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'This is a union town' — NYC councilman says Amazon's HQ2 is 'antithetical' to our values

Cities shunned by Amazon revive hopes for HQ given New York opposition

Postby smix » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:47 pm

Cities shunned by Amazon revive hopes for HQ given New York opposition
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amaz ... SKCN1Q22KJ
Category: Business
Published: February 13, 2019

Description: NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cities that were shunned in Amazon.com Inc’s search for a secondary corporate headquarters are revisiting their bids in case one of the actual winners, New York City, rejects the corporate giant due to opposition from local politicians. Chicago, Miami and Newark are among the passed-over finalists that have expressed interest in another chance to become the home of an Amazon project that could bring 25,000 jobs. Nashville, Tennessee, which was awarded a 5,000-person center, also said it was open to taking on a bigger role should New York withdraw from consideration. Newark, New Jersey, some 15 miles (24 km) to the west of New York City, is willing to share the headquarters in the event its larger neighbor would be satisfied with a scaled-down project, said Aisha Glover, chief executive of Newark Alliance, the group leading that city’s effort. “We’re definitely interested in reactivating our bid,” Glover said, stressing the importance of keeping Amazon in the New York metropolitan area. Amazon in November announced New York City and Arlington, Virginia, which borders Washington, D.C., would share the so-called HQ2 project, splitting some 50,000 jobs between the two places as the Seattle-based company looked to expand elsewhere.

stay-the-helipad-out.jpg

But the New York project, to be based in the Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, just across the East River from Manhattan, has run into opposition from local politicians who oppose the $2.8-billion in incentives promised to Amazon in a deal secretly negotiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Among those leading the opposition is state Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat who represents the waterfront district where Amazon wants to locate. He criticized offering huge tax credits to a company that made a net profit of $3 billion last quarter and whose chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is listed by Forbes as the richest man in the world. “The dollars are pointed in the wrong direction. Amazon is trying to take, take, take. There’s no consideration of the devastation they would wreak on the surrounding community,” said Gianaris, raising concerns about the impact on public transportation, schools and low-income housing that are already under strain.

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The state senate has nominated Gianaris to the Public Authorities Control Board, which could sink the project as it has other deals in the past. In 2005, the board rejected a plan to build an Olympic and American football stadium in Manhattan. Among Gianaris’ allies is U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the rookie Democratic congresswoman from a nearby district whose progressive politics have captured a large national following. Amazon has the support of other politicians including Cuomo, who has yet to ratify Gianaris’ position on the control board. Amazon said it is not reaching out to any finalists. “We appreciate hearing from locations we have worked with on HQ2 and other projects. We look forward to continuing the relationship as we make investment decisions in the future,” Amazon said Wednesday. Cuomo’s office did not respond to Reuters requests for comment. While the Amazon HQ does have its New York backers, the sustained opposition has led the company to reconsider other sites. The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos, cited two unnamed sources “familiar with the company’s thinking” to report that Amazon executives held internal talks to reassess New York and consider alternatives. But other places may be just as unwelcoming. Nearly 50 left-leaning organizations from cities on Amazon's short shortlist published a letter saying they, too, opposed HQ2. Still, Amazon received 238 proposals from across North America in a year-long bidding war, and Amazon named 20 finalists. Among the cities on the shortlist were Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Newark. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he has yet to contact Amazon but that “we welcome the opportunity to talk further” with Amazon should it consider abandoning New York. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office said in a statement that he “immediately called Amazon” after the Washington Post report “to make a full-throated pitch” for the Chicago bid. Nashville would “evaluate the project and respond appropriately” if Amazon presented a new opportunity, Jeff Hite, the senior vice president for economic development at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. The Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce declined to comment. New Jersey made one of the more aggressive bids, proposing up to $7 billion in potential tax credits. Glover, of the Newark Alliance, said she has reached out to the New York opponents to see if a shared headquarters would be more acceptable. “If for some reason they want to pull out, either in whole or in part, Newark and New Jersey are ready, willing and able to accommodate them,” Glover said. “So we wanted to make sure that we were sending that message to Amazon in a very clear and direct way.”



