Brookhaven reignites pitch for Amazon HQ
The Town of Brookhaven is again calling for Amazon to build its new headquarters at the Calabro Airport in Brookhaven hamlet, after the online retailer pulled out of a controversial plan to build a massive space in Long Island City, Queens.
“I’m deeply disappointed by Amazon pulling out of Long Island City,” said supervisor Ed Romaine. “If they are thinking New York, we have an excellent proposal.”
Romaine said the location in Queens would have been a boost to New York and the city, but also to Long Island, through jobs and economic activity. Officials proposed back during the original search that Calabro Airport has the 500 acres needed for the facility and that the current sewage treatment plant allows additional hookups; a new sewage treatment plant is being built right at the airport after a referendum passed to establish a sewer district in the Mastics and Shirley.
Calabro Airport was a state-owned entity until it was leased to the town for use as a commercial airport. Should the town decide to forfeit this use, ownership rights would return to the state. Officials are also touting the site’s location, saying it has access to 20 post-secondary and research institutions across Suffolk and Nassau counties, offering more than 13,000 graduates with degrees in computer science, engineering, mathematics and business. The site is also located two miles from Brookhaven National Laboratory and 20 miles from Stony Brook University.
Other local officials chided Amazon’s decision to withdraw their bid, in concert with top officials like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who brokered the deal. Congressman Lee Zeldin welcomed the opportunity for Amazon to build in the district in a Feb. 14 statement.
“New York’s First Congressional District would be happy to be Amazon’s Valentine today and take these 25,000 great-paying jobs,” he said. “New York wouldn’t even need all the subsidies if we didn’t have one of the worst business climates in the United States. We must level the playing field, reduce taxes and burdensome regulations, stop picking winners and losers and much will improve.”
Amazon estimated the creation of 25,000 jobs, and Romaine said that there would be capacity to handle the influx of people and traffic. He pointed to the site’s location near several major roads, like William Floyd Parkway and Sunrise Highway, and proximity to the Long Island Rail Road, which is considering moving its Yaphank station further east. Romaine acknowledged a deal with Amazon would likely require infrastructure accommodations from the state.
Romaine also said that businesses would get “a shot in the arm” from Amazon’s headquarters, predicting employees would patronize the local restaurants and stores, and through the use of local services. He also said the headquarters would boost the price of home sales due to the likelihood of a new demand for housing. In a poll by Long Island Business News, the Brookhaven site was rated top out of Long Island proposals.
The supervisor acknowledged that a deal was a long shot, and Amazon said in a statement that they would not look for a different location at this time, but rather focus on its other two plans in Nashville and Virginia.
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