A year ago, residents of Wilkes-Barre, in northeastern Pennsylvania, dreamed of Amazon. Is one of those deteriorated industrial zones of the so-called "rust belt" of the USA., with abandoned textile factories and where of the coal mining mines there is almost no memory left. It is the deep America that gave the presidency to Donald Trump, in a desperate cry before an irreversible decline. A year ago, convincing Amazon to set up their second headquarters there could be the solution to their problems: multimillion dollar investments, tens of thousands of jobs, urban revitalization ... But they were not alone: about two hundred cities or counties in the United States. They sought to seduce the giant of online commerce, in a swollen auction of tax benefits, facilities and concessions of urban planning.
This week, Amazon has unfolded the margarita and the chosen ones are at the antipodes of a forgotten region like that of Pennsylvania: a neighborhood in New York that has become fashionable and a suburb of Washington. Both winners will suffer a turnaround with the arrival of Amazon. The company promises to create 25,000 jobs for each of the new offices, which will also require millions of investments.
But not everything is a rain of jobs and millions. Amazon has taken huge fiscal advantages from its new neighbors. It is estimated that, between New York and the County of Virginia, there are more than 4,000 million dollars in benefits and tax credits, most of them on account of New Yorkers.
"All other things being equal, if we do nothing, they go to Texas," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo justified. The welcome gift, however, does not convince everyone. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new star of the Democratic Party, recently elected as representative of her district in the Bronx for the House of Representatives, has criticized it with force: "Amazon is a multimillion-dollar company, the idea that it receives hundreds of millions of dollars. dollars in tax breaks when the subway falls apart and our communities need more investment is a concern for residents, "he said.
Did Long Island City need Amazon? It depends on who looks at it. This neighborhood of Queens was an abandoned area, with ramshackle wharves, abandoned factories and solar until a few years ago. The unbridled expansion of New York in the last decade and its geographical proximity to Manhattan made it a focus of expansion and real estate speculation.
Last weekend groups of potential route buyers could be seen by the new residential buildings, armed with informative brochures. The arrival of Amazon was just a rumor almost confirmed. But rumor has it that searches for apartments - those with two rooms spend a million dollars - will skyrocket by 400% on the StreetEasy real estate portal. In the neighborhood the metal and glass skyscrapers come out like mushrooms. A "boom" that Amazon will only shoot and that will test the tensions for inequality in the city.