Amazon reportedly rethinking HQ2 in New York City

Dwayne Harmon
February 10, 2019

Amazon.com Inc is exploring alternatives to locating part of its new headquarters in NY in case the plan should fail due to local opposition, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, reported that Amazon executives have had internal discussions to reassess the situation in ny and explore alternatives, citing two people familiar with the matter.

"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 Amaozn's plans told the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic representative from NY who has been one of the most vocal critics of Amazon, saw the news of a potential withdrawal as a victory. Even before these subsidies, New York City has been struggling to fund acceptable public transportation and affordable housing.

In November 2018, Amazon selected Queens and Arlington, Virginia, as the two sites for its second headquarters.

Rumor has it Amazon is thinking about walking away from its agreement to put its next headquarters in New York City. The original pitch made it sound as if they might go to some smaller to middle-sized city that was down on its luck and in need of a major boost in jobs and commerce. Michael Gianaris, a vocal Amazon critic, to a state board where he might nix the deal.

FILE PHOTO - The Citibank building, the site of a new workplace for Amazon employees, is seen in Long Island City of the Queens borough of NY, U.S., November 14, 2018.

The source said New Jersey officials have told Amazon that Newark would be the most logical spot to relocate, since so many of Amazon's officials involved in the move already are familiar with the area.

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Cuomo complained that the new federal tax code that caps state and local tax deductions (SALT) on wealthy New Yorkers has triggered a drop in state tax revenues.

The company, which announced a year ago 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 state gave them massive tax breaks to try to keep them around, gutting the local government's budget and shifting to burden to the taxpayers, but the company wound up nearly entirely leaving anyway. The company is hiring lobbyists and a "community affairs manager" in NY, so it's clearly still committed to the deal at some level.

In one sign of opposition, artists spray-painted Amazon's logo - spelled "AMAZNO" - on streets near the proposed site.

Unlike New York, officials in Tennessee and Virginia have embraced the company's plans to bring jobs to their state, according to Washington Post.

No one city will be home to Amazon's second North American headquarters.

"The change in scope - given jobs and investment were ultimately divided among multiple communities - further enhances Miami's opportunity to successfully deliver on the kind of partnership we know Amazon is looking for", he said.

In Virginia, the existing large population of highly-paid tech workers means Amazon will fit right in.

NY also offered up to $505 million in subsidies.

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