Megacorporation Amazon has shelved plans to build its second headquarters in New York City. The project had been met with generous tax breaks from the city authorities, and intense backlash from local 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,” Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth said in a statement on Thursday.
AMAZON CANCELS PLAN TO COME TO NEW YORK
"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" - Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth
— J. David Goodman (@jdavidgoodman) February 14, 2019
The project was announced in 2017, with Amazon kickstarting a bidding war between cities looking to attract the retail giant. New York was declared the winner last November, after a charm offensive by Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said he would “change my name to Amazon Cuomo if that’s what it takes."
The company, which already pays a grand total of zero dollars in federal income taxes, would have been able to avail of $1.5 billion in tax breaks, as well as additional grants of $3,000 per employee for locating in the city’s outer boroughs.
Not everyone was as thrilled as ‘Amazon Cuomo’ and co. Residents and activists worried that the company would gentrify the working-class neighborhood, while the influx of 25,000 well-paid workers would drive up rents in the area. The proposed site is a former industrial zone adjacent to the country’s largest public housing project and was reportedly earmarked for additional housing units before Amazon was given the land.
“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 and will not work with us,” the company’s statement continued.
Chief among these politicians were Bronx Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist. Ocasio-Cortez said that she had been contacted by residents who thought Cuomo and DeBlasio’s priorities were out of line.'
Read more: Amaz-off: Online retail giant Amazon cancels New York HQ plans after massive backlash