Amazon Officially Abandons New York HQ2

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By Published On: February 15, 20190 Comments

The richest man in the world has conceded to the city of New York, blaming opposition from local leaders for being forced to reconsider the location of Amazon’s HQ2.

Amazon has abandoned its plans to build an outpost in Long Island City, which could have created 25,000 jobs for the region. Blaming the city’s local government, Amazon believes state and city politicians were outraged by the prospect of paying the agreed-upon $3 billion in incentives.

The company said on Thursday that it was rescinding its decision to build half of its second headquarters in the city because it was uncomfortable establishing a presence in an area where there isn’t “positive, collaborative” relationships between the global business and state and local officials.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, who vocally criticised the prospect of Amazon operating out of the city, said that the subsidies offered to Amazon during the HQ2 proposal period were unnecessary.

“This was a shakedown, pure and simple,” he said.

Amazon’s departure has also sparked further unrest within local political groups, with Mayor Bill de Blasio blaming Amazon for taking away the job opportunities the business would have created, while New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo pointed the finger at local politicians.

According to Cuomo, a group of small ‘narrow-minded’ politicians had “put their own political interests” above those of New Yorkers. Both Cuomo and Blasio were among the locals who orchestrated the original deal with Amazon last year.

When the Washington Post reported last week that Amazon was re-considering its HQ2 decision, other cities that were among the 20 shortlisted for Amazon’s outpost have reportedly resumed discussions with the business, with both Chicago and Tennessee expressing interest.

In a statement on Thursday, however, Amazon said it will not be conducting a new headquarters search and will instead focus on growing its existing and planned offices. Presently, Amazon already employs 5,000 people in New York, with the online giant saying it’s still committed to creating new employment opportunities in the area, just on a smaller scale than originally planned.

Opposition From New Yorkers 

Political leaders weren’t the only ones disputing Amazon’s HQ2 decision, with a Siena College Poll conducted earlier in the year revealing that 36 percent of registered voters in New York were opposed to the deal.

Since Amazon announced its HQ2 choice in November last year, protesters took to the street, worried that property and rent prices in Long Island city would rise and that the area would be subject to further gentrification and over-crowding.

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez backed up the concerns expressed by locals, as the democratic socialist said her district, which borders parts of Queens and the Bronx would also be impacted by an Amazon headquarters.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, she applauded Amazon for leaving well enough alone.

“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbours defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she wrote.

In November last year, the business announced it would be splitting its second headquarters between two key locations – New York’s Long Island City and Northern Virginia.

Amazon still plans to launch its operation in Northern Virginia.

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