Amazon, the world’s largest retail company, has decided to back out of its billion-dollar plans for Long Island City.
The plans to develop a new campus on the Anable Basin waterfront in Long Island City and bring at least 25,000 jobs to the community were reportedly ended on Feb. 14.
“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 company said in a DayOne blog post on Thursday. “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. 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 to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
Amazon reached the deal with the city and state in November 2018 in exchange for receive up to $3 billion in refundable tax credits. Local elected officials opposed the plan, citing the reported tax breaks and Amazon’s corporate history.
The decision came less than a week after The Washington Post — which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — reported that sources within Amazon were reconsidering its HQ2 deal with New York City. That report came out days after state Senator Michael Gianaris — whose district includes Long Island City and is staunchly opposed to the deal after its November 2018 announcement — was named to the Public Authorities Control Board, giving him potential veto power over the plan.
Gianaris and other lawmakers — including City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Assemblyman Ron Kim — believed the $3 billion incentive package would be better spent on affordable housing and the crumbling subway system instead of “corporate welfare” to the e-commerce giant.
Last week, after the Washington Post reported about Amazon having second thoughts on Long Island City, critics believed it was gamesmanship. However, the Feb. 14 statement proved Amazon wasn’t bluffing.
The Seattle-based company said it would proceed with its plans to develop corporate campuses in Nashville and northern Virginia. However, at this time, it doesn’t appear Amazon will search for an alternative location for its planned LIC HQ2.
“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture — and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents,” Amazon the statement continued. “Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts … The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.”