Amazon broke up with New York City – on Valentine’s Day, no less.
In a stunning development, Amazon said Thursday it will no longer pursue a second headquarters in New York City amid local political opposition.
The change of plans by the world’s largest online retailer comes after reports last week that Amazon was re-evaluating its decision last year to put one of its two new headquarters in Long Island City in Queens.
“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 on its website.
“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 had promised to bring between 25,000 to 40,000 jobs to the city, in exchange for up to $3 billion in tax breaks from the state and city governments.
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A clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York. Amazon announced on Feb. 14, 2019 that it would no longer pursue a second headquarters in New York City amid local opposition. The year before, in January 2018, the tech giant announced it had narrowed down its potential site for a second headquarters in North America to 20 metropolitan areas. Here were the candidates. Mark Lennihan, APFullscreenAtlanta, Ga. A jogger runs along a path in Piedmont Park as the Midtown skyline stands in the background, June 3, 2015, in Atlanta. David Goldman, APFullscreenAustin, Texas Women walk against the Austin skyline as seen looking northwest from the Lakeshore area showing the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake, in Austin, Texas on Aug. 31, 2016. Ralph Barrera, Austin American-Statesman via APFullscreenBoston, Mass. A view of the city skyline during the Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 21, 2017 in Boston, Mass. Maddie Meyer, Getty ImagesFullscreenChicago, Ill. Sailboats practice in front of the downtown Chicago skyline during practice for an America’s Cup World Series sailing event on June 10, 2016. Kiichiro Sato, APFullscreenColumbus, Ohio Downtown Columbus, Ohio is viewed from across the Scioto River on Dec. 2, 3003. ROBERT DEUTSCH, USA TODAYFullscreenDallas, Texas This Jan. 14, 2011, file photo shows highway IH-30 traffic with the Dallas skyline in the background. Tony Gutierrez, APFullscreenDenver, Colo. A general view of downtown Denver on April 11, 2015. Chris Humphreys, Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsFullscreenIndianapolis, Ind. The Circle Centre mall in Indianapolis, Ind, is seen on August 4, 2017. Kelly Wilkinson, Indianapolis Star via USA TODAY NetworkFullscreenLos Angeles, Calif. General overall view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline and the Harbor Freeway (Interstate 110) on Jan 10, 2018. Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenMiami, Fla. The Brickell Key skyline is seen at dusk in downtown , Miami on March 23, 2015. Erik S. Lesser, EPAFullscreenMontgomery County, Md. This Monday, July 31, 2017, file photo, shows the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. Discovery Communications, the company that operates the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and other popular cable channels, announced Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, that it plans to relocate its global headquarters from Maryland to New York City, in 2019. Manuel Balce Ceneta, APFullscreenNashville, Tenn, A general view of the downtown Nashville skyline and the Cumberland River on Oct. 16, 2017. Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenNewark, N.J. In this Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, file photo, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, right, speaks while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stands behind him during an announcement in Newark, N.J. New Jersey lawmakers have signed off on $5 billion in tax breaks to Amazon in an effort to convince the company that Newark would be the best location for the company’s planned second headquarters. Seth Wenig, APFullscreenNew York, N.Y. The Manhattan skyline towers over New York harbor on Oct. 16, 2017 in New York City. Spencer Platt, Getty ImagesFullscreenNorthern Virginia July 4th Fireworks from the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Va. on July 4, 2017. Michael Owens, USA TODAYFullscreenPhiladelphia , Pa. Clouds pass over the Schuylkill River and city skyline on Dec. 3, 2015, in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke, APFullscreenPittsburgh, Pa. Clouds hang over the skyline of downtown Pittsburgh, the Rachel Carson Bridge, and the Allegheny River on March 18, 2016. Gene J. Puskar, APFullscreenRalegh, N.C. The North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh, N.C. is seen on July 24, 2013. Gerry Broome, APFullscreenToronto, Canada Fireworks explode over the Toronto skyline, during the opening ceremony for the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada July 10, 2015. Rebecca Blackwell, APFullscreenWashington, D.C. The Capitol is seen at sunrise, in Washington on Oct. 10, 2017. J. Scott Applewhite, APFullscreenInterested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:Replay1 of 212 of 213 of 214 of 215 of 216 of 217 of 218 of 219 of 2110 of 2111 of 2112 of 2113 of 2114 of 2115 of 2116 of 2117 of 2118 of 2119 of 2120 of 2121 of 21AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideAmazon HQ2 competition won’t reopen
New York and Virginia won a national competition last year to land the new Amazon headquarters.
Amazon said Thursday it has no plans to reopen the competition and will proceed “as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.”
