Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Amazon cancels plans for $2.5bn NY headquarters

Amazon drops plans for New York City headquarters Amazon cancels plans to build second headquarters in New York City
Lloyd Bates | 15 February, 2019, 08:47

"After much thought and deliberation, we've decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens", a statement published on Amazon's blog said.

The decision announced Thursday comes after an outcry from local politicians, union leaders and community organizers who had organized weeks of protests against massive financial breaks promised to Amazon, one of the world's most valuable companies.

Amazon.com Inc's decision on Thursday to scrap its proposal to locate a second headquarters in the Queens borough of New York City ignited a sea of dueling reactions on Twitter, with some calling it a victory for working people while others said it meant that fewer people would work.

The New York neighborhood of Long Island City had been one of two locations Amazon selected previous year after a long search for a second headquarters or "HQ2".

Amazon pulled the plug on its New York City plans after local officials - including freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. - criticized the state for giving Amazon too many tax breaks. Although the company had the support of area residents, some politicians have derided Amazon, who have been critical of the project and its almost $2 billion in incentives cities agreed to provide in exchange for an estimated 25,000 well-paid jobs.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio lobbied hard to bring the deal to the city, with the governor even jokingly offering to change his name.

Amazon spent more than a year evaluating the HQ2 decision before ultimately choosing New York City and Arlington, Va., with a promise of about 25,000 jobs in each city.

Cuomo said in a statement that a small group of politicians had "put their own narrow political interests" above those of New Yorkers.

"Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves", Gianaris, who represents Long Island City, told the New York Times.

Other large cities that competed for Amazon's attention during the initial bidding process have begun publicly lobbying the company to reconsider its choice of New York City.

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Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way.

Polls had found that a majority of New Yorkers also supported Amazon's plan.

"We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time", it said.

The enormous digital company announced Thursday that it has ended its effort to make New York City part of its sprawling empire, just four months after proclaiming the Big Apple as its future HQ2 home.

Maybe this new sense of pragmatism is a good thing for the company, but after searching the continent and deliberating for so long, Amazon's apparent inability to anticipate and manage the opposition in NY makes the whole HQ2 process seem half-baked, and the abrupt cancellation makes the company seem wishy-washy.

Amazon publicly announced Thursday that it was abandoning its plans to build in NY, though reports indicated the decision was in the works a week earlier.

Some 5,000 Amazon employees now work in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.

"We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone", de Blasio said.

Both conservatives and liberal opponents of the deal have argued that Amazon does not need what some describe as "corporate welfare" for the company led by Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest person.

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