Friday, February 15, 2019

Amazon To NYC: Drop Dead

Photo by Natt Garun / The Verge

Amazon on Thursday announced that it has canceled plans to open its second headquarters, dubbed "HQ2," in New York City following aggressive push-back from some local lawmakers and activists, reports The Hill.

"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," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

"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," the statement said.

New York lawmakers, including progressive superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), for months have been drumming up resistance to Amazon's decision to bring half of its second headquarters to Queens.

The activists and politicians have raised concerns that Amazon's new headquarters would displace poor residents and raise rents. They also have criticized New York City's decision to offer $3 billion in state and city incentives to lure Amazon to the area.

"We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion," Amazon said in its statement, noting that it intends to continue growing the group of 5,000 employees already in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) had both hailed Amazon's second headquarters as an economic boon to the city, claiming it would attract significant investments and other tech companies.

Fox News is reporting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lambasted politicians such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others over Amazon's decision to leave New York City. Opponents of the deal with the tech giant had "put their own narrow political interests above their community," he said.

"[A] small group [of] politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community -- which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City -- the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state," Cuomo said in the statement, which did not mention Ocasio-Cortez or other lawmakers by name. "The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity."

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