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Timeline: How the Amazon HQ2 search unfolded
In recent days, several cities, including Newark, New Jersey, said they would be eager to talk again to Amazon if the Seattle-based company wanted to reconsider its plans.
Amazon made it clear Thursday local opposition was too great an obstacle for the Queens project to continue.
“While polls show that 70 percent 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,” the company said.
A sign in a park in Long Island City, New York (Photo11: JUSTIN LANE, European Pressphoto Agency)
How opposition built up
The public subsidies for the project, plus the concerns about gentrification of Long Island City, sparked significant opposition from residents and political leaders, including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she wrote on Twitter.
Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world. t.co/nyvm5vtH9k
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019
Those opposed to the headquarters being built in Long Island City feared public services in the city – subways, schools and neighborhoods – would be overtaken by Amazon.
What may have been the final straw for Amazon was a recent decision by the state Senate to add one of the most vocal opponents of the project to a little-known state board – the Public Authorities Control Board.
The Senate appointed Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Queens, to the board, which would have needed to approve at least some of the public aid for the project.
“Today’s behavior by Amazon shows why they would have been a bad partner for New York in any event,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Rather than seriously engage with the community they proposed to profoundly change, Amazon continued its effort to shakedown governments to get its way.”
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A view of the waterfront of Long Island City in the Queens borough of New York, along the East River, is seen Nov. 7, 2018. Amazon has decided to split its new headquarters between New York City and a Washington suburb in Northern Virginia, The Wall Street Journal reported, Nov. 12, 2018. After a year-long search in which more than 200 cities wooed the web giant for the project Amazon opted to divvy up its so-called HQ2 between the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens in New York and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington. DON EMMERT, AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreenA view of the Crystal City area in Arlington, Va. can be seen on Nov. 7, 2018. Amazon has decided to split its new headquarters between New York City and a Washington suburb in Northern Virginia, The Wall Street Journal reported, Nov. 12, 2018. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI, AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreenJeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, demonstrates a cordless power drill and reciprocating saw as he wears a western-style hard hat at a New York news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1999. Amazon.com Inc. will add home improvement goods, computer software and a wider array of video games to its Web site this week, the latest move by the Internet merchant to build itself into an online superstore. Richard Drew, APFullscreenThis is a screen-shot from Amazon.com the month after the site launched. Amazon.comFullscreenThe racks are full of books on Dec. 5, 1997 at the distribution center in Seattle of amazon.com. The Internet book seller deals on-line and is based in Seattle where it calls itself the “Earth’s biggest Bookstore.” A book can be purchased, wrapped and delivered often within 24 hours from the company’s 2.5 million-title catalog. Barry Sweet, APFullscreenAmazon.com founder and chief executive officer Jeff Bezos and Sotheby’s president and chief executive officer Diana Brooks pose in “The Shagmobile,” a 1998 customized Volkswagen Beetle from the film, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” in a showroom at Sotheby’s in New York on Nov. 18, 1999. Sotheby’s and Amazon.com today launched sothebys.amazon.com, an online auction site which will offer a broad range of objects, including this car, expected to fetch 30,000-50,000 USD. Henny Ray Abrams, AFPFullscreenAmazon.com employees fill orders at the firm’s distribution center on Dec. 15, 1999, in Seattle. Some online merchants, including Amazon.com, are so backed up with orders that their top executives have had to help in the warehouse. Barry Sweet, APFullscreenJeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Inc., appears on the cover of the December 1999, issue of Time magazine as the magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 1999. “There were two great themes of the year, online shopping and dot-com mania, and the minute we thought of Bezos it was obvious that he embodied both” the magazine wrote. Time MagazineFullscreenJeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, is shown during an interview at the online retail company’s offices overlooking the Seattle skyline May 2, 2001. Despite company layoffs and a bruising stock plunge, Bezos says he believes in Amazon more than ever. Andy Rogers, APFullscreenJeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, speaks to reporters at USA TODAY on Dec. 6, 2001 in McLean, Va. H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAYFullscreenIn this June 17, 2005 file photo, Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos holds a copy of “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies” by Douglas Hofstadter — the first book sold online by Amazon.com — as he poses for photos at the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Amazon launched at the dawn of the Web as an online bookseller on July 16, 1995. Ted S. Warren, APFullscreenIn this Dec. 13, 2005 file photo, workers