Amazon Nixes New York HQ

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CBJ — Amazon has abruptly announced it has cancelled plans to build its second headquarters in New York City.

The reason for the sudden, unexpected pullout is being blamed on intense opposition from local politicians and community activists.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” spokesperson Jodi Seth said. “For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term.”

At issues seems to be the amount of tax incentives involved, which apparently has left Amazon and local and state government officials much farther apart than was originally expected.

It was back in November when Amazon announced it would build a second headquarters in the New York borough of Queens to employ more than 25,000 people. It was a year-long process in whittling down the potential cities to host the large building.  Toronto was the only Canadian city to make the short-list of the top 20 possible locations, although many question whether Toronto really had much of a chance at all, and was instead more about window dressing and optics of inclusiveness.

For its part Amazon is saying it wanted to move ahead and set up headquarters in New York but that state and local politicians have made it an unworkable situation. There are some who suspect this may be a ploy by the company to garner even better tax incentives by threatening to pull out altogether. Time will tell whether this is a fixable situation or not, but as of now the New York HQ is a no-go.

Opponents have focused primarily on the $2.8-billion the company was granted to set up in the city, at a time when other city services are starved for cash.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union accuses the company of being anti-union, and welcome the decision of Amazon to pull out.

“Amazon showed its true colors today and every American should be outraged. Jeff Bezos had the opportunity to listen to the voices of working families and support the good-paying jobs New Yorkers deserve,” UFCW President Marc Perrone said. “No company that refuses to invest in hardworking men and women should be allowed to stuff their pockets with taxpayer-funded subsidies.”

There are no alternate plans to have another search for a second headquarters. Instead, Amazon will continue on with its 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.

@CanBizJournal

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