Amazon ends plans to build HQ2 in New York City

Anna Jefferson
February 15, 2019

If Amazon had chose to press forward with its NY plans, it would have had a major political fight on its hands. "Had they all just framed the tax incentives as, these are things any company in this geographic location can apply for and we'll see what happens, amazon could have gotten 80% of the money without any controversy", he said via text.

The no-comments make it hard to determine whether those officials - including leaders in Fort Worth and Arlington's city government and chambers of commerce - are keeping mum because of non-disclosure agreements, or because they just don't know much about what Amazon's next move might be.

Amazon's decision to build its headquarters in NY was strongly supported by the state's governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D).

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

In a joint letter today addressed to "Dear Amazon", Emanuel and Pritzker said whatever happened in the Big Apple, "We want to assure you that Chicago, our surrounding communities and the state of IL remain ready to welcome HQ2 to our city, and to ensure a smooth and successful transition and launch". "We will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the USA and Canada", it added.

Amazon said it would not conduct a new headquarters search and would focus on growing at other existing and planned offices.

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Along with the support of unions, progressives mounted made it it clear that Amazon, who planned to bring 25,000 to the proposed campus, was not welcome in NY.

"Multibillion-dollar corporations and billionaires like Jeff Bezos should not be threatening New Yorkers or expect any American taxpayers to foot the bill for opening a new headquarters - whether it's in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, or anywhere else". Amazon has said it would bring at least 25,000 and as many as 40,000 jobs to the Long Island City neighborhood over 10 to 15 years.

"We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion - we love NY", the online giant from Seattle said in a blog post announcing its withdrawal.

"They have shown sufficient power to back off the largest corporation in the world", Douglas Muzzio, a professor at Baruch College in NY and an expert on city politics and public opinion.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker recently "reached out to Amazon to make a full-throated pitch to attract these good-paying jobs to Illinois and assure them that they would have a strong partner in the governor's office", Jordan Abudayyeh, spokeswoman for the governor's office, told Barron's in an email statement.

Amazon had faced scrutiny for receiving over $3 billion in tax and other incentives, and was heavily courted by state officials while it went through a public application process for its HQ2 location.

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NY officials who differed from de Blasio and Cuomo in their assessment of the Amazon situation felt it would be problematic to devote resources to employees making an average of $150,000 a year when the city faces other issues.

Amazon, in a release, said it is not reopening its search and will move ahead with two other parts of the project, in Northern Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee.

De Blasio blasted the company's decision to pull out, saying it wasn't tough enough to stand up to the heat. "New Jersey is open for business, and now more than ever, Newark is the clear choice as the next presence for Amazon corporate offices. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity", de Blasio wrote in a tweet.

"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", the company said in a statement.

Shares of Amazon were down 0.3 percent after the announcement.

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