Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Amazon HQ2 may not happen in NY after all, report says

Amazon HQ2 may not happen in NY after all, report says

Amazon may not deliver a new headquarters to New York City after all. "It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy". NY is known for being a solidly pro-labor city and the e-commerce giant has been the focus of several protests.

In November 2018, Amazon selected Queens and Arlington, Virginia, as the two sites for its second headquarters. It also announced it planned to open an additional, 5,000-person office in Nashville, Tennessee. About $1.5 billion of the grants for HQ2 come from the state and could go before this board, and the way the board is structured, Gianaris would have an effective veto over those funds.

While Virginia officials have already approved Amazon's subsidy package, things have not gone as smoothly in NY.

One supporter of the deal Van Bramer spoke to "seemed genuinely anxious, and that led me to believe that it was real", he said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says he hasn't heard from Amazon since the e-commerce giant broke the news to him and other South Florida officials that the region came up short in its bid to land HQ2. "But not if that means that we're crushing unions, not if that means that we're terrorizing immigrants", Van Bramer said. He notes Google is coming to the city without a massive incentive package.

Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have been cheerleaders for the project, pointing to Amazon's promise to create 25,000 jobs with average annual income of $150,000.

In one sign of opposition, artists spray-painted Amazon's logo - spelled "AMAZNO" - on streets near the proposed site.

"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 neighbor we will be", an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

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.

"A major problem is the way the deal was put together shrouded in secrecy and ignoring what New Yorkers want and need", he said.

Amazon hasn't built any structures nor finalized any land leases in NY as of yet, and likely wouldn't until 2020.

When the details of the behind-closed-doors agreement the NY government made with Amazon were made public in November, as Common Dreams reported, critics immediately decried the deal as "corporate bribery" that would harm public housing projects and contribute to soaring inequality while handing the tech behemoth billions in taxpayer incentives. Multiple parties reached out to Amazon to make sure that they know Chicago would still want them.

Amazon has not yet leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment.

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