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Amazon HQ2: Long Island City badly needs infrastructure upgrades

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Long Island CityThe iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, a preserved relic from the area’s industrial past.AP/Beth J. Harpaz

Ready or not, here Amazon comes.

The company is close to choosing Long Island City as one of the spots where it will place its HQ2 project, along with Arlington, Virginia, The New York Times reported on Monday evening. Part of the New York City borough of Queens, directly across the river from Manhattan, Long Island City is a neighborhood in transition.

Once industrial, the neighborhood is now full of tall, glassy condo towers and Michelin-starred restaurants. 41 new apartment buildings have been built in the neighborhood since 2010, according to the city.

It’s still a neighborhood in transition, however, and some areas remain undeveloped. That’s likely where Amazon plans to step in.

Read more: Amazon is breaking a central promise of HQ2 by reportedly placing it in 2 different cities

But, much like any other area, Long Island City has its own issues, many of them due to growing pains. All those new people moving in means transportation, schools, and even the area’s sewer system are straining under the pressure.

That’s according to an investment strategy that was released by the city this year, identifying the already planned and future possible ways to remedy those three issues.

Over the past several years, New York has set aside $46 million for sewer and water main upgrades in Long Island City. Dramatic improvements are being proposed or already in the works, including $60 million for a new school and a new station stop off the Long Island Rail Road, which runs through the neighborhood on its way to Penn Station. The city of New York announced a total of $180 million in new spending for improvements to Long Island City last week. 

“We do have sewage problems,” Sheila Lewandowski, a Long Island City resident and community fixture, told the New York Times. “They’re backing up. If we’re going to bring in this major corporation, we better invest a lot more in infrastructure.”

Indeed, those problems won’t go away if or when Amazon goes to town. If anything, they’ll get worse.

Read more about Amazon’s HQ2:

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