Jet Blue Calls Queens Home
March 22nd, 2010
Score one for New York City. Florida — zero.
The Bloomberg administration and JetBlue announced this afternoon that the airliner would not be moving to Florida as it had considered last year. It will be calling Queens, specifically Long Island City, its permanent home.
The Big Apple and Florida had been in a bidding war over JetBlue, which recently built a $734 million terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The airline said last year it was considering moving its headquarters, and it had narrowed its pick down to New York City and Orlando, Fla.
As part of the deal to stay in New York, the city will contribute up to $3 million to JetBlue’s hub at JFK. The airliner was also offered other tax incentives from both the city and state, including up to $7 million in city job growth credits and $6 million in state capital grants for job retention and growth, according to the New York City Economic Development Corp.
The airliner, currently in Forest Hills, will headquarter in the Brewster Building, now 1 MetLife Plaza, in Long Island City.
The commitment to stay in New York saved the city 880 jobs, according to the Bloomberg administration. As an added employment bonus for the five boroughs, the airliner will relocate 70 jobs in Connecticut to its new headquarters by 2012. It will grow its ranks by as many as 130 jobs in the next five years.
In total, the airliner will be eligible for about $30 million in city and state tax credits and financial benefits — a third of which the airliner would be eligible for “as of right” for relocating. Not all of that is guaranteed, however. Some of those benefits would only change hands if JetBlue met certain job creation requirements.
In a prepared statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “There was a time when New York might have taken such an exercise lightly, relying on the city’s reputation to win out. But cities across the country and around the world are engaged in an increasingly competitive environment to attract growing companies, and – while we can’t always compete on cost – we’ve worked extremely hard to strengthen and highlight New York City’s competitive advantages. The up to 200 jobs the company will move to and add in New York City and the new Long Island City headquarters it will occupy will be significant contributions to the local and citywide economies. We wish the company much success in the years ahead, and look forward to our continued partnership.”By Courtney Gross on March 22, 2010, 4:47 pm
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