Nation & World

Amazon cancels New York headquarters

Long Island City plan faced strong opposition

Reuters

Demonstrators hold signs during a protest against Amazon in the Long Island City section of the Queens on Thursday.
Reuters Demonstrators hold signs during a protest against Amazon in the Long Island City section of the Queens on Thursday.
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Amazon.com has dropped New York City as one of its new headquarters locations and is not searching for a replacement, it said Thursday.

It scrapped its plan in response to push back from locals who didn’t want the online retail giant to reap government subsidies or cause a rise in housing prices.

The Seattle-based company had conducted a much-ballyhooed nationwide search for its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, and in November it announced a decision to split that second headquarters — and its 50,000 jobs — between two locations — the Long Island City neighborhood of New York’s Queens borough and Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C.

New York’s selection was hailed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

But the choice met stiff criticism from several New York politicians and advocacy groups who objected to the prospect of giving major subsidies to Amazon, which posted sales of $178 billion in 2017 and is led by billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Cuomo and De Blasio had vowed to keep fighting for the project despite the opposition — the deal “was probably the greatest economic transaction in 50 years in this state,” Cuomo had said — but to no avail.

Critics of Amazon in New York objected not only to the notion of subsidies for the company but also to the economic and social disruption they feared.

Opponents went door to door warning people in the Queens borough of rent hikes, living displacement and other problems.

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a Democrat who represents a neighboring district of the Long Island City area — cheered that news, calling it evidence that “everyday people” could “come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations.”

The New York situation stood in contrast to the warm reception Amazon received in Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam signed a law last week authorizing up to $750 million in state subsidies for the Amazon facilities there.

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