Google Says It’s Not Seeking Tax Breaks for Huge NYC Project

0
478
. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

By Sandy Fitzgerald (NEWSMAX) A Google official has confirmed the company will forfeit available tax breaks for the construction of its huge new office building in New York City’s Hudson Square.

The company announced Tuesday it will follow through with its $2.1 billion purchase of the St. John’s Terminal facility, which is currently under reconstruction, reports The City.

Oxford Properties, the project’s developer, had started the process to apply for New York City’s Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) for the project, located south of Houston Street along West Street in Manhattan.

Google’s 1.7-million-square-foot campus will include three buildings, at 315 Hudson and 345 Hudson streets, and the St. John’s Terminal at 550 Washington St.

It was already leasing space at St. John’s Terminal and announced earlier this year it planned to invest more in the building. The terminal will be used as the company’s anchor site and is scheduled to open by mid-2023. Google also hopes to add 2,000 jobs to its New York City workforce, raising it from 12,000 employees to 14,000.

ICAP is among the tax breaks Amazon had been set to receive for its now-canceled headquarters in Long Island City, but a Google official said the tech giant won’t seek ICAP or any other breaks. A company official would not comment further on the news, The City reports.

The Google deal is the largest office sale in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic started, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

“It’s a really, really big deal for New York City, and this is one of the shots in the arm we need as part of our comeback,” he said during his daily press briefing.

The mayor, however, slammed Amazon for killing its headquarters project, and said comparing its plans to Google’s aren’t fair.

“We worked to get a fair deal from Amazon,” de Blasio said. “We thought we had a fair deal with Amazon. They said yes, and then they walked away.”

Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer for Google and its parent company Alphabet, said in a statement that the company stays rooted in New York City because of its “energy, creativity, and world-class talent.”

Google’s Hudson Square campus is eligible for city tax credits of up to $3,000 per job annually, under a special version of the state’s Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP) for Lower Manhattan that was created after the 9/11 attacks, to relocate employees into the city.

The state legislature last year renewed both programs through 2025. During the arguments over Amazon’s HQ2 project, critics called the tax breaks corporate welfare.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, had fought hard against the Amazon project, and said Tuesday tax programs like ICAP and REAP should be “aggressively scaled back” so companies like Amazon and Google would not automatically be entitled to use them.

However, he and other Albany Democrats voted to renew the tax breaks last year, but minor changes were added such as removing self-storage units from the list of businesses eligible for the programs.

“Big tech needs to be in New York and they’re going to come, and we don’t need to give them public dollars to do so,” Gianaris said Tuesday, adding he wanted the state to go further with reforms on the tax programs, especially when it comes to larger companies.

He pointed out that Google showed that big tech companies are “willing to come to New York without us opening up the piggy bank.”