It's been now over a month since Amazon's surprise decision to nix plans for its HQ2 in Long Island City, Queens. Following vehement opposition from local activists and several politicians, fallout from the split still lingers -- especially about who's to blame for the deal's collapse. On Monday, a new poll conducted by Sienna College shows that 67 percent of New York voters said the pullout was bad for the state, compared to 21 percent who felt it was a positive development, Spectrum News reported. As for who was the hero or villain in the matter, 38 percent of those polled characterized Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the villain, while 12 percent saw her as hero. Local activists came in second as the villains at 34 percent.
Now that the deal is canceled (unless Amazon does a complete about-face and reconsiders), some real estate brokers see a silver lining from the drama.
“I was excited about the exposure that it brought to Long Island City, which is priceless,” says Rick Rosa, a broker for Douglas Elliman, who has worked the Long Island City market for 15 years in addition to being a longtime resident of the neighborhood. ”It would have been great had they stayed, because it would've helped Long Island City for generations to come. But nonetheless, it brought Long Island City on a national scale.”
Eric Benaim, another Long Island City resident and CEO of brokerage Modern Spaces, shares a similar sentiment. “We were obviously in the eye of the world,” he says. “Everybody was talking about Amazon. Because of that, anybody who was interested in real estate was going to have to look at Long Island City. People who were looking everywhere in New York City were suddenly focusing on Long Island City.”
When Amazon announced it was coming to LIC late last year, the move was generally viewed by real estate brokers as a boost for their business. According to StreetEasy, after the news of Amazon's arrival was confirmed, there was reportedly a 519 percent increase in search traffic for Long Island City from November 12 to 14. Benaim and Rosa themselves experienced real estate activity around this period.