Friday, 22 February, 2019

Amazon reconsidering NYC headquarters after opposition

Protesters at last week's City Council hearing on the Amazon deal Protesters at last week's City Council hearing on the Amazon deal
Orlando Vargas | 09 February, 2019, 17:09

According to a new report from The Washington Post, two anonymous officials have disclosed that Amazon might be backtracking on its plans to build a new headquarters in the New York City borough of Queens.

Amazon executives have held internal discussion to "reassess the situation in NY and explore alternatives", according to the Post.

However, several NY politicians have been critical of the project and the roughly $3 billion in incentives NY agreed to provide. "If Amazon or any organization is looking for a new corporate home, I know everyone involved in this most recent effort stands ready to roll up our sleeves once again".

New York State committed to $1.525 billion in incentives, contingent on the company creating 25,000 new jobs with an average salary of $150,000.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused his fellow Democrats in the state Senate of committing "governmental malpractice" Friday by trying to kill the deal to bring Amazon to Queens.

"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbours - small business owners, educators, and community leaders", it said.

"If Amazon doesn't come to NY, it's because of the political opposition". It also ignited a frenzy over real estate in both cities.

The source noted that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from NY officials and has not yet given up completely on NY as the location of their headquarters, which plans to create 25,000 Amazon jobs. Even before these subsidies, New York City has been struggling to fund acceptable public transportation and affordable housing.

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Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says he hasn't heard from Amazon since the e-commerce giant broke the news to him and other South Florida officials that the region came up short in its bid to land HQ2.

If Amazon backtracks on its plans to build a second headquarters in NYC, it will be a pretty significant blow to the company, considering it held a highly-publicized contest of sorts to choose which American city would be the best place to house the new complex.

Cuomo said there's always not-in-my-back-yard opposition to projects and change - but admitted being taken aback by the ideological resistance to the Amazon deal in the Senate.

"The mayor fully expects Amazon to deliver on its promise to New Yorkers", said his spokesman Eric Phillips in a statement.

In response to a request for comment, Amazon appeared to commit itself to the NY project, though didn't explicitly say so.

"I think it's really encouraging to show that government and all of us primarily have a responsibility to the communities that we directly impact", Ocasio-Cortez told CNN on Friday. The financial incentives NY lavished on Amazon to lure the company there also troubled some liberals.

"Structured in the right way, this type of development would bring tens of thousands of good-paying jobs to the South Side and provide an influx of new economic activity into some of Chicago's most disinvested neighborhoods". The company is hiring lobbyists and a "community affairs manager" in NY, so it's clearly still committed to the deal at some level.

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