Land Given To Amazon Was Previously Zoned For Affordable Housing

Joe Simonson | Media Reporter

Amazon’s new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, will be built in an area originally meant for an affordable housing development, adding another layer of controversy to the company’s expansion in the eastern U.S.

According to a new report from Politico, Amazon’s plan means that roughly 1,500 affordable housing units may no longer be built.

“The fact that massive public subsidies are helping eliminate affordable housing units is just the latest reason this bad deal needs to be torn up and thrown away,” Democratic state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents Long Island City, told Politico. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Gives Amazon Credit, Says ‘They Took The Best Deal’)

A developer who owns the land was planning on asking New York City for a permit to build nearly 5,000 homes on a lot in Queens. Over 1,200 of those units would be reserved for low- and middle-income residents.

Similarly, another developer, TF Cornerstone, was ready to build 1,000 new units nearby — 250 of those units would have had similar income restrictions.

Demonstrators gather to protest Amazon's new location workplace in Long Island City of the Queens borough of New York, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton - RC18233EC810

Demonstrators gather to protest Amazon’s new location workplace in Long Island City of the Queens borough of New York, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton.

Both those sites are now almost entirely zoned for Amazon.

The news of the loss in affordable housing comes as many New Yorkers question the judgement of both Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to welcome Amazon to the city and grant the massive company billions of dollars in tax subsidies.

Growing housing prices is a top concern for New Yorkers and an issue the mayor has repeatedly emphasized as at the top of his governing agenda.

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