Amazon on Thursday announced it killed the plan to add a second headquarters in New York City to its operations, adding that it presently has no intention of revising the initiative in the context of another location. The move doesn’t affect its existing effort to establish another corporate HQ in Nashville and Northern Virginia, a company spokesperson said.
The Seattle, Washington-based firm said it deliberated on the move for some time, ultimately deciding the risk is not worth it due to poor public support for the initiative certain NYC structures, primarily political ones. Amazon accused local politicians of now being willing to play ball and commit to establishing “relationships that are required to go forward.”
As part of the same announcement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and their administrations received deep thanks from Amazon for their cooperation, making it unclear who exactly is the conglomerate criticizing. While the opposition to the initiative must have been substantial for one of the world’s richest companies to drop the idea of pursuing it, it wasn’t largely public. One of the rare few instances of structured criticism against the project originating from someone with a say in the matter came in December during a hearing organized by the NYC Council. On that occasion, Democratic Council Member Inez Barron told Amazon it doesn’t enjoy unanimous support from local decision-makers and should prepare for significant opposition moving forward. Increased housing costs, new obstacles to efficient transportation, and
Despite the HQ2 project being essentially dead for good, Amazon intends to continue growing its presence in Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn, where it already employs more than 5,000 people. That isn’t to say new offices or other places of business will be opening in those neighborhoods but overall NY investments won’t grind to a halt.
The unapologetic fanfare surrounding the HQ2 project has been going strong for some seven months now as numerous state and local administrations mustered to tempt Amazon with massive tax cuts and other benefits in order to lure the e-commerce juggernaut to their neighborhoods. Amazon promised to spend some $5 billion on the project just in terms of construction costs, estimating it will attract much greater investments in the long run. Various legislators also quite publicly salivated at the idea of eventually charging Amazon taxes, though the firm is still deeply involved in the process of carrying losses through its fiscal years.
Amazon’s last round of auditions started in January and was a fast-paced one but it’s presently unclear whether the finalists that weren’t picked will have greater chances at hosting the company in the future or if any subsequent search for suitable expansion terrain it holds will be restarted from scratch. In the meantime, Amazon continues to enjoy record growth and its stock remains stable even as its founder remains embroiled in a bizarrely public clash over some private photos of him allegedly obtained by the National Enquirer which he then accused of blackmail and a coordinated effort to hurt his image conducted alongside the Trump administration.