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Amazon cancels plan to come to New York

"We’ve decided not to move forward with our plans"

February 14, 2019 - 11:53 am
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New York (WBEN) -  Amazon abruptly abandoned plans for a big new headquarters in New York that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the city, reversing course after politicians and others objected to the nearly $3 billion in tax incentives promised to the company.

"We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York," the online giant said in a blog post, adding that it already has 5,000 employees in the city and plans to increase that number.

The stunning reversal was a serious blow to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely to land the project. The Seattle company had planned spend $2.5 billion building its new offices.

Amazon faced fierce opposition over the tax breaks, with critics complaining that the project was an extravagant giveaway to one of the world's biggest companies and that it wouldn't provide much direct benefit to most New Yorkers.

"This announcement marks a landmark victory for our communities and shows the power of the people, even when taking on the world's richest man," said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of the anti-poverty group Make the Road New York.

She said the Amazon was getting "taxpayer giveaways" so that it could "force its empire-building on our neighborhoods."

Amazon said it does not plan to look for another headquarters location at this time and will continue with its plans to build new offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee. The Arlington is expected to be the same size as the New York one, with 25,000 employees. The Nashville office is expected to have 5,000.

A Quinnipiac University poll released in December found New York City voters supported having an Amazon headquarters 57 percent to 26 percent. But they were divided over the incentives: 46 percent in favor, 44 percent against.

STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

"Amazon chose to come to New York because we are the capital of the world and the best place to do business. We competed in and won the most hotly contested national economic development competition in the United States, resulting in at least 25,000-40,000 good paying jobs for our state and nearly $30 billion dollars in new revenue to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools and countless other quality of life improvements. Bringing Amazon to New York diversified our economy away from real estate and Wall Street, further cementing our status as an emerging center for tech and was an extraordinary economic win not just for Queens and New York City, but for the entire region, from Long Island to Albany's nanotech center.

"However, a small group 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. The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.

"The fundamentals of New York's business climate and community that attracted amazon to be here - our talent pool, world-class education system, commitment to diversity and progressivism - remain and we won't be deterred as we continue to attract world class business to communities across New York State."

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