Amazon reconsiders New York for second headquarters due to local protests, say reports
The project had received criticism and resistance from New York politicians, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
The plan, which would have brought 25,000 jobs to the city, has come under fire since it was announced last year, with local politicians concerned that the incentives Amazon has demanded would strip much needed cash from the community.
“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 and Nashville have been so welcoming,” one official told The Washington Post, which first reported the potential change in attitude from Amazon towards the project. No official plans have been made against New York so far.
Amazon's decision last year to split its second headquarters between New York and Virginia was initially praised by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio as an economic success story, and touted as a positive development that would spur job growth and development in Queens neighbourhood that had been chosen.
But, since then, outrcry from activists and local politicians has put a damper on the mood, with opponents questioning why one of the world's most valuable companies deserves the massive subsidies it demanded in order to build facilities in the Long Island City neighbourhood of queens.
In the months that followed, the company has reportedly not leased or purchased any land or buildings for the facility. And, that lack of investment means Amazon could still change course if it felt like local conditions were not as ideal as previously thought.
The situation in Queens stands in contrast with how the company has proceeded in Virginia, where local leaders moved quickly to approve an incentive package to keep Amazon's interest in the region. New York politicians are still mulling over their own package, which is not expected to receive approval until 2020.
Should Amazon choose to scrap its plans for New York City, the company would still theoretically have plenty of options after having received numerous proposals from all over North America during a lengthy bidding process.
Among the politicians in New York State who have spoken out against the deal are Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district borders the areas chosen by Amazon for development. In the aftermath of the public announcement, opponents have gone door to door in the Queens neighbourhood to warn residents of coming rent hikes if the tech giant moves in.
It is not clear what Amazon would do in the case that New York ultimately abandons its plan to offer an incentive package, and some analysts have noted that the company could still develop in the city on a smaller scale. Other tech giants, like Google, have notable already opened up facilities in the city with that strategy.