Central New York economic development officials have been left disappointed after a deal to bring Amazon to New York City fell through. Centerstate CEO Senior Vice President Andrew Fish worries that community opposition to the plan sent a message that the state is not the friendliest place to conduct business.
“We don’t believe that to be true. There’s a lot to be said about the power of perception. You know we’re worried about that, but ultimately it’s really a shame that we’re missing out on these 25,000 jobs, not because of anything necessarily the leadership at the highest level of the state has done wrong. I mean the governor was right in being aggressive in going after this deal,” Fish said.
Fish says the entire state is missing out on some potentially substantial benefits from Amazon. He says it would result in an increased tax base, more consumer spending, and a higher national profile which would offset the three billion dollars in incentives the state was offering. Fish says there are lessons to be learned about landing these deals.
“Understanding certainly priorities of your region and priorities of your community and having clear vision and strategy as to what you’re trying to attract but once you do, that’s not the end of the work. That’s just the beginning of the process of making sure that the challenges that can arise from large scale growth are overcome and dealt with in an appropriate way,” he said.
Fish says a win for the state became a self-inflicted wound for not being able to find a way to make it work. He and government leaders in this region have urged Amazon to consider locating in Central New York. Fish says office space and the fast-growing tech industry are assets, in addition to plans for an inland port for transportation and logistics opportunities.
County Executive Ryan McMahon says the door is open if Amazon wants to locate in Onondaga County.
“Downstate politicians have allowed their personal political agendas to continue to drive business out of New York State. Make no mistake, the decision by Amazon is a loss for all of New York and the blame lies solely with the downstate politicians who would rather play politics than actually fight for real, good-paying jobs. The business community should know that Onondaga County and Central New York are open for business and we would gladly welcome any company, big or small, new or established, that is interested in relocating or expanding.” McMahon said.
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh also expressed his disappointment about the decision today at the Tech Garden while discussing economic growth strategies. Here's the statement from his office:
"I am disappointed to see the opportunity lost to bring Amazon to Queens. It’s a blow to all of New York State. I met with business leaders in Syracuse this afternoon to talk about growth and the New Economy. I am convinced Amazon would have benefited our growing tech industry in Syracuse. While some have the luxury of second guessing job creating strategies, we would have welcomed Amazon to Central New York. And we still would!” he said.