In a shocking announcement today, Amazon just dropped Queens and NYC from HQ plans. Last year, the company proclaimed that NYC was going to be the new home for their headquarters, planning to station the entire operation in Long Island City, Queens. While some lawmakers worked to broker the deal, community members and New Yorkers from all across opposed the launch. Amazon decided to take that into account, canceling their plans to build in NYC.
According to the Boston Globe:
Amazon says it will not be building a new headquarters in New York, a stunning reversal after a yearlong search.
The online retailer has faced opposition from some New York politicians, who were unhappy with the tax incentives Amazon was promised.
‘‘We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York,’’ the company said in a blog post, adding that it has 5,000 workers in the city and plans to grow those teams.
Amazon said Thursday it does not plan to look for another location, and will continue to build out offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee.
The headquarters was supposed to open sometime in 2019, opening up some 25,000 jobs according to the online retailer. The problem is when large companies come to stay and promise job openings, it’s rarely an accurate representation of how many locals they’ll employ. Additionally, the city offered Amazon $3 million in tax breaks in exchange for a headquarters, which many residents were unhappy about.
While Amazon just dropped Queens and NYC from its HQ list, Amazon is still planning to build a Go store in the financial district later this year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was gung-ho on this project, pushing Amazon to come to NYC and fighting back against New Yorkers who opposed the structure. “For the state Senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice. And if they stop Amazon from coming to New York, they’re going to have the people of New York state to explain it to. It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy,” said Cuomo at a press conference last week.
As soon as plans for an Amazon HQ in LIC were announced, there was a protest. Many were upset that the plans particularly stopped other politicians and representatives from voting on it, stripping the power from the communities. At the first protest, newly elected assemblywoman, Catalina Cruz, who represents the nearby Queens neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst complained, “Why did they usurp the ability of the Council to do its job? Because it’s not good for our community.”
At that same protest, Stuart Appelbaum, whose union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union explained, “Their business model depends on low taxes and low wages and a reduction of workers rights. Is this the behavior that New York wants to reward?”