Hochul wants to revive Amazon ‘HQ2’ deal to anchor the Brooklyn Army Terminal

Governor Kathy Hochul plans to speak with Amazon Chairman Jeff Bezos in the coming weeks to explore whether or not talks can be revived to locate a major global headquarters in New York City — a since defunct proposal that would have created 25,000 jobs paying an average salary of $150,000. Following criticism from freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, the firm pulled out of the prospective public-private partnership with the State.

Now, Hochul wants Amazon’s corporate presence to serve as a catalytic anchor to the redevelopment of Brooklyn’s waterfront by locating inside the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT), a massive former military depot that once housed 20,000 civilian and military personnel during WWII, and has since been repurposed as a business incubator for small-scale manufacturing startups.

The Brooklyn Army Terminal site occupies more than 95 acres between 58th and 63rd Streets west of Second Avenue, on Brooklyn’s western shore. It contains two 8-story warehouses, three piers, several smaller ancillary buildings, and a train yard with a capacity for 2,200 cars. When built, the warehouses were among the world’s largest concrete structures.

BAT has been managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) since 1986.  Much of the cavernous space remains unutilized.

The BAT was constructed in 1918, during World War I, and was completed the following year after the conclusion of the war. The terminal was subsequently leased out and used for various purposes, including as a dock, a military prison, and a storage space for drugs and alcohol during Prohibition.

During World War II, the terminal was the United States’ largest military supply base. The United States Army stopped using the BAT in 1967, and the terminal was briefly used by the United States Postal Service and the Navy.

The New York City government purchased the terminal in 1981, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Since then, the BAT has undergone a series of renovations to make it suitable for commercial and light industrial use.

“Can you imagine a better tenant for a building that has played such a historic role in logistics?  In many ways this building was an arsenal of democracy during WWII,” one associate of the Governor explains.

“To have America’s top logistics company occupy it as their corporate office would be an ode to that history and the building’s unique architecture,” he adds.

Operatives close to Hochul explain that she will prioritize the ‘TriboroRX‘ whether or not Amazon decides to locate at the BAT.  But if Amazon does locate on the Brooklyn waterfront, operatives say that Hochul would be willing to commit to infrastructure improvements that enable the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to service the campus as well.

The Regional Plan Association (RPA) has long advocated for a mass transit route that allows travel between the outer boroughs without having to first travel into Manhattan.  The Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT) would serve as its terminus. 


BAT’s design has been recognized as highly innovative for its time: constructed without girders, using steel-reinforced concrete slabs, and including the largest elevator installation at that time. The atrium was designed with staggered balconies from which cargo could be loaded and unloaded by movable cranes. The entire complex was interconnected with bridges on the third floor linking the two main buildings.


BAT was designed by Cass Gilbert, an architect known for his Beaux-Arts and Gothic buildings, including notably the Woolworth Building.


The piers at the Brooklyn Army Terminal are used by NYC Ferry’s Rockaway and South Brooklyn routes, to and from Manhattan. If Amazon makes the move, Hochul would expand ferry service from the BAT to Staten Island, Jersey City, and Hoboken. 


Although New York former Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio were enthusiastically on board with Amazon’s proposal to build its second headquarters a 28-acre waterfront site in Long Island City, going so far as to offer billions in tax incentives, pushback from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes killed the deal. Long Island City was chosen, in part, because of its access to eight subway lines, 13 bus lines, Citi Bike service, NYC Ferry landings, and proximity to Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. 


Empire State Development estimated that more than 107,000 jobs would be created when secondary economic impacts are considered — including $27.5 billion in city and state tax revenue over 25 years.  The State planned to give Amazon tax breaks of at least $1.525 billion and cash grants of $325 million.  Virginia’s competing bid offered the firm $573 million in tax breaks and $23 million in cash.


1 Comment

  1. Oh boy!! More corporate welfare sold with lies about what a panacea it will be to the area. Only Bezos will benefit from this. What a boondoggle.

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