NEW YORK – E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. said on Thursday it has canceled plans to build a new headquarters in New York City, citing a lack of support from local politicians.
The company said in a blog post that the project became unworkable due to the opposition of several state and local elected officials whose backing is needed over the long term.
“While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and 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,” a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, Amazon said.
In its statement, Amazon expressed thanks to the governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for working “tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation.”
It also said it appreciated the efforts of many other community leaders and residents who, along with Cuomo and de Blasio, “welcomed our plans and supported us along the way.”
“We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.”
Seattle-based Amazon announced in November that it would be building a second headquarters to be split between New York City and Northern Virginia.
With the abandonment of the plans for Long Island City, Amazon said it would not look for a replacement for that site.
“We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville (the company’s East Coast operations hub), and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the US and Canada,” Amazon said.
In announcing its plans for HQ2, Amazon said in November that it would make $2.5 billion in capital investments in both of the new locations – Long Island City and the National Landing neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, a Washington DC suburb.
The company also said 25,000 new jobs would be created at each site.
But civic organizations and some Democratic politicians balked at the billions of dollars in tax breaks offered to Amazon by state and city officials, saying those incentives would mean the forgoing of revenues that could be spent on transit and other public services and also lead to gentrification and higher home prices.
The Washington Post, a leading US daily owned by Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, reported last week that the company was reconsidering its plans for Long Island City due to local opposition, including from Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In arguing in favor of the deal, Gov. Cuomo cited a study showing that it would bring in around $27 billion in revenue in exchange for the $3 billion incentive package.
Cuomo warned last week that if Amazon were to cancel its plans opposing politicians would have to tell voters why they rejected a project that would have brought 25,000 new jobs to the state.