Amazon Cancels Delivery of HQ2 to NYC
Online retail giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced Thursday that it will be nixing its plan to build a new headquarters in Long Island City following increasing opposition.
The company claimed in a blog post that it has pulled out due to push back from local government and citizens, who have voiced concerns over Amazon’s impact on the community, anti-unionization policy and tax breaks.
The company will proceed with plans to build another headquarters in Northern Virginia and its backup city, Nashville.
“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,” Amazon wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Ever since announcing the plans for their so-called “HQ2” back in November, Amazon has been the center of criticism. Concerns over the nature of the deal (with speculation that it was a behind-closed-doors agreement with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo) and the economic impact and fair treatment of employees have been among the most prominent for those opposing.
According to CNBC, Governor Cuomo has warned local government officials that the loss of the estimated 25,000 jobs will be on them come election time.
"For the state Senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice," Cuomo claimed at a news conference on Long Island. "It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy."
Amazon originally reported that the HQ2 could add up to $2.5 billion in investment to New York City, providing employees at the new headquarters with an average salary of $150,000 per year.
Still, several local officials seem happy the company has backed out.
"This is typical of the way Amazon has handled this situation," State Sen. Michael Gianaris, known critic of Amazon, told CNBC last week. "If they're trying to extort New York through anonymous threats, they're showing that they're not a responsible corporate actor to begin with. ... If their view is we want your $3 billion or we're leaving, maybe they should leave."
And famously outspoken New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to voice her satisfaction over the news.
After months of heavy criticism, it seems as though concerns over Amazon’s anti-unionization policy, tax breaks and infrastructure issues were enough to warrant pulling out.