Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition, report says

Amazon rethinks plan for New York HQ amid fierce opposition, report says

Fearful of losing almost $3 billion in subsidies for its expansion in New York City, Amazon has moved to a new strategy, one involving threats.

No specific plans to abandon the NY location has been made.

He told the Guardian: "Amazon has extorted ny from the first day of this process, and this seems to be their latest effort to do that".

"Amazon has been growing into the largest company we'll ever see", says Jonathan Westin of New York Communities for Change, one of the groups leading the charge against the Amazon deal. "The idea that we need to subsidize them in any way blows our mind".

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who campaigned against the subsidy package, celebrated the news that Amazon may be reconsidering the whole deal.

Several other issues have inspired outrage over what critics call the #HQ2scam. NY residents fear the same will happen to them. Plus, adding 25,000 high-paying jobs to this corner of Queens will only make gentrification worse, activists warn.

"The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in NY don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming", one of the sources who spoke with The Post said. The HQ2 project has actually split the city's labor movement.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union - which has worked to help unionize Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island - pointed the blame at Amazon. Council Speaker Corey Johnson criticized Amazon last week for pitting workers against one another.

"Bezos is one of those guys who doesn't like to lose, so does he fight it and win it or does he just (go) elsewhere?" the source said.

Such is not the case with the state Senate, however. This will include a refundable tax credit, through the state's Excelsior Program, of up to $1.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Earlier, the Post, which is owned by Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, reported that Amazon executives had had internal discussions to reassess the situation in ny and explore alternatives.

The person briefed on the matter said that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from NY officials and had not given up on the proposal, but was considering potential alternatives to NY.

On Tuesday, embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill to provide up to $750 million in cash incentives for Amazon to bring 25,000 jobs to the northern part of the state. A smaller project in Nashville, Tennessee, is expected to create 5,000 new jobs.

So, Amazon may be really thinking about pulling back on the New York HQ2 move. The company is hiring lobbyists and a "community affairs manager" in NY, so it's clearly still committed to the deal at some level.

Amazon may be getting cold feet and be ready to backpedal out of its plan to build a new campus in New York City. "This is the beginning of a process where the public and the City Council and other elected officials are going to continue to seek answers and understand whether or not this is a good deal for New York City, or if we got played".

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