Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Headquarters
Amazon.com on Thursday canceled its plans to build an expansive corporate campus in New York City after facing an unexpectedly fierce backlash from some lawmakers and union leaders, who contended that a tech giant didn't deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives. The retail giant, as part of its extensive search for a new headquarters, had chosen Long Island City, Queens, as one of two winning sites, saying that it would create more than 25,000 jobs in the city. However, the agreement to lure Amazon stirred an intense debate about the use of public subsidies to entice wealthy companies, the rising cost of living in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, and the city’s very identity.
Total Retail's Take: While there had been opposition to Amazon's plan to locate its second company headquarters in New York City (along with an additional site in Northern Virginia), primarily from organized labor leaders and progressive political groups, it didn't appear that the backlash had risen to a level that would put the deal in jeopardy. That changed very quickly. While not all the details have yet to emerge, early reports are that Amazon was unwilling to compromise on some key aspects of the deal and became disenfranchised with local opposition to its impending move, and ultimately opted to walk away. Considering the massive incentive package that New York City and New York state officials were offering to lure Amazon and its promise of local jobs and tax revenues, an unwillingness to negotiate on the retailer's part is surprising. One has to wonder if Amazon was ever truly committed to a New York headquarters. What's more likely is that Jeff Bezos and Amazon were looking for the best deal; the city/region that offered it was a secondary concern.