Caving to pressure form local politicians and special interest groups, tech conglomerate Amazon has trashed a plan to build a new corporate headquarters in New York City.
The spacious Amazon campus in Long Island City, Queens would have created more than 25,000 well-paying jobs.
However, lawmakers balked at the nearly $3 billion in New York state and city tax incentives that the Jeff Bezos-led firm stood to reap from the high-profile search for a location for “HQ2.”
One of those politicians was recently sworn-in US House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who lambasted the e-commerce giant’s “creeping overreach.”
Ocasio-Cortez took a victory lap on Twitter following Amazon’s announcement, arguing that “everyday New Yorkers” defeated “Amazon’s corporate greed” and “worker exploitation.”
“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”
On the other end of the spectrum, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had been a rabid proponent of Amazon’s plans, which he said would help diversify the state’s finance-heavy economy.
“You want to diversify your economy? You don’t want to just be Wall Street and finance?” Cuomo said last week. “We need Amazon.”
The governor had also joked that he would change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” if HQ2 came to New York City. Hopefully, he waited to file that paperwork.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, another HQ2 proponent, sharply criticized the company, which he said “threw away” the “opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world.”
“We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone,” he added on Twitter. “If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will.”
Amazon intends to proceed with plans to build half of HQ2 in Northern Virginia, but other would-be Amazon paramours have already begun to line up to catch Jeff Bezos and company on the rebound.
Earlier this week, following a litany of reports suggesting that Amazon and New York were going through a rough patch, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said that the state would love to see Amazon give Nashville another look for HQ2.
“We would be very interested in working with Amazon in any way possible,” Rolfe said in a Fox Business interview.
Amazon issued the following statement outlining its decision:
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. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.
We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture — and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.
We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.
We do not intend to re-open the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.
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. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.
Developing…Check back for updates.
Featured Image from Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP