NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon will not build a new headquarters in New York City, a stunning reversal to an ambitious plan that would have brought an estimated 25,000 jobs to the city.
The online retailer faced fierce opposition from some New York politicians who were unhappy with the nearly $3 billion in tax incentives Amazon was promised. Along with thousands of jobs, the Seattle company had planned spend $2.5 billion building its new offices.
“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York,” the company said in a blog post , adding that it already has 5,000 employees in the city and plans to grow those teams.
It was a serious blow to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who lobbied intensely to land the campus within city limits.
Critics see the project as an extravagant giveaway to one of the world’s biggest companies and argue it won’t provide much direct benefit to most New Yorkers. Several welcomed the news that Amazon might be rethinking the plan.
But the plan has strong support from the population as a whole.
A Quinnipiac University poll released in December found New York City voters support having an Amazon headquarters, by 57-26 percent. But they were divided on the incentives: 46 percent in favor, 44 percent against.
Amazon said Thursday it does not plan to look for another location at this time, and will continue with plans to build offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee. The Arlington campus was expected to be the same size as the New York one, with 25,000 employees. The Nashville office is expected to have 5,000 employees.
Here’s Amazon’s statement courtesy of WPIX:
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.