TF Cornerstone, L&L MAG and Simon Baron Development have been in talks with city officials since late spring, after Amazon pulled out of building HQ2.
The developers are not shy about learning from the Amazon debacle, especially the community engagement aspect of their plan.
“The Amazon experience taught us a lot,” said Eleonora Bershadskaya from TF Cornerstone. “It needs to be a community-endorsed plan.”
Another big difference between this planning effort and HQ2 is that this will go through ULURP, the public review process that will ultimately require approval from the City Council.
Unlike the Amazon project, which went through a more obscure state process, the steps this waterfront development will take are clear: hearings before the community board, borough president, City Planning and the council.
If the developers want to also win over community groups, especially ones that protested vociferously against Amazon, they must engage in an honest negotiation about community benefits.
They’ve identified green space, resiliency, schools, jobs, arts, manufacturing and affordable housing as top community needs. That’s a good place to start.
With Long Island City facing significant infrastructure burdens, the developers will have to find a way to address those concerns. Any ideas of building skyscraping luxury condo towers will be dead on arrival.
If the developers are to truly spark a community discussion about the needs of the growing neighborhood, they must include everyone in those talks.
Otherwise, it will fail just like Amazon HQ2.