Amazon considering Queens amid reports HQ will be split

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Jim Dolan has the latest on the reported selection of Long Island City as one of two new Amazon HQ locations.

There are reports that Amazon plans to split its new headquarters between two locations, and that one of them will be in Queens.

From Manhattan, Long Island City looks like a small urban center all on its own. It has grown tower by tower in the last two decades, and it is potentially about to grow a lot more.

"Ultimately, the decision will be made with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said earlier this year, regarding the process for selecting Amazon's upcoming second headquarters.

The New York Times reported Monday that Bezos and Amazon have chosen Long Island City and Crystal City, Virginia, with perhaps 25,000 well-paying jobs in the tech industry for each city.

The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the plan to split the headquarters between two cities, said Dallas is also still a possibility. Both newspapers cited unnamed people familiar with the decision-making process,

There's been intense competition to win over Amazon, with more than 100 cities across the country competing and some throwing billions in tax incentives to the company. Amazon kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September 2017, initially receiving 238 proposals before narrowing the list to 20 in January.

Long Island City and Crystal City would meet Amazon's requirements for a new locale: Both are near metropolitan areas with more than a million people, have nearby international airports, direct access to mass transit and have room for the company to expand.

"We've put together a very strong incentive package and we've had great meetings," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said recently. "Anything I can think of that'll get us over the top. Anything they want named Amazon. I'll change my name to Amazon if that's what it takes."

Long Island City is already a young, growing neighborhood with a lot of tech, and of course breathtaking views of Manhattan. Still, many in the area wonder whether the neighborhood can absorb 25,000 people that quickly.

'We've got to make sure that we can handle this, that the infrastructure is in place to sustain this," Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

He says the stress on the infrastructure in Long Island City would make it a challenge.

"If Amazon were to come, we'd be talking about a whole other ballgame when it comes to what we need to be able to actually make that work," Van Bramer said.

Those are issues that would have to be worked out should Amazon choose Queens.

Amazon has said it could spend more than $5 billion on the new headquarters over the next 17 years, about matching the size of its current home in Seattle, which has 33 buildings, 23 restaurants and 40,000 employees.

The company already employs 600,000. That's expected to increase as it builds more warehouses across the country to keep up with online orders. Amazon recently announced that it would pay all its workers at least $15 an hour, but the employees at its second headquarters will be paid a lot more -- an average of more than $100,000 a year.

Earlier this month, Bezos said during an on-stage interview in New York that the final decision will come down to intuition.

"You immerse yourself in that data, but then you make that decision with your heart," he said.

Amazon would not confirm the deal, but Bezos said an announcement will be made by the end of the year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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