Amazon will abandon plans to build second headquarters in New York
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amaz ... SKCN1Q32F9
Category: Business
Published: February 14, 2019

Description: (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc said Thursday it will not move forward with plans to build a headquarters in New York after rising opposition from local politicians. The company said it will not reopen the search process “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 had begun considering alternatives last week. The online retailer has not yet acquired any land for the project, which would make it easy to scrap its plans, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday. Amazon had announced it would create 25,000 jobs and build one of two new headquarters based in the Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, just across the East River from Manhattan. The proposal ran into opposition from local politicians who opposed the $2.8-billion in incentives promised to Amazon in a deal secretly negotiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The company said, “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.”




Amazon to New York City: Fuggedaboutit!
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amaz ... SKCN1Q32F9
Category: Business
Published: February 14, 2019

Description: (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will not move forward with plans to build a headquarters in New York after rising opposition from local politicians, the third most-valuable public U.S. company said in on Thursday. Amazon’s search for a second headquarters, which it described as HQ2, was deemed a massive, year-long public relations success, garnering worldwide publicity and interest from cities across the United States. But its choice of New York ran into immediate criticism in the U.S. financial capital from potential neighbors in the Queens neighborhood it chose and for billions of dollars in tax breaks. People briefed on the decision said Amazon had made the decision early Thursday after intense talks starting Wednesday and amid rising concerns about the small vocal minority. The people said Amazon will not shift any of the planned jobs to Tennessee or Virginia but plans to grow its existing network of locations. Amazon had planned to have 700 employees in New York as part of the HQ2 project by the end of the year and did not plan to hit 25,000 in Queens for 10 years. The company said it will not reopen the search process “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 had begun considering alternatives last week. The online retailer has not yet acquired any land for the project, which would make it easy to scrap its plans, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday. The proposal ran into opposition from local politicians who opposed the $2.8-billion in incentives promised to Amazon in a deal secretly negotiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The company said, “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.” Newly-elected Congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the more high-profile critics of the deal from the Democratic Party’s leftward flank. “Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations?” she wrote on Twitter last week. “Yes, they can.” Some residents in the neighborhood, once a scruffy haunt of artists that has rapidly gentrified with a burst of recent high-rise development, had also opposed the plan. Long-time residents feared being forced out by rising rents and untenable pressure on already overburdened subway and sewage systems. Cuomo was a staunch advocate of the project, touting not only the jobs it would create but the long-term tax revenues it would generate.
‘REALLY GOOD POKER PLAYERS’
Hours before the announcement, Amazon officials in New York betrayed no knowledge of the deal’s cancellation when they met with local community members on Thursday morning, said Kenny Greenberg, a neon artist and member of Long Island City’s community board. “Either they are really good poker players or they were not aware,” Greenberg said of the Amazon representatives. “There was no hint of this at all.” Greenberg said he had been open to Amazon’s arrival if it had led to improvements in infrastructure, but that “unanswered questions” continued to mount as time went on. The meeting with Amazon officials had been held to answer concerns from the community about labor conditions for Amazon’s warehouse and delivery workers and the company’s opposition to labor unions. One of the city’s most powerful private-sector unions, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said the company’s abrupt exit confirmed its criticisms. “Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers Amazon says you do it our way or not at all, we will not even consider the concerns of New Yorkers – that’s not what a responsible business would do,” union spokeswoman Chelsea Connor said in a statement. Chicago, Miami and Newark are among the passed-over finalists that have expressed interest in another chance to become the home of an Amazon project that could bring 25,000 jobs. Nashville, Tennessee, which was awarded a 5,000-person center, also said it was open to taking on a bigger role should New York withdraw from consideration. Shares of Amazon were down 0.3 percent after the announcement.



