Amazon has canceled its plans to build one of its two new headquarters in the Queens section of New York City due to fierce resistance from local politicians.
The decision was a major blow to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the city’s Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Local politicians – among them newly-elected New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – were unhappy about the steep tax breaks and expressed some doubts about the number of jobs the city would see in return.
“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,” a statement read on the Amazon website. “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.
“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.
“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture — and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.
“We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.
“We do not intend to re-open the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.”
The company was to receive up to $3 billion in tax breaks from the state and city in return for the 25,000 to 40,000 jobs it promised to create in the city, generating an estimated $27 billion in economic benefits for the city in future years.