Amazon will not build HQ2 in New York City

The tech giant walks away from a deal, succumbing to opposition over huge tax breaks.

February 14, 2019 |
Amazon will not build HQ2 in New York City

Amazon has decided to withdraw its plans to build a second headquarters campus in New York City, stating that it did not think it could find common ground with the deal's political opponents. Image: Pixabay/Amazon

Amazon has informed New York that it is pulling out of its plans to build a corporate campus in Long Island City in the borough of Queens, N.Y., a project that promised billions of dollars in investment and at least 25,000 high-paying jobs.

The tech giant faced considerable opposition to its plans, specifically about the nearly $3 billion in government incentives it would have received, but also about political and land-use concessions the city and state had agreed to make in order to lure Amazon, whose search for its “HQ2” location that attracted bids form 238 cities.

Under the plan it is now abandoning, Amazon, over a 15-year period, could have occupied as much as eight million sf of office space that could have accommodated up to 40,000 workers, according to the New York Times.

Amazon’s decision is seen as a major defeat for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who championed the effort to forge a deal with Amazon.

In its prepared statement announcing its decision Amazon thanked Cuomo and DeBlasio for their efforts, but also stated that “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.”

It wasn’t just elected officials, though, who opposed Amazon’s plan. Typical of many of the responses posted on the Times’ website, following the news of Amazon’s decision, was this from one reader, identified as AL O:

So, you bypass the democratic process and cut a backroom deal that has you taking billions in public money for nothing more than the promise of jobs you may create, and then you're “surprised” when the local people whose rights you bypassed object to the terms of that deal? So, rather than standing your ground and explaining yourself, or perhaps renegotiating the deal a bit to make your neighbors around your proposed facility somewhat happier, you just panic and take your ball and go home crying? It doesn't sound like Amazon was ready for New York.

However, Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for New York City, thought that the negative reaction that Amazon received upon its choice of Long Island City, and the company’s subsequent withdrawal from that decision, sends “a pretty bad message to job creators of the city and the world.”

Amazon says it has no immediate plans to reopen its HQ2 search. It will continue with its plans to build a corporate campus in Northern Virginia and other buildings in Nashville.  

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