The Washington Post, which is also owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, reported the Seattle-based tech giant is reconsidering the plan and has not leased or purchased any office space for the project. Sources "familiar with the company's thinking" told the Post that the reassessment comes following local opposition from politicians and activist groups.
Finally, at a City Council meeting last week, the company refused to agree to remain neutral if Amazon workers attempted unionization in New York City, a red flag for a labor-friendly city. Its shares fell around 2.4 percent on Friday.
Amazon's development proposal lays out plans for a 4-8 million-square-foot campus, but it has not yet leased or purchased office space for the project, which is not expected to receive final NY state approval until 2020. We won't bore our readers by citing stats such as the business climate, the ease of flying to and from Dallas or the fact that Amazon doesn't really have to worry about finding the workforce it needs in a city it selects.
Noting the Post's report, Cuomo accused the state Senate-whose leader recently tapped an Amazon critic for a board that might have sway over the project's subsidies-of "governmental malpractice" and siding with those who are "pandering to the local politics".
"I would be happy not to have them", said Terri Gloyd, the co-owner of the LIC Corner Cafe. "I assume it's more posturing", said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, a New York City residential brokerage firm.
Lamont wrote, in part, "The state has already made an outreach to Amazon through its in-state representation, and we are looking forward to expanding the dialogue".
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. Corey Johnson, 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. Amazon is notoriously unfriendly to unions.
NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter Friday to comment on the reports.
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Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, a supporter of the deal who offered to change his name to Amazon Cuomo if the company agreed to choose New York City, would have to approve Gianaris, but that would create a standoff between the governor and the legislature, reflecting the tensions that have accompanied the Amazon deal.
NY state Sen.
Cuomo slammed the possibility that Amazon would pull out, blaming "political opposition".
Amazon's attempt to establish a stronger foothold in NY comes as the e-commerce giant continues to ramp up its presence in the digital advertising space, which is now dominated by Facebook and Google.
The split second headquarters, which Amazon called HQ2, attracted 238 proposals from across North America in a year-long bidding war that garnered widespread publicity for the company.
Amazon ended the frenzy by dividing the spoils between the two most powerful U.S. East Coast cities and offering a consolation prize of a 5,000-person center in Nashville, Tennessee. After the threat, local officials scaled back the tax before passing it. Amazon and other area businesses then mounted an effort to overturn the measure at the ballot box.
The company, which announced a year ago that it had chosen a site in Long Island City to house 25,000 employees, has not leased or purchased office space for the project yet, making it easy to withdraw the commitment, according to the Washington Post.