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Amazon HQ2 in NYC called 'win-win' for metro area

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Jersey City.
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Despite Amazon's bypassing of Newark for the location of its second North America headquarters, New Jersey businesses and public officials alike are saying the state has not quite been left in the dust.

Amazon will split its much-anticipated HQ2 between Northern Virginia's Crystal City and Long Island City, N.Y. The e-commerce giant listed Newark as one of 20 finalists.

But many statewide public officials and business executives still believe the region has a lot to gain from the placement of the HQ2 just over the Hudson River.

“I think there’s going to be either a direct or indirect benefit for this part of the state — not just Newark, but this part of the state,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday at the annual Jersey City Summit for Real Estate Investment.

Murphy called Jersey City a “smart investment” with better access to the financial hubs of Manhattan than “Staten Island or Queens, or even on many days, good luck with Manhattan.”

Former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, now a partner at the law firm Connell Foley LLP and the opening speaker at the summit, told NJBIZ many workers at Amazon’s second headquarters would likely be priced out of places such as Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

They would in turn flock to Jersey City, which she called the “sixth borough” of New York City, and in surrounding towns in the Hudson River area.

“I think that we’re lucky to have an expensive city like New York right across the river because of the amount of opportunity here in Harrison, in Newark and in Jersey City, to grab the population from New York City,” Guadagno said.

And with the population influx, she added, would come the growth of the Jersey City economy.

“It’s still going to be a big impact, because [Amazon is] building in New Jersey and they’re growing in New Jersey,” said Sherif Abouzied, the summit’s founder. “I think it will be a win-win for everybody.”

“It means very good things for the whole region. I think it’s going to lead to other things,” he added. “The fact that Newark is going to have MetroLab, Audible. All these conferences and all these events that are happening, those aren’t going to stop. And the fact that when people visit this area, they hear and they see and they know what’s happening, and that’ll only spur more growth.”

Murphy said communities like Jersey City will continue to undergo high-traction growth in the coming years.

“Jersey City is so much more than just an affordable alternative for people becoming increasingly priced out of places like Brooklyn. It’s the place to launch a groundbreaking business, just as it is the perfect place to raise a family,” Murphy said.

Marshall Tycher, founder and chairman of real estate company Roseland Residential Trust, reiterated the notion that Jersey City would feel the boost of Amazon’s presence in Long Island City, as many people try to get to New Jersey for affordable housing.

“You have a tremendous opportunity… that now new office tenants outside of the financial back-offices are trying to create more demand for Jersey City office space,” Tycher said. “That has a revolving effect as your partner businesses continue to grow.”

Meanwhile, investor and real-estate developer Jonathan Kushner, president of Bridgewater-based The KRE Group and cousin of White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, said Amazon’s presence would boost the marketability of any property in Jersey City.

“We look at everything: transportation to job growth to Amazon coming,” Kushner said.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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