E-commerce giant backs away from building Long Island City hub despite nearly $3 billion in incentives
Amazon won’t be delivering a second headquarters to New York City, the e-commerce announced on Thursday.
The Seattle-based company had planned on opening a massive new complex in Long Island City, Queens, that would employ 25,000 people. But those plans have been canceled, despite nearly $3 billion in tax incentives, because of mounting opposition from local politicians, Amazon wrote in a blog post.
“While polls show that 70 percent 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 company said.
Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York comes months after Amazon announced it would split its new East Coast headquarters between New York City and Arlington, Virginia, capping a nationwide search for its “HQ2” that had started in 2017.
Amazon said it would not search for another location for its split headquarters, but instead focus on its planned expansion in Northern Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee.
As recently as Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a “contingent of labor unions” met with Amazon executives in a “last-ditch effort to save the deal,” according to the New York Daily News. The company said in its blog post that it was “deeply grateful” to Gov. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for “enthusiastically and graciously” inviting Amazon to build its complex in New York City.
That enthusiasm hasn’t been met by several other New York politicians, however, with many complaining the tech giant’s presence would lead to rising housing costs and gentrification. Others criticized the criticized the state and city incentives handed to Amazon, including a rare exemption to build a rooftop helicopter pad — something that has been banned in New York City since the 9/11 attacks.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris blasted Amazon as a “petulant child” that “insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves.”
“Even by their own words,” Gianaris, a Democrat who represents Long Island City, told The New York Times, “Amazon admits they will grow their presence in New York without their promised subsidies. So what was all this really about?”
Cuomo, in a November op-ed defending the incentives given to Amazon, argued the company would “generate approximately $1 billion per year in new revenue.”
Despite abandoning its plans for a second headquarters in New York, Amazon said on Wednesday it plans on growing its team of about 5,000 employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.