Amazon cancels New York campus plan

A view of a sign in a park in Long Island City, New York, USA, on 08 November 2018.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Long Island City, where Amazon was planning expansion, is one of the fastest growing areas in New York

Amazon has said it will not build a new headquarters in New York, citing fierce opposition from state and local politicians.

The dramatic turnabout comes just months after the firm named New York City one of two sites selected for major expansion over the next decades.

City and state leaders had agreed to provide about $3bn (£2.3bn) in incentives to secure that investment.

Those subsidies had prompted fierce backlash in some quarters.

Amazon said its plans to build a new headquarters required “positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long term”.

It said: “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.

“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion.”

In November, Amazon announced plans to invest about $2.5bn and add more than 25,000 “high-paying” jobs at campuses in New York and near Washington DC over the next two decades.

The news capped a 14-month search for a new site that saw cities and towns across North America competing to woo the e-commerce giant.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio championed the project, which Amazon said would generate more than $10bn in new tax revenue in New York.

Polls had found that a majority of New Yorkers also supported Amazon’s plan.

However, it drew opposition from unions, members of the City Council and others, including newly elected Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, angry over the billions in incentives promised to one of the world’s most valuable companies.

They celebrated Amazon’s decision on Thursday.

“When our community fights together, anything is possible, even when we’re up against the biggest corporation in the world,” Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer said.

“Defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is a triumph that should change the way we do economic development deals in our city and state forever.”

Amazon currently employs more than 5,000 people across New York City. It said it expected its staff numbers in the region to continue to grow.

It said it did not plan to look for an alternative site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *