Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition, report says

Ann Santiago
February 11, 2019

According to the Post story: "Amazon executives have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in NY and explore alternatives, said the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about the company's perspective".

They've questioned whether its "worth it" to build the campus if NY politicians are opposed, one source told the Post.

"The company has not leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment", the Post continued.

News that Amazon is considering backing out of its plan to build a new headquarters site in Queens comes just days after Democratic state Sen.

NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter Friday to comment on the reports.

"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors - small business owners, educators, and community leaders", an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. But the only South Side site to which the Amazon team returned for multiple site visits was the South Loop mega-site known as "the 78". Amazon must decide soon, however, as it needs to start hiring the 25,000 employees for the Manhattan-adjacent campus if it wants to stick with its scheduled timeline.

Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, on January 29, 2016. After learning about this possible stall, Governor Ned Lamont announced on Twitter that the state is in talks with Amazon about possibly moving the headquarters to CT.

New York State committed to $1.525 billion in incentives, contingent on the company creating 25,000 new jobs with an average salary of $150,000.

"If Amazon does not come to NY, it's because of the political opposition".

However, the proposal was criticized by residents and local government officials, such as State Senator and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and others, who felt the deal was pushed through behind closed doors without local input or City Council approval. "A major problem is the way the deal was put together shrouded in secrecy and ignoring what New Yorkers want and need", he said in a statement.

The person briefed on the matter said that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from NY officials and had not given up on the proposal, but was considering potential alternatives to NY.

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.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo framed the original announcement as a tremendous job creation opportunity for the entire New York region.

But other lawmakers representing New York City have raised concerns about the $3 billion in tax incentives and the rent increases expected to accompany the arrival of its headquarters.

Amazon's attempt to establish a stronger foothold in NY comes as the e-commerce giant continues to ramp up its presence in the digital advertising space, which is now dominated by Facebook and Google. However, if Amazon were to follow through on the alleged threat and pull out from the plan, it could impact agencies and brands alike.

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