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Amazon Pulls Plans to Build Second HQ in New York City

Amazon has announced it is pulling its plan to build a second headquarters in New York City , citing opposition by some state and local politicians.

The company , in a statement, says “after much thought and deliberation” they have  decided not to move forward with plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens.

The statement points out that recent poll showed 70% of New Yorkers wanted the project, but says “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us”.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had engineered the deal, along with New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio. But he was criticized by local residents, progressive groups, and politicians who represent the area, including Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  They opposed the nearly $3 billion subsidy to the company, which is run by Jeff Bezos,  one of the richest men in the world. 

One of those opponents is Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michal Gianaris, whose district included the proposed Amazon site. He says Amazon was arrogant, and acted like  a bully. He says they did not take into accounts the needs of the community, including adequate public transportation and the need for more schools and affordable housing. 

What happened today  is that the people stood up,” said Gianaris, who said the community had many unanswered questions about the project . “And instead of dealing with those questions in a responsible way, Amazon took its ball and left town.”

The Democratic Senate leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, earlier this month  recommended Gianaris  to a key oversight board that had the power to approve or reject portions of the project, a signal that the project might be derailed.

Progressive groups who opposed the deal, including the organization Make the Road, called Amazon’s decision to withdraw “a landmark victory for our communities”.

Governor Cuomo did not comment publicly, but issued a statement expressing his deep disappointment. He said “a small group of politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community”. The governor warns that they “should be held accountable” for the loss of a project that would have brought 25,000 “good paying” jobs and nearly $30 billion  in new revenue.  

Tensions have been simmering between Cuomo, a Democrat, and the newly formed Senate Democratic Majority, and the differences over Amazon have brought those divisions out into the open.

Business groups expressed dismay over Amazon’s decision. Kathryn Wylde, with the New York City Partnership, said the constant criticism of Amazon sends a   “terrible message to the job creators of the city and the world."

Senator Gianaris says he hopes the failure of the Amazon deal represents a turning point for large taxpayer funded subsidies for wealthy corporations. He says it’s an “important moment” for New York and the nation.

There is example after example of public dollars being wasted and given to the most giant corporations among us,” Gianaris said. “And disaster after disaster follows.”

Meanwhile, upstate communities that had competed unsuccessfully for the new headquarters asked the company to take a second look at their regions.  Broome County executive, Jason Garner in the state’s economically struggling Southern Tier, released a letter inviting the company to come for a visit.   

But Amazon says they do not intend to reopen their search at this time, and will proceed with plans for expansion in Virginia and Nashville and at other sites around the country.


Governor Cuomo lamented the lost opportunity, and blamed the state senate for playing politics.  Here's his statement in its entirety:

"Amazon chose to come to New York because we are the capital of the world and the best place to do business. We competed in and won the most hotly contested national economic development competition in the United States, resulting in at least 25,000-40,000 good paying jobs for our state and nearly $30 billion dollars in new revenue to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools and countless other quality of life improvements. Bringing Amazon to New York diversified our economy away from real estate and Wall Street, further cementing our status as an emerging center for tech and was an extraordinary economic win not just for Queens and New York City, but for the entire region, from Long Island to Albany's nanotech center.

"However, a small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community -- which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City -- the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state. The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.

"The fundamentals of New York's business climate and community that attracted amazon to be here - our talent pool, world-class education system, commitment to diversity and progressivism - remain and we won't be deterred as we continue to attract world class business to communities across New York State."