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Amazon cancels plans to build New York HQ, moving forward with Virginia location

Posted at 11:57 AM, Feb 14, 2019

Amazon is ditching its plans to build a new headquarters in New York after facing backlash from members of the community.

“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,” Jodi Seth, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement.

In the statement, Amazon noted 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.”

Amazon selected New York City and Northern Virginia in November to split duty as its second headquarters (nicknamed HQ2) after a year-long search. Each city was expected to have more than 25,000 workers over time.

The company plans to move forward with its office expansions in Virginia as well as Nashville, where it is building a new hub expected to employ 5,000 people. There are no plans to “reopen the HQ2 search at this time,” according to the Amazon statement.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo framed the original announcement as a tremendous job creation opportunity for the entire New York region. It also ignited a frenzy over real estate in both cities.

But critics objected to the massive subsidies New York offered to lure the tech behemoth.

New York State committed to $1.525 billion in incentives, contingent on the company creating 25,000 new jobs with an average salary of $150,000. Protesters took to the streets in Long Island City, criticizing the deal for being bad for taxpayers and the neighborhood.

Those critics got new hope earlier this month when New York State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, who is a vocal critic of HQ2, was recommended to serve on the Public Authorities Control Board.

The relatively unknown board weighs in on any financing and land use deals that run through public authorities, which primarily include economic development projects. It’s had some success in the past blocking major projects.

Even after initial reports last week that Amazon was reconsidering its investment in New York, top city officials, including New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, expressed confidence that the deal would go through.