Amazon Says It Will Not Build Headquarters In New York Afterall

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Yorbing Staff, Thursday February 14, 2019

CNBC Technology

Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC's "Milestone Celebration Dinner" in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2018.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters Jeff Bezos, president and CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, speaks at the Economic Club of Washington DC’s “Milestone Celebration Dinner” in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2018.

Amazon says it will not build a headquarters in New York following mounting opposition, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Amazon said it does not have plans to reopen the search for a replacement location. The company will continue to build its planned headquarters in Virginia and its other planned location in Nashville.

Last week, The Washington Post first reported that Amazon executives were considering backing out of its plans to build an office in New York City.

“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,” Amazon said in the statement. The company said it will continue to grow the teams it already has in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had warned at a news conference last week following the report that the local and regional leaders would have to answer to voters if Amazon did not ultimately bring its 25,000 jobs to the state.

“You want to diversify your economy? You don’t want to just be Wall Street and finance?” Cuomo asked at the conference last week. “We need Amazon.”

Local and state leaders had voiced significant opposition after New York City and state had offered the company performance-based incentives amounting to nearly $3 billion. These leaders were not privy to the details of the deal until after Amazon had made its decision.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, a vocal critic of the Amazon deal who was selected last week to serve on the state board that would have had final approval on the Amazon deal, told CNBC on Friday that the Post’s report could have been part of a negotiation tactic.

“This is typical of the way Amazon has handled this situation,” he said. “If they’re trying to extort New York through anonymous threats, they’re showing that they’re not a responsible corporate actor to begin with. … If their view is we want your $3 billion or we’re leaving, maybe they should leave.”

Here is the full statement:

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. 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. While polls show that 70% 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.

We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion—we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture—and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.

We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.

Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who 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.

—CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.


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