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

Daniel Fowler
February 9, 2019

Protestors rally against Amazon and the company's plans to move their second headquarters to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, at New York City Hall, January 30, 2019 in New York City.

New York - Long Island City, specifically - was selected as a co-winner, along with land in Northern Virginia, in November.

The report, which cited unnamed sources, said Amazon executives have had discussions recently to rethink the company's plans for ny and consider alternatives.

According to the Post, in the past two weeks, the state Senate nominated an outspoken Amazon critic to a board where he could potentially veto the deal.

Last month, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said no one should assume it's a "done deal". One point of contention could be Amazon's opposition to labor unions. Of this $1.525 billion, up to $1.2 billion could come from a refundable tax credit through New York State's Excelsior Program and a $325 million cash grant from the Empire State Development fund.

Supported by the NY governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the plan has faced a torrent of opposition from elected officials, activists and unions, angry that the company is set to get up to $3bn in tax breaks and subsidies.

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Van Bramer opposes the deal while admitting the projected 25,000 jobs are important. But the mayor said he was "not sorry at all" that the city and state didn't go higher than $2.25 billion. He notes Google is coming to the city without a massive incentive package.

In an effort to ease tension with the city, Amazon tried putting on a full court press to win over New Yorkers, promising jobs for residents in public housing and tech training for SUNY and CUNY students to get their foot in the door.

The Post added that no specific plans to abandon NY have been made and it's possible Amazon could use them as a threat to pressure NY lawmakers. A City Hall source confirmed the city reached out as well. The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union and the Teamsters are against the project, while the Building and Construction Trades Council that would build the HQ2 facility, and the SEIU local 32BJ that would staff the building for security and custodial work, have come out in favor.

Any major multinational would have multiple reasons to expand in New York City, given its highly skilled workforce and status as a hub for the technology, entertainment and advertising industries-all areas where Amazon is expanding.

"I don't think, in the end, there's a lot of public servants want to be responsible for losing 25,000 to 40,000 jobs", de Blasio said.

The company, which announced a year ago that it had chosen a site in Long Island City to house 25,000 employees, has not leased or purchased office space for the project yet, making it easy to withdraw the commitment, according to the Washington Post.

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