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Amazon drops plans to build HQ2 in New York City

Posted February. 16, 2019 07:41,   

Updated February. 16, 2019 07:41


Online retail giant Amazon decided to cancel its plans to build a second headquarters in New York City following an outcry from local politicians and residents.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” the world's biggest online retailer said in a statement Thursday. In particular, the company cited local political opposition as the main reason behind their decision.

“For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term,” Amazon said. "While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence.” Amazon's now-scuttled plan would have created 27 billion dollars in revenue and 25,000 jobs over 20 years, according to The New York Times.

Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle, announced in November last year that it would open two new headquarters in National Landing, Virginia and Long Island City, New York, promising to invest 2.5 billion dollars and bring 25,000 jobs in the regions. Back then, the State of New York offered Amazon up to 3 billion dollars in tax incentives and subsidies to draw the company to New York.

But things went wrong after Amazon decided to open its second headquarters in New York. Voices of criticism started to grow from local politicians led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat) and Sen. Michael Gianaris (Democrat). Adding to that, some local residents railed against the agreement, arguing it will accelerate gentrification, the process by which low-income residents are priced out of the neighborhood due to an increase in property prices resulting from the influx of more affluent residents.

The property prices in Queens actually soared over 30 percent after Amazon’s announcement of opening its second headquarters in the area. Some argued that Amazon, which runs a “no union” policy, should allow workers to organize a union at its New York headquarters.

Ga-In Koo comedy9@donga.com