Coverage: Amazon drops plans for New York hub
Amazon.com Inc. abruptly scrapped plans to build a major outpost in New York that could have created 25,000 jobs, blaming opposition from local leaders upset by the nearly $3 billion in incentives promised by state and city politicians.
Jonathan Allen and David Shepardson of Reuters had the news:
The company said on Thursday it did not see consistently “positive, collaborative” relationships with state and local officials. Opponents of the project feared congestion and higher rents in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, and objected to handing billions in incentives to a company run by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man.
State Senator Michael Gianaris, who represents Queens and was a vocal critic of the deal, told a news conference on Thursday that the Amazon subsidies were unnecessary.
“This was a shakedown, pure and simple,” he said.
Amazon’s sudden pullout from New York City prompted finger pointing by Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo, the politicians who crafted the deal. Cuomo angrily blamed the loss on local politicians while de Blasio blamed Amazon.
J. David Goodman of The New York Times reported that the company’s deal with New York had supporters:
The company also had its supporters — in the city’s business community, among some unions and within nearby public housing, where some residents were hopeful that the project would bring jobs. A pair of polls showed broad support around the city and state.
But in the end, it was not enough to persuade the company to ride out the torrent of negative attention.
Amazon did not inform the governor or the mayor of its decision to pull out until Thursday morning, shortly before the company posted its announcement online.
Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio reacted in starkly different ways. The governor blamed the newly emboldened Democrats who now control the State Senate for derailing the project.
Joseph Spector of USA Today reported that the company has no plans to reopen negotiations with another city:
New York and Virginia won a national competition last year to land the new Amazon headquarters.
Amazon said Thursday it has no plans to reopen the competition and 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.”
In recent days, several cities, including Newark, New Jersey, said they would be eager to talk again to Amazon if the Seattle-based company wanted to reconsider its plans.
Amazon made it clear Thursday local opposition was too great an obstacle for the Queens project to continue.
“While polls show that 70 percent 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,” the company said.