Amazon cancels New York City HQ2 plans

Amazon cancels plans to open headquarters in New York citing opposition from local politicians

Technology jobs, the argument went, would enable the city and state to weather the effects of a future recession, which historically has had an outsized impact on employment rolls tilted heavily toward the financial sector.

But local opposition was fierce from the beginning. State lawmakers past year approved an $8.5 billion package - including $6.5 billion in tax incentives and $2 billion in infrastructure and transportation spending - in hopes of luring the internet titan to the state.

Long-time residents feared being forced out by rising rents and untenable pressure on already overburdened subway and sewage systems.

Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director of ALIGN, center, speaks during a protest against Amazon outside of City Hall in NY on January 30.

"Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers, Amazon says you do it our way or not at all", said union spokeswoman Chelsea Connor.

Venture capitalist Bradley Tusk, who has helped Uber and Tesla negotiate deals with NYC, says Amazon failed to recognize the on-the-ground realities of doing business in NY.

Local politicians who had opposed the deal were quick to claim victory, while others heaped criticism on the politicians for helping to drive out Amazon.

Union leaders said they would have been open to supporting the plans had the company considered making changes to its plans based off feedback from the community. Instead, the e-commerce giant will move forward with existing plans in Virginia and Nashville and continue to hire across its 17 tech hubs and corporate offices in the United States and Canada.

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Amazon abruptly pulled its plans Thursday for a big new headquarters in NY. But it wasn't a ploy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"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", Amazon's statement continued.

But Amazon had originally planned to hire 25,000 employees for its second headquarters and revitalize the area in which the facility would be located. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio argued that the deal would yield a staggering 9:1 return on investment. Beyond hype, cities dangled generous tax incentives. The online retailing behemoth is looking for new cities to build its headquarters in, and now it looks as if NY is out of the race. Most cities and states kept their offers private.

"We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion - we love NY", the online giant said in a blog post, adding that it already has 5,000 employees in the city and plans to increase that number.

In a blog post today, the company has announced its decision to forgo NY as a location for its headquarters.

The New York Building Trades, an umbrella organization of affiliates representing 100,000 New York construction members, saw things differently: "Politics and pandering have won out over a once-in-a-generation investment in New York City's economy, bringing with it tens of thousands of solid middle class jobs".

Marc Weller, president of Weller Development Co., the developer of Port Covington, said last week that his team had reached out to Amazon. The decision could also prompt other businesses to think twice before setting up shop or expanding in the region.

The Jeff Bezos-led Amazon announced its engagement to NY (and Virginia, but we don't judge) in November, but the decision was met nearly instantly with protests from local politicians and workers' unions, which argued that the company's move to LIC would only increase the neighborhood's gentrification problem and that one of the world's most successful corporations owned by the world's richest man does not need billions of dollars in tax breaks.

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