Amazon will not be building a new headquarters in NY, a stunning reversal after a yearlong search. Nashville, Tennessee, which was awarded a 5,000-person centre, also said it was open to taking on a bigger role should NY withdraw from consideration. Each city was expected to have more than 25,000 workers over time.
Newly-elected Congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the more high-profile critics of the deal from the Democratic Party's left flank. They suggested in a document released today that these politicians "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 do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time", Amazon said Thursday.
As reports emerged late last week that Amazon was reconsidering NY, multiple HQ2 finalists began reaching out to Amazon.
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.
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Stewart-Cousins nominated Gianaris to serve on the state Public Authorities Control Board, which had the power to block or scuttle portions of the deal.
Last week he chided some of his fellow NY lawmakers for opposing Amazon HQ2 because, he insisted, they needed the company.
Amazon also faced anti-gentrification sentiment in a city where income inequality and a lack of affordable housing have become major concerns. "If Amazon can't recognize what that's worth, its competitors will".
Last week Amazon executives tested the waters by speaking anonymously to The Washington Post about ditching its entire plan. If elected officials in Nashville and Northern Virginia have learned anything from this fight, we hope it's that offering corporate welfare to giant companies with highly questionable records of social responsibility is a mistake.
The stunning withdrawal was a serious blow to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely to land the project, competing against more than 200 other metropolitan areas across the continent that were practically tripping over each other to offer incentives to Amazon in a fierce bidding war it openly stoked. Cuomo said last week opposition in the state Senate against HQ2 was "governmental malpractice".
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Critics saw the project as an extravagant giveaway to one of the world's biggest companies and argued it wouldn't provide much direct benefit to most New Yorkers. Amazon said that makes it one of the 20 largest employers in D-FW. Soon after Amazon announced its intention to expand in NY, a handful of community organizations began pressuring lawmakers to oppose the project.
Writing on Twitter, the freshman congresswoman said that the grassroots campaign to kick Amazon out of Queens had demonstrated that "anything is possible".
"Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves", Gianaris, who represents Long Island City, told the New York Times.
Amazon would likely have had a hard time getting development started without local support and the project's costs could have ballooned as a result of legal battles opposing its new headquarters.
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The proposal ran into opposition from local politicians who opposed the almost $US3 billion ($4.25 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.