Condo Sales Soar In Long Island City After Amazon Announces New Headquarters

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Grace Carr Reporter
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Long Island City is seeing skyrocketing condo sales following Amazon’s announcement that it will open a headquarters there, attracting Seattle-based Amazon workers and those wanting to get in before prices increase even more.

Brokerage firms are reporting sales up to 15 times their regular volume, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

“My cellphone rang, and the area code was Seattle,” Long Island City-based broker Patrick W. Smith told TheWSJ, adding that five Seattle-based Amazon employees contacted him as of Monday.

Employees can’t sell and buy stocks based on information that has not yet been made public, but there aren’t any apparent rules regarding buying real estate early, according to a number of real estate lawyers, TheWSJ reported.

Amazon announced Nov. 13 that it will split its new headquarters between Long Island City, New York, and Arlington, Virginia. It will spend over $5 billion to build the new headquarters. The sites will host roughly 50,000 Amazon positions that will be filled in early 2019, prompting a number of workers and prospective employees to search for housing in the cities.

Modern Spaces brokerage company reported 147 deals in a four-day period, according to its president Eric Benaim, TheWSJ reported.

At one of the sites Benaim represents, prices already increased $20,000 last week, and are expected to jump another $20,000 soon, according to TheWSJ.

A Seattle-based Amazon employee bought a one-bedroom condo at Craftsmen Townhomes in Long Island City on Friday, according to Benaim — similar condos in that building sell for between $800,000 and $1.2 million. (RELATED: Land Given To Amazon Was Previously Zone For Affordable Housing)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a news conference during the launch of Amazon’s new tablets in New York, September 28, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

“With an average salary of $150,000 per year for the tens of thousands of new jobs Amazon is creating in Queens, economic opportunity and investment will flourish for the entire region,” Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a Nov. 13 statement. “Amazon understands that New York has everything the company needs to continue its growth.”

A worker gathers items for delivery from the warehouse floor at Amazon’s distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona November 22, 2013. The web-based retailer is preparing for Cyber Monday, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year for online purchases, and falls on December 2 in 2013. REUTERS/Ralph D. Freso

“This is a giant step on our path to building an economy in New York City that leaves no one behind. We are thrilled that Amazon has selected New York City for its new headquarters,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to Amazon’s press release announcing its new headquarters.

More than 230 cities fought for Amazon to move there, seeking to incentivize the online retailer with grants, tax breaks and publicity stunts among other moves to attract the company.

Hiring at the Long Island City location will start early in 2019, according to Amazon.

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