Amazon reportedly rethinking HQ2 in New York City

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Amazon reportedly rethinking HQ2 in New York City

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At a recent New York City Council hearing, anti-Amazon protestors unfurl a banner denouncing Amazon's HQ2.
At a recent New York City Council hearing, anti-Amazon protestors unfurl a banner denouncing Amazon’s HQ2.

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

2018%252f06%252f26%252fc2%252f20182f062f252f5a2fphoto.d9abc.b1c04.jpg%252f90x90By Matt Binder

Amazon’s second headquarters may not be coming to New York City after all.

According to the Washington Post, Amazon may be reconsidering its decision to open its long-touted HQ2 to the borough of Queens in New York City. Sources “familiar with the company’s thinking” told the Post that the reassessment comes following local opposition from politicians and activist groups.

Last November, Amazon announced it had chosen New York’s Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia as its locations for a second company headquarters. The Seattle-based company also announced a third location in Nashville. The selections came after a year-long competition with hundreds of cities vying for Amazon’s favor.

The announcement, however, was immediately criticized by local New York politicians. At the center of the issue is New York state’s deal offering Amazon — a trillion dollar company run by Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man — billions in tax breaks to bring HQ2 to New York City.

Local activists rallied against the tax breaks, and warned that Queens could have to deal with the same kind of rent hikes and displacement that Amazon’s home base of Seattle has experienced.

Furthering Amazon’s troubles is the recent nomination of one of its most outspoken critics, state Senator Michael Gianaris, to the Public Authorities Control Board. While he has yet to be confirmed, his position on the board would allow him to scrap Amazon’s HQ2 deal.

Amazon hasn’t made things easier for itself with the company’s outright refusal at recent community board meetings to unionize its workforce. New York is known for being a solidly pro-labor city and the e-commerce giant has been the focus of several protests. 

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However, with all its critics, Amazon still has two very powerful supporters: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Polls have also showed that Amazon has the majority of the public’s support for the HQ2 project.

So, Amazon may be really thinking about pulling back on the New York HQ2 move. Or, it may be trying to put pressure on local politicians to support the deal.

“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,” said one unnamed Washington Post source.

Basically, the whole thing could be summed up as “nice Amazon deal, New York. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”

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