Amazon will not include New York City in its HQ2 plans after all, the company announced today. It had put numerous cities through their paces in its hunt for a second corporate headquarters in North America and ended up choosing two cities – Long Island City in NYC, and Arlington, Virginia – rather than one.
It was strange to have a second headquarters in the same country anyway, and then to have its second headquarters be split between two East Coast cities seemed even stranger.
Amazon blamed “a number of state and local politicians” for its decision to cancel its NYC plans, saying they had “made it clear that they oppose our presence.”
But the Economist pointed out it wasn’t necessarily Amazon’s presence that many New Yorkers had objected to – it was the $3 billion price tag in the form of corporate subsidies. “New York’s winning $3bn offer was not the most generous, but it has become controversial. Opponents, who include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a local congressional representative, wonder why the city is giving billions to a company led by the world’s richest man. Michael Bloomberg, New York’s former mayor, thinks the company would have settled on New York without the incentives.”
Real-estate blog Curbed had a suggestion for New York on the 10 things it should do with the money “saved” by Amazon’s cancelled plans: Fix the subway, Fix the subway, Fix the subway,…
Despite the Dear John post, Amazon made it clear it wasn’t abandoning the city where it already has a presence – its Valentine’s Day announcement showed love for the city and the state. “There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams,” it said. “We love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture – and particularly the community of Long Island City.”
But New York’s mayor acted the part of jilted partner in a pair of tweets:
“You have to be tough to make it in New York City. We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”
“We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone. If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will.”