Amazon dumps NYC: Drops new headquarters plan
NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY/AP) - Amazon will not build a new headquarters in New York City, a stunning reversal to an ambitious plan that would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to the city.
The online retailer has faced opposition from some New York politicians, who were unhappy with the nearly $3 billion in tax incentives Amazon was promised. The company's executives also faced angry protesters in December when they were grilled by New York City Council members about the project. Jeering protesters interrupted their answers several times.
"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.
Along with the jobs, the company had planned to spend $2.5 billion to build the new offices in Queens.
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.
Opposition to the deal had been growing among some New York City politicians. But as late as Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was "mission critical" for New York City to land one of the second headquarters and the tens of thousands of jobs the company promised to create.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who helped broker the deal to bring the retail giant, had said that fellow Democrats in the state Senate were "playing politics" by nominating a critic of subsidies for Amazon's planned campus in Queens to a state board with the power to derail the project.
In a statement, Cuomo said local elected officials "put their own narrow political interests above their community… the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state."
"The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity," Cuomo said. "The fundamentals of New York's business climate and community that attracted Amazon to be here—our talent pool, world-class education system, commitment to diversity and progressivism—remain and we won't be deterred as we continue to attract world class business to communities across New York State."
In its blog post, Amazon hailed the governor and the mayor.
"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," Amazon wrote.
Groups opposed to the arrival of Amazon cheered the announcement.
"This announcement marks a landmark victory for our communities and shows the power of the people, even when taking on the world's richest man," said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of the anti-poverty group Make the Road New York. "Our members and allies stood firm against Governor Cuomo's plan to give away more than $3 billion in taxpayer giveaways so that Amazon could force its empire-building on our neighborhoods."
Bankrate.com's senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said the decision could be disastrous for the region.
"New York state had already seen a decline in tax revenues late last year, thought linked to the decline in the stock market and the cap on federal income tax deductibility of state and local taxes, crimping the housing market," Hamrick said. "For those who didn't want Amazon to bring the promised 25,000 new jobs and added economic vitality to the area: Be careful what you wish for."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was against the deal and represents parts of Queens, had tweeted that people had effectively organized against "creeping overreach of one of the world's biggest corporations" when news leaked out last week that Amazon was reconsidering the headquarters deal in the city.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.