Amazon.com Inc. is said to be taking a second look at its controversial plan to locate its corporate campus in New York, according to a report.
Amazon said last year it had selected a site on Long Island City to place its 25,000 employees, yet to date has failed to lease or buy office space. Some see this as a way for the company to leave itself an easy out in case it changes its plans.
Amazon’s brain trust has had internal conversations recently to reassess the situation in New York and explore alternatives, the Washington Post is reporting.
“The company’s brass had to endure a series of hearings in the City Council in recent weeks, in which politicians blasted Amazon’s record on labor issues and its refusal to accede to a unionization drive at its Staten Island distribution center,” reported Bloomberg News and Crain’s New York Business. “But the local legislature is powerless to stop the Long Island City campus from advancing, since Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Development has put the development into a “general project plan,” which bypasses municipal zoning and land use regulations.”
In typical fashion, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attacked local officials who had come out against Amazon’s move, telling reporters attending a news conference that “we have to make Amazon a reality. For the state Senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice. And if they stop Amazon from coming to New York, they’re going to have the people of New York state to explain it to. It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy.”
Cuomo added, “You want to know how dangerous it is? There is a story today that says Amazon may not come to New York. If Amazon does not come to New York, it’s because of the political opposition… I spend days trying to bring a business that has 100 jobs or 200 jobs.”
Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has spoken out against Amazon in the recent past, did so again. Speaking of Amazon, which has promised 25,000 jobs and over $27.5 billion in tax revenue in 25 years, she tweeted “everyday people (can) effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations.”
It was back on November 13, 2018 that Amazon announced it had selected New York City and Arlington, Virginia, as the locations for its new headquarters. “We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon at the time. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”
As part of Amazon’s new headquarters, the company said, New York and Long Island City “will benefit from more than 25,000 full-time high-paying jobs; approximately $2.5 billion in Amazon investment; 4 million square feet of energy-efficient office space with an opportunity to expand to 8 million square feet; and an estimated incremental tax revenue of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years as a result of Amazon’s investment and job creation.”
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