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(EDITOR’S NOTE, 11/17/18, 4:42 PM ET: This article originally stated the planned affordable housing developments where Amazon is now building were in Long Island. We have since corrected it to specify that the planned developments are in Long Island City, which is in Queens.)

Amazon’s new New York HQ2 isn’t just trading subway repairs for Jeff Bezos’ helipad, it is crowding out affordable housing in one of the least affordable cities in the United States.

Two sites that would’ve been developed into affordable housing in Long Island City, Queens, will now be absorbed into the campus of the e-commerce Goliath instead, leaving most if not all of Long Island’s affordable housing plans abandoned.

Two acres remain available of the initial almost 15-acre site on the East River.

Another developer who was planning to devote 250 units of housing to low- and middle-income New Yorkers has also abandoned the project in lieu of land for Amazon’s new campus.

And Amazon confirmed its complex will not include housing.

“Tackling the affordability crisis means building more affordable housing — but it also means creating more good-paying jobs,” said Economic Development Corporation spokesperson Stephanie Baez. “Development of commercial office space around Anable Basin will offset concerns about residential overdevelopment that have been expressed by some community residents.”

But community residents aren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of Amazon’s arrival either.

As Engadget reported, locals protested the arrival of Amazon near the location of those housing developments that will now make up part of Amazon’s riverfront office park. With frowny-face Amazon boxes or signs that said “Scamazon”, protesters from Queensbridge Houses — the largest public housing complex in America — took to Gordon Triangle.

How will they stay in their homes if Amazon comes in? How will they afford to live so close to HQ2? And contrary to Baez’s claims, the protesters were all but certain that Amazon boon wasn’t going to be felt by Queensbridge residents.

“The more we learn about this deal, the worse it gets,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-New York City) said. “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.”

 

Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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