As Amazon drops New York City project, progressives claim a major coup
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amaz ... SKCN1Q332P
Category: Politics
Published: February 15, 2019

Description: NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time on Thursday in calling Amazon’s decision to scrap plans to build a major New York outpost with nearly $3 billion in city and state incentives a big victory for progressive politicians. The democratic socialist congresswoman has become the face of the Democratic Party’s ascendant left wing, thanks in part to her upset victory last year in a district near the proposed Amazon.com Inc development. “Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. Amazon blamed local opposition for its abrupt reversal, which some saw as the latest evidence of the progressive movement’s surging influence ahead of the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination next year. “They have shown sufficient power to back off the largest corporation in the world,” Douglas Muzzio, a professor at Baruch College in New York and an expert on city politics and public opinion. “They killed Amazon, the biggest beast around.” Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has made anti-corporate criticism a key tenet of her 2020 presidential campaign, called the subsidies “billions in taxpayer bribes” and asked on Twitter, “How long will we allow giant corporations to hold our democracy hostage?” Amazon had already been a favored target for some left-wing politicians due to its dominance of online shopping and reputation for imposing difficult work conditions on warehouse workers. The company has defended its practices and last year raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than twice the federally mandated level. But since Amazon announced plans for its so-called HQ2 in 2017 and began soliciting bids from hundreds of U.S. cities, the political environment in both New York and the country has shifted significantly. Last fall, Democrats swept to victory in the U.S. House of Representatives, buoyed by left-wing energy and animus toward Republican U.S. President Donald Trump. In New York, Democrats took control of the state Senate from Republicans for the first time in a decade. Democratic leaders in the state Senate then nominated Michael Gianaris, whose district includes the proposed Long Island City Amazon site, to a little-known state board that could have vetoed the project. Gianaris, a Democrat, was a vocal critic of the billions in subsidies offered to Amazon despite initially calling on the company to consider New York. “This was a shakedown, pure and simple,” Gianaris told reporters on Thursday. Critics of the deal questioned why the third-most valuable company in the United States – with a chief executive, Jeff Bezos, who ranks as the world’s wealthiest man – required that level of public funding, including tax breaks and grant money. Amazon also faced anti-gentrification sentiment in a city where income inequality and a lack of affordable housing have become major concerns. Some labor leaders opposed the deal unless Amazon agreed not to oppose unionization efforts, a position that the company representatives rejected. Still, public polling suggested the deal, which Amazon said would eventually create at least 25,000 jobs, was fairly popular among New Yorkers. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, an enthusiastic backer of the project, faced outrage from left-wing activists who questioned how he could defend the subsidies while staying true to his liberal principles. But he and Governor Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat who spent the last year burnishing his own progressive bona fides while running for another term, had argued that the deal’s job creation benefits far outweighed any cost. In a statement, Cuomo cast blame on a “small group of politicians” he accused of putting political interests ahead of their constituents’ needs. De Blasio, by contrast, put the blame on Amazon for refusing to address local concerns. “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world,” he said in a statement. “Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”



How Amazon scrapped its plans for a New York headquarters
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amaz ... SKCN1Q40A0
Category: Business
Published: February 15, 2019

