As it turns out, those reports about Amazon reconsidering its plan to build one of its “HQ2s” in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City weren’t just trial balloons intended as a warning to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
On Thursday, the company announced that, after much deliberation, it would scrap its plans to move to New York City, much to the chagrin of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, we imagine, and NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who have been battling over who deserves the most credit for the $3 billion package of “performance based” state, city and public-private incentives offered to Amazon.
The news hasn’t provoked much of a reaction in AMZN shares:
In a statement, Amazon didn’t mince words and pointed the finger squarely at progressive New York lawmakers who objected to the massive tax incentive package offered to Amazon and the potential for the new campus to shift the gentrification process into overdrive (the main building would have been situated just blocks away from the Queensbridge Housing Project, America’s largest public housing project.
After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% 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.We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture — and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.
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. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.
We do not intend to re-open the HQ2 search at this time. We 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.
Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.
The decision to pull out of NYC comes after New York State lawmakers nominated one of the deal’s fiercest opponents to a state board that would grant him the power to unilaterally kill the state component of the incentive package. NYC progressives and “Democratic socialists” like AOC can claim a major victory over their corporate adversaries. Queens real-estate brokers on the other hand are reacting with a mix of “shock, anger and disbelief”…
…As anyone and everyone who could sought to get in on the real estate buying frenzy.
However, New Yorkers who opposed the Amazon deal will probably be disappointed to find that driving away the e-commerce giant won’t help fix the subway.
The prospect of luring Amazon to NYC was an all-consuming project for the Democrats who run the state. Cuomo and De Blasio set aside their fierce rivalry to work together to court Amazon, we wonder who will be the first to point the finger at their rival as what we imagine will become one of the most epic blame games in the history of New York politics.