would have been a major selling point, besides our in-unit washers and dryers,” she joked.
Something that Yunason and Faulls both agree on is that the Amazon’s backing out of an NYC headquarters was disappointing to say the least.