Description: (Reuters) - More than a year of work to bring Amazon.com Inc’s headquarters and tens of thousands of jobs to New York City ended on Thursday with a couple of phone calls. Jay Carney, the company’s top policy executive, told New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that the world’s biggest online retailer would not go ahead with plans to invest $2.5 billion to build a second head office in the New York City borough of Queens. Carney, a former press secretary for President Barack Obama, told New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the same shortly after. Abruptly scuttling its Big Apple plans blindsided Amazon’s allies and opponents alike. The company said the decision came together only in the last 48 hours, made by its senior leadership team and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, chief executive and the richest person in the world. Yet by some measures the decision was months in the making, as community opposition signaled to the company that it was not entirely welcome. Seattle-based Amazon captivated elected officials across North America in September 2017 when it announced it would create more than 50,000 jobs in a second headquarters dubbed HQ2. Cities and states vied desperately for the economic stimulus, with New Jersey offering $7 billion in potential credits and the mayor of an Atlanta suburb promising to make Bezos mayor for life of a new city called “Amazon.” A backlash began in earnest when Amazon announced two winners to split the offices last November: Arlington, Virginia, and New York’s Long Island City neighborhood, with New York offering incentives worth $1.53 billion to Amazon. The company could apply for $900 million more, too. New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said that day that it was “unfathomable that we would sign a $3 billion check” to one of the world’s most valuable companies considering the city’s crumbling subways and overcrowded schools. City Council meetings in December and January showed Amazon executives who showed up the stern opposition they could expect from some elected officials and labor organizers. Protesters interrupted the meetings. A television report showed people unfurling signs saying, “Amazon delivers lies,” and “Amazon fuels ICE deportations” - a reference to the company’s cooperation with the U.S. Department in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Amazon felt that a small number of local and state officials had no desire to collaborate on a path forward, the company later said, despite what it said was strong popular support for its project.
RELATIVELY PAINLESS EXIT
Tension ratcheted up earlier this month, when Gianaris was nominated to a state panel set to vote in 2020 on whether to approve the financial terms for Amazon. Days later, Amazon executives weighed the pros and cons of whether to follow through with its New York headquarters, two people briefed on talks inside the company said. Concerned that Amazon could be in limbo for more than a year ahead of the state panel’s vote, the growing consensus within the company was that it did not make sense to move ahead in the face of persistent opposition with a headquarters in New York City, where it already has 5,000 employees. Amazon had no binding legal contracts to acquire or lease the land for the project. It could exit with relatively little pain, the people said. Company officials also concluded Amazon could shift the jobs that would have been created in New York to other corporate centers it has across the United States, from the San Francisco Bay Area to Boston. Reopening talks with former HQ2 contestants did not make sense, the people said. Gianaris blamed Amazon for the reversal. “Amazon never showed willingness to look seriously at the concerns that were raised,” he said. Still, up to the moment of the announcement, there were signs that the parties could work together. One union leader said he and other labor organizers met on Wednesday with Cuomo and four Amazon officials, including Brian Huseman, its vice president of public policy. “We had such a productive meeting yesterday. Everyone left happy,” said Stuart Appelbaum, head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The group is trying to organize workers at an Amazon facility in Staten Island, another New York City borough, despite the company’s past opposition to unionization. “It was a complete surprise that they would say they look forward to working with us, and we talked about next steps, and then they call it all off the next morning,” said Appelbaum.
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The Amazon-NYC Deal Can Fall Apart Because New York and Amazon Don’t Need Each Other

Postby smix » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:12 am

The Amazon-NYC Deal Can Fall Apart Because New York and Amazon Don’t Need Each Other
New York Magazine

URL: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/amp/2019 ... other.html
Category: Business
Published: February 8, 2019

