Amazon has announced it will no longer build a headquarters in New York.
“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,” Amazon said in a statement Thursday.
The change would have brought 25,000 jobs to the Queens area, but the company would have received $ 1.7 billion in incentives from the state and another $ 1.3 billion from the city, including a taxpayer-funded helicopter pad, just for moving in. That didn’t sit well with local lawmakers and residents of Queens who said the change would negatively impact the neighborhood.
“They’re just packing more and more people in, more and more residents in, and now you’re gonna add, what, 25,000 workers every day? I don’t see how that works,” resident Phil Maurigiannakis, 50, told HuffPost in November.
In its statement, Amazon said it backed out amid criticisms from state and local politicians.
“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,” the statement said.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) was one of those politicians opposed to Amazon’s plan.
“The dollars are pointed in the wrong direction,” Gianaris told Reuters on Wednesday. “Amazon is trying to take, take, take. There’s no consideration of the devastation they would wreak on the surrounding community.”
In a statement on Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) took aim at Amazon for abandoning the project.
“You have to be tough to make it in New York City,” de Blasio said. “We gave Amazon an opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) also complained, saying The New York State Senate has “done tremendous damage” by voicing concerns over the project.
Andrew Cuomo's first words on Amazon.
Of the political opponents: "They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity." pic.twitter.com/zjL7QOeN3J
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 14, 2019
“They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity,” he said in a statement.
Amazon first announced in September 2017 its intention to build a second headquarters outside of its home of Seattle, Washington. The company said it would consider cities around the country, as well as in Canada, with a few stipulations. By the following January, Amazon executives said they had narrowed the options down to 20 finalists, including cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York.
Amazon’s search for an HQ2, as it dubbed the prospective hub, prompted a kind of bidding war among cities seeking to earn the company’s favor with perks ranging from free zoo passes to major tax incentives.
The company ultimately said it had decided to split the second headquarters between two locations — New York City and Arlington, Virginia.
Amazon on Thursday said it would go forward with new headquarters in Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee, and would not reopen the search for additional locations.
This has been updated throughout.