Amazon exploring potential alternatives to New York HQ

10 February, 2019, 07:41 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition, report says

"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors - small business owners, educators, and community leaders", an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

Citing two anonymous sources familiar with the company's thinking, the Washington Post reported on Friday that Amazon "is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of opposition from local politicians".

Earlier, the Post, which is owned by Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, reported that Amazon executives had had internal discussions to reassess the situation in NY and explore alternatives.

"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in NY don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming", one person familiar with the company's plans told the Post. Protesters have become increasingly vocal, flipping some politicians who were originally for HQ2 against it. Opponents are taking issue with the lucrative subsidies offered to Amazon, and the impending strain the new operation could place on infrastructure and affordability.

Cuomo said NY would be able to "count on one hand the number of millionaires left in New York" if taxes go up. Amazon has said it will turn its $2.5 billion investment into an incremental tax revenue of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years.

The Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.

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Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens has called the plan to award Amazon billions of dollars in tax credits and direct grants "offensive" to residents and taxpayers struggling with aging subways, overcrowded schools and a lack of affordable housing. After months of haggling and wrangling to establish a deal involving major tax breaks and accommodations, Democrats in New York City are complaining that the deal isn't good enough, the tax breaks are too risky, and Amazon's arrival might be damaging to the social justice crowd because it could lead to further "gentrification" of the area.

All of this has Amazon wondering if picking NY was the right thing to do.

What appears to have happened here is that Amazon paid more attention to the incentives offered by NY than in making sure that the neighborhood they planned to occupy was a proper fit.

One reason for the big difference in whether Amazon is welcomed or not lies in the nature of the locations where the new headquarters would be. Amazon also selected Nashville to host a 5,000-person "center of excellence" for its operations business.

The company, which announced past year that it had chosen a site in Long Island City to house 25,000 employees, has not leased or purchased office space for the project yet, making it easy to withdraw the commitment, according to the Washington Post. The county board of supervisors has expressed strong support for the Amazon headquarters and is planning to pass a local incentive package in March. Plus, adding 25,000 high-paying jobs to this corner of Queens will only make gentrification worse, activists warn. But it's not for nothing that Amazon wants to be in NY. Amazon has done so in Northern Virginia.

The Legislature and governor would have to sign off on a New York City-only millionaires tax.

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