Description: Citing “two people familiar with the company’s thinking,” the Washington Post reports that Amazon is reconsidering its commitment to locate a second headquarters in New York City because of rising political opposition to the subsidy deal set to bring them here. Or maybe not! The New York Times has “two people directly familiar with the company’s thinking” who say that the Post article about Amazon’s New York plans “had gone too far and Amazon had no plans to back out.” While Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been enthusiastic cheerleaders for their own plan to bring Amazon to Queens with a $3 billion subsidy package, many other New York politicians have been strongly critical. Most ominously, Democrats in the state senate have sought to place an Amazon-deal critic on a board that would have the power to kill much of the subsidy package. This leak about Amazon’s cold feet could just be a warning shot: “Don’t try to recut our incentive deal or we may walk away” is a message Amazon would surely like to send, whether or not it is actually willing to walk. But it’s also a reflection of a fundamental weakness of the deal to bring Amazon to New York: Neither party truly needs the other. Unlike some other cities that wrote their HQ2 applications as part of a revitalization strategy, New York doesn’t need to be revitalized. Demand for all kinds of real estate is strong here, the job base is strong, and a strategy to subsidize a large new employer is likely to just bid up rents — for both office space and apartments — rather than raise existing residents’ standards of living. “A Quinnipiac poll from December shows the New York public broadly favors Amazon coming to New York. But when asked about the prospect of paying them $3 billion to come, the response is much more closely divided: 46 percent in favor, 44 percent opposed. That’s not the dismal figure you might expect from the strongly negative reaction to the deal from the press, but it’s a figure that suggests Amazon can’t rely on a groundswell of public support to push politicians to subsidize them.” As I wrote back in November, the best arguments for the Amazon subsidy deal were that the company would do two things other similar employers wouldn’t: It would site its large campus in Queens instead of Manhattan, allowing the city to develop a new outer-borough office core and better balance subway demand in and out of Manhattan; and it would conceivably form the nucleus of a high-technology cluster, adding yet one more industry whose firms consider New York a leading office destination. Because of those benefits, I don’t think the Amazon proposal is quite as indefensible as a lot of people do. But a better geographic balance of office space within the city and a more leading position for New York in the tech industry are nice-to-haves, not necessities, and I don’t think they are worth $3 billion. As Amazon is learning, a lot of New York lawmakers feel that way, too. I have seen people comment that Amazon held the HQ2 contest as an auction to bid up subsidies, which is surely true. I have also seen people say that Amazon made the same siting choices — one in Washington, where Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns a palatial home and a major newspaper; and another in New York, the capital of the world — that it would have made, regardless of the size of the subsidy offers. This, I don’t think is quite right. You can’t be a little bit pregnant, but as Amazon showed by selecting two winners in the HQ2 competition and then continuing to pursue smaller deals with other cities like Nashville, you can be a little bit of a second headquarters. And if the subsidies get trimmed, Amazon could trim its plans to grow in New York without dropping them altogether. Amazon already has a substantial office in New York, and it will likely grow substantially, even without special subsidies for the company. Google is growing its presence in New York, with medium-range plans to have nearly as many employees here as Amazon’s proposed headquarters would contain, without a special subsidy package. But absent subsidies, Amazon may grow its New York employee base less than it has planned in the HQ2 vision, only putting employees here when there is a strong and specific business case for them to be here, taking account of the added costs that New York entails. More importantly, without the Queens-specific subsidy package, it’s hard to see what’s in it for Amazon to go to Queens. Amazon’s existing New York office is in Manhattan, and Google’s vast New York expansion is occurring in Manhattan, where the employees they are hiring likely prefer to work. Amazon would also have to worry that political objections to its Queens deal are not just about subsidies — objecting politicians also don’t like the proposed planning process that would allow Amazon to build its dream campus without having to please a bunch of busybodies on the City Council and on community boards. If planning in Queens is going to become a pain, and with many of the subsidies associated with locating in Queens withdrawn, why not just take office space in Manhattan? There happen to be a whole bunch of large office towers in planning and construction right around Amazon’s existing headquarters on the west side of Manhattan. So, we can’t assume Amazon will just come to Queens at any price. But that’s okay — Amazon doesn’t truly need to be there, and Queens doesn’t truly need to have Amazon there. A smaller (but still large!) Amazon expansion in Manhattan instead of Queens is an outcome everyone can live with. And that’s why it’s an outcome we’re likely to get.
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Ocasio-Cortez seeks a victory for progressives in Amazon fight

Postby smix » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:12 am

Ocasio-Cortez seeks a victory for progressives in Amazon fight
CNN

URL: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/08/politics ... index.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 8, 2019

