Amazon Abandons Plans for Second Headquarters in New York

Posted on February 14, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon with 50 Comments

Facing mounting criticism about its unsustainability, Amazon announced today it will no longer open a second headquarters in New York City.

“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,” an uncredited Amazon announcement explains. “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.”

Amazon, as you may recall, instituted a public search for its second headquarters, during which time it played various cities against each other, with most applicants promising a wide array of tax breaks and other incentives. New York’s offer was particularly extravagant, raising hackles with many. It even promised Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a private helicopter pad.

For now, however, Amazon says it will not reopen its search for a location for its second headquarters, but will instead continue forward with less dramatic expansions in Northern Virginia and Nashville. Amazon will also continue growing across its 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada, and will still expand its footprint in the New York City area, where it currently employs about 5,000 workers.

But Amazon had originally planned to hire 25,000 employees for its second headquarters and revitalize the area in which the facility would be located. It hadn’t yet purchased any land, fortunately, making the reversal an easier process.

Contrary to Amazon’s stance, it wasn’t just local politicians that opposed Amazon in New York City: Unions and local groups and inhabitants protested the move. And polls, despite what Amazon claims, were not at all positive.

“Like a petulant child, Amazon insists on getting its way or takes its ball and leaves,” New York State Senator Michael Gianaris said of Amazon’s news. “The only thing that happened here is that a community that was going to be profoundly affected by their presence started asking questions.’’

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