With New Amazon HQ, Bronx Pols See Opportunity

As Amazon’s continent-spanning quest for a new headquarters intensifies, the Bronx has thrown its hat in the ring.

A number of Bronx elected officials including Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Congressman Adriano Espaillat have publicly urged the billion-dollar e-commerce titan and its chief executive, Jeff Bezos, to explore the possibility of bringing its next state-of-the-art headquarters to the borough.

In an open letter signed by Diaz, Espaillat and 23 other elected officials, the Bronx pols argue that the borough “offers more advantages to Amazon than any other municipality,” touting the borough’s record investment in infrastructure and proximity to Manhattan and the rest of the tristate area.

For the Bronx’s elected leaders, the excitement surrounding Amazon’s so-called HQ2 search is well-founded and with good reason. According to Amazon’s own estimates, the economic impacts of HQ2 could be massive, bringing as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs and generating roughly $38 billion in additional investment to the surrounding area’s local economy. Such investment could provide an economic boon to the Bronx, which has historically suffered from higher rates of unemployment when compared to the rest of the city.

The possibilities offered by HQ2’s strong economic benefits could, Diaz and others argue, be “a key piece of [the Bronx’s] ongoing renaissance.” However, aspirations for the borough to become the home of HQ2 may be undone by a lack of available real estate.

According to Amazon, HQ2 will occupy just over eight million square feet. Finding that amount of available space presents a significant challenge yet that hasn’t deterred the consortium of Bronx politicians.

In their letter, they claim to have identified “several potential sites that could serve as [Amazon’s] future headquarters.” However, they neglected to disclose any further details.

Regardless, Diaz and his legislative peers hope to leverage their established relationship with Amazon, which agreed to partake in a pilot program that enables the use of SNAP benefits to purchase food on the online shopping giant’s website.

The deadline for HQ2 proposal requests is Oct. 19. The final location of Amazon’s second headquarters is slated to be finalized and announced sometime in 2018.

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