Description: (CNN) - Landing Amazon HQ2 was supposed to be a big win for Democrats who run New York, but instead it's turned into a monstrous headache that's exposing deep political fissures inside the party. One one side is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who joked he'd change his name to 'Amazon' to win the company's business, and Mayor Bill de Blasio. On the other is freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who on Friday declared victory amid reports that the company might be having second thoughts -- and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who suggested that Amazon doesn't really need any more tax breaks. The Amazon deal is the odd issue in US politics that can tie de Blasio and Cuomo together on one side, and Bloomberg and Ocasio-Cortez on the other. It turns out that what some Democrats call economic improvement, others see as corporate charity. To recap, the Internet behemoth promised billions of dollars in new tax base, tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and the honor of being home to HQ2. Policymakers nationwide were eating from the Internet giant's hands and falling over each other to sweeten Amazon's pot with tax breaks and infrastructure improvements, all but begging Jeff Bezos to pick them and move in. It was like a nationwide real-life season of "The Bachelor," with rounds of courtship and periodic cuts. The rose was ultimately split between Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. A smaller campus is also planned for Nashville. Virginia consummated things Tuesday when embattled Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law a $750 million incentive package. But at least part of the resulting three-way marriage feels about as sturdy as a match made on TV. New York is supposed to grant $1.5 billion in incentives contingent on the company creating 25,000 jobs with an average salary of $150,000. "We can't find two nickels to rub together to make the subways run on time or to build affordable housing or to build enough schools for our kids -- in this very neighborhood, mind you -- and yet we're showering Jeff Bezos with all this money that he clearly doesn't need," said Michael Gianaris on CNN.

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He's the deputy majority leader of the New York State Senate, represents Queens and has emerged as a top critic of the deal. He was appointed by the Democrats who took control of the state Senate after elections in November to be on the Public Authorities Control Board, and he could ultimately have the power to essentially veto the deal, according to reports. It was Democrats de Blasio and Cuomo who cheered the deal when it was announced. It's Democrats like Gianaris who could kill it. The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, reported Friday that Amazon was considering ditching Queens and putting the 25,000 promised jobs elsewhere. The key line, anonymously sourced, in the Post report about Amazon's thinking. "The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in New York don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia have been so welcoming." Ocasio-Cortez hailed the Washington Post report on Friday as a victory of the citizen over the corporation, when she tweeted a link to the Post article and added: "Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world's biggest corporations? Yes, they can."

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Amazon subsequently denied it might pull out of the deal and has said it would try to win over New Yorkers, as it did with a recent ad campaign. Criticism from the opponents is based not only on the tax incentives, which many say the company doesn't need, but also on the secretive way the deal was negotiated, outside of public view. "Amazon dares to dictate to us whether our government can even talk to us about what these deals are as they are unfolding. They made the state sign a secrecy agreement. Lo and behold, when the agreement becomes known it's horrible," said Gianaris. Cuomo lashed out at the state Senate on Friday, worried the deal could be in trouble. "It's a very small group of politicians who are pandering to the local politics," he said, according to the New York Post. "I've never heard such an absurd situation where political pandering defeated a bona fide, sound economic development project." He didn't acknowledge the very real concerns of local anti-development activists, who don't want to see their neighborhoods taken over and their property values explode out from under them. Opposition to the deal was clear late last month when New York City Council members had tough questions for Amazon officials at a public hearing, suggesting the company had misled about the economic benefits its new campus would bring. The council issued its own report suggesting the data on the benefits pushed by the governor and mayor was overblown. It's not just the local politicians and strong progressives who are questioning the deal. The former mayor, the billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who might run for President as a Democrat, had this to say, according to Politico: "But the reason they came here was not the tax breaks they got, which I didn't think they needed."
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Update on plans for New York City headquarters

Postby smix » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:35 pm

Update on plans for New York City headquarters
Amazon

URL: https://blog.aboutamazon.com/company-ne ... adquarters
Category: Business
Published: February 14, 2019

Description: 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. 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% 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 reopen 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. Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.
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