fill boxes with merchandise at the Amazon fulfillment center in Fernley, Nev. Online retailer Amazon said on April 4, 2018, it will build another warehouse packing and distribution center in the Las Vegas area. The facility should open next year on 800,000-square-feet of vacant land east of Interstate 15, not far from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the company and city of North Las Vegas said in statements. Ben Margot, APFullscreenAn Amazon.com employee grabs boxes to be loaded onto a truck at the company’s Fernley, Nev. warehouse on Dec. 1, 2008. Retailers who saw Thanksgiving holiday sales drop off as the weekend progressed stepped up online promotions on the day known as “Cyber Monday” to try to get consumers tired of the crowds at stores to keep shopping. Amazon.com, which began running holiday promotions a week ago, said it is focusing less on Cyber Monday than the holidays as a whole. Scott Sady, APFullscreenOnline retail giant Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos unveils the Kindle DX, a large-screen version of its popular Kindle electronic reader designed for newspapers, magazines and textbooks, during a press conference in New York, May 06, 2009. The Kindle DX costs 489 dollars and features a screen which at 9.7 inches is 2.5 times larger than the six-inch screen on the earlier versions of the Kindle, which cost 359 dollars. Emmanuel Dunand, AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreenThis December 9, 2010 photo shows the internet site of Amazon.com. Amazon shares were down more than 11 percent Oct. 26, 2011 on Wall Street after the US online retail giant released quarterly earnings that saw heavy spending on expansion drag down its net profit. Online retail giant Amazon said on May 26, 2015 it has started declaring sales made in major European markets in the respective countries instead of Luxembourg, meaning it will pay taxes on the sales in the nations. Amazon’s tax agreement in Luxembourg, under which it recorded European sales and paid taxes on them in the tiny country instead of at the source, had attracted howls of criticism that the giant was trying to evade taxes, and had sparked an EU probe. Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreenKindle reading devices are seen at a press conference on Sept. 6, 2012 in Santa Monica, California. Amazon unveiled the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD in 7 and 8.9-inch sizes, as well as a new price of the basic Kindle at $69. David McNew, Getty ImagesFullscreenPresident Barack Obama makes a speech about the economy and jobs at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center July 30, 2013 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Obama proposed a corporate tax reform that will use billions of dollars in revenues generated by a business tax to create jobs. Amazon announced this week that it expects to have 7,000 job openings across the country. Jessica McGowan, Getty ImagesFullscreenThe front page of the Washington Post newspaper as seen in a newsstand, August 6, 2013 in Washington, DC, the day after it was announced that Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had agreed to purchase the newspaper for USD 250 million from the Graham family. Multi-billionaire Bezos, who created Amazon, which has soared in a few years to a dominant position in online retailing, said he was buying the Post in his personal capacity and hoped to shepherd it through the evolution away from traditional newsprint. Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreenThis undated handout photo released by Amazon shows a flying “octocopter” mini-drone that would be used to fly small packages to consumers. Amazon said December 14, 2016 it completed its first delivery by drone, in what the global online giant hopes will be a trend in automated shipments by air. The delivery to an unidentified customer near Cambridge, England, was announced in a tweet by Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos. Amazon via AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreenIn this Dec. 2, 2013 file photo, an Amazon employee walks down one of the miles of aisles at the company’s fulfillment center in Phoenix. Amazon launched at the dawn of the Web as an online bookseller on July 16, 1995. Ross D. Franklin, APFullscreenAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos holds up the new Amazon Fire Phone at a launch event on June 18, 2014, in Seattle. Ted S. Warren, APFullscreenBooks and other media at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in south Phoenix on March 4, 2015. Michael Schennum, The Arizona RepublicFullscreenGerardo Ruiz Ramos rides a tricycle at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in south Phoenix on March 4, 2015. Michael Schennum, The Arizona RepublicFullscreenA “six pack” of Amazon Fire 7″ tablets. Available for pre-order beginning Sept. 17, 2015, they will retail for $49.99 each, or $249.95 for a package of six. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAYFullscreenCustomer Anu Garg of Seattle, Washington uses a Kindle table device at the newly-opened Amazon Books store on Nov. 4, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The online retailer opened its first brick-and-mortar book store on Nov. 3, 2015. Stephen Brashear, Getty ImagesFullscreen(L-R) Actor David Menkin, production designer Ben Milsom, head writer Rob Hoegee, executive producer Giles Ridge, actors Rasmus Hardiker and Andres Williams of “Thunderbirds are Go” attend the Amazon Village at San Diego Comic-Con at San Diego Convention Center on July 21, 2016 in San Diego, Calif. Charley Gallay, Getty Images for Amazon StudiosFullscreenPackages are stored at the Amazon electronic commerce company’s logistics center in San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid, on the eve of “Black Friday”, on Nov. 24, 2016. Gerard Julien, AFP/Getty ImagesFullscreen