- Amazon is reportedly reconsidering its plans to open part of its HQ2 in New York City after local backlash.
- Many New York politicians and residents have pushed back against Amazon’s HQ2 plans since the company announced in November that it would open a campus and bring 25,000 jobs to the city.
- “The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project,” one person familiar with Amazon’s plans told The Washington Post.
Amazon’s plan to open a second headquarters in New York City may be in danger.
On Friday The Washington Post reported that Amazon was reconsidering its plan to open a campus in New York, citing two people familiar with the company’s thinking.
Amazon’s plan to open a second headquarters and bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island City, Queens, has faced backlash since it was announced in November. At the time Amazon said it would open two HQ2 campuses, one in Virginia and one in New York.
“The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” one person familiar with Amazon’s plans told The Post.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the news that Amazon would develop HQ2 in New York, other politicians there have been less welcoming.
The New York State Senate majority recently nominated Sen. Michael Gianaris, a vocal opponent to HQ2, to a seat on the New York State Public Authorities Control Board. While he has not yet been confirmed in this position, Gianaris could veto financing and construction of Amazon’s campus, which would essentially kill the project.
For opponents to Amazon’s HQ2 plans, this veto vote could be a game changer. Corey Johnson, the speaker of the New York City Council, indicated in an interview with Business Insider in December that a board vote would be the best hope of stopping the HQ2 project.
“There is precedent for the board rejecting plans and cancelling large, ambitious projects or throwing their future into great uncertainty,” Business Insider’s Dennis Green reported. “In 2005, the board rejected a $US2.2 billion plan spearheaded by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a redevelopment that would have included a stadium on Manhattan’s West Side to be used by the New York Jets and, possibly, for the 2012 Olympic Games.”
“We’re focused on engaging with our new neighbours – small business owners, educators, and community leaders,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbour we will be.”
The Post said that Amazon does not have specific plans to abandon New York. But a source told the paper that Amazon would need to make a decision soon as the company needs to start hiring, or risk falling behind on the project.
The New York Times, citing discussions with two people with knowledge of the company’s thinking, reported on Friday that Amazon was not reconsidering its New York HQ2 deal as the Post had reported. The Amazon spokesperson did not comment on the Post story when asked to by Business Insider.
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