Political backlash may kill off Amazon's NYC headquarters deal

Political backlash may kill off Amazon's NYC headquarters deal

Political backlash may kill off Amazon's NYC headquarters deal

Amazon is reconsidering their plan to build physical headquarters in New York City after receiving backlash from politicians, according to two Washington Post sources close with the company.

The Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, cited two people "familiar with the company's thinking".

It is unclear if Amazon truly is considering pulling its HQ2 project out of New York City - as was reported Friday morning by the Washington Post - but this much is clear: Officials from New Jersey have been courting the company for some time, selling Newark as a viable and cost-effective alternative.

Amazon has not yet leased or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its commitment. Westin has helped rally opposition to the deal from labor unions, community groups and prominent politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district is adjacent to the proposed site.

Amazon did not directly address the report but said it was focused on engaging with its future neighbors. It's very likely that this strong public outcry is one of the primary factors for Amazon to be allegedly rethinking its plans. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) also opposed Amazon's expansion there, telling the Fox Business Network that his goal was to see the deal "thrown into the garbage".

Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, on January 29, 2016.

Such is not the case with the state Senate, however.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez says he hasn't heard from Amazon since the e-commerce giant broke the news to him and other South Florida officials that the region came up short in its bid to land HQ2. The company also said that it will "separately apply for as-of-right incentives including New York City's Industrial & Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) and New York City's Relocation and Employment Assistance Program (REAP)".

Cuomo said NY would be able to "count on one hand the number of millionaires left in New York" if taxes go up. "It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy".

New York City lawmakers who weren't intimately involved with the "HQ2" bid to bring in Amazon have been sharply critical of giving billions in taxpayer dollars to the world's most valuable corporation, so it can add to an already existing presence in the region.

According to the Post, in the past two weeks, the state Senate nominated an outspoken Amazon critic to a board where he could potentially veto the deal.

However, no final decisions have been made at this point, says the paper. Since Amazon announced its plans, homebuyers had signed 132 contracts in the neighborhood as of February 3, his data show, up from 40 signed in the same period a year earlier.

Moving HQ2 