By GREGORY ZELLER //
Long Island may (kinda) still be in the running for Amazon.com Inc.’s ballyhooed second headquarters, but new administrative digs for the e-commerce titan – and thousands of good-paying jobs – have landed slightly west.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced that Amazon will expand its New York City presence with a new office at 5 Manhattan West. Jeff Bezos’ 1994 startup is slated to invest $55 million bringing the 359,000-square-foot space up to energy-efficient standards, a buy-in coaxed by up to $20 million in performance-based tax credits through Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Program.
The project is expected to create 2,000 “high-paying jobs in finance, sales, marketing and information technology,” according to the governor’s office, and follows recent Amazonian leaps into Brooklyn and Staten Island – “proof positive that our strong economic climate [and] diverse workforce … are helping to attract topnotch companies from around the world,” Cuomo said Thursday.
“We will continue to support the growth of this state’s business sector, which in turn supports economic growth and the creation of quality, good-paying jobs across the Empire State,” the governor added.
Encouraged by millions in Excelsior program tax credits, Amazon has been busily expanding through the five boroughs. The Amazon Fashion Group has invested $9 million into a 40,000-square-foot photo and video studio in Brooklyn, while the corporate mothership in 2014 opened a 350,000-square-foot administrative office on Manhattan’s West 34th Street.
Earlier this month, Cuomo announced a new $100 million Amazon fulfillment center slated to open in 2018 in the Matrix Global Logistics Park on Staten Island’s West Shore, an 855,000-square-foot next-gen distribution operation packed with advanced robotics.
In addition to spurring economic activity, each expansion is a sure-fire jobs-creator: 50 direct jobs (and indirect support for 300 more) in Brooklyn, 500-plus positions on West 34th Street, more than 2,200 full-timers on Staten Island, according to company estimates.
While many of the jobs – particularly those fulfillment center slots – require high-tech skills, filling the myriad positions created by each expansion hasn’t been a problem, according to Paul Kotas, Amazon’s senior vice president of global advertising.
“We have always found great talent here,” Kotas said in a statement. “We’re excited to expand our presence in New York.”
The moves are part of a larger expansion strategy for the global e-commerce kingpin. In January, Amazon announced plans to create 100,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs in the United States by mid-2018 (and they’re not kidding about the “full benefit” part, including healthcare, 401(k) plans, company stock and up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave, among other innovative employee programs).
With the Staten Island fulfillment center and new Manhattan office cranking up, and a broiling bidding war for the Seattle-based company’s second headquarters, “we are on track to reach that (100,000 jobs) goal,” Kotas noted – and New York appears determined to score as many of them as possible.
“I’m elated … that New York will be capturing an important piece of the upside from the expansion of online commerce, namely job creation,” State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said Thursday. “Amazon’s expansion at 5 Manhattan West … will be a boon to the local economy.”