Friday, 22 February, 2019

Amazon reportedly reconsidering New York City headquarters

New York Is Having Second Thoughts About Amazon’s Second Headquarters Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition, report says
Lloyd Bates | 10 February, 2019, 07:43

It noted that it's working with its "new neighbors" in Queens, including small business owners, educators and community leaders.

Fox Business reports that e-commerce giant Amazon is beginning to reconsider the construction of their second headquarters in New York City following opposition from both city and state officials.

Amazon executives have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in NY and explore alternatives, the Post reported.

"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in NY don't want the project, especially".

The person briefed on the matter said that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from NY officials and had not given up on the proposal, but was considering potential alternatives to NY. The report notes that no plans to officially abandon NY have been made, though there is expected to be a third City Council hearing on the matter later this month. Reportedly, Amazon is already considering either moving the entire East Coast headquarters to Virginia, or to other cities that were on the Amazon short list. Meanwhile, city council members last week pressed executives on their plans and criticized Amazon for being an anti-union company (New York is largely a pro-labor city). "Because it is so ironic for Amazon, after they spent one year with everyone seducing them, and everyone courting them, we win and then there's political opposition".

The Washington Post, it should be added, is owned by Jeff Bezos, who is the founder, chairman, CEO, and president of Amazon.

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So, Amazon may be really thinking about pulling back on the New York HQ2 move. Of this $1.525 billion, up to $1.2 billion could come from a refundable tax credit through New York State's Excelsior Program and a $325 million cash grant from the Empire State Development fund.

The initiative has faced loud opposition from the Long Island City neighbourhood, who say that Amazon's expansion could bring more crowded subway stations, an overburdened sewage system and rent increases that would drive out long-time residents. The county board of supervisors has expressed strong support for the Amazon headquarters and is planning to pass a local incentive package in March.

In a recent city council hearing, Brian Huseman, Amazon's VP for public policy, intimated that Amazon might be reconsidering its plans. It was one of a handful of cities to receive a second visit by Amazon officials in August.

Days later, the State Senate nominated NY senator Michael Gianaris, a vocal opponent of the Amazon deal and a representative for the district where its new headquarters is slated to be, to the Public Authorities Control Board, which ultimately has to approve the Amazon deal in order for it to go forward. But it's not for nothing that Amazon wants to be in NY.

"The change in scope - given jobs and investment were ultimately divided among multiple communities - further enhances Miami's opportunity to successfully deliver on the kind of partnership we know Amazon is looking for", he said. In Amazon's case, that means highly-paid tech workers, but for other businesses it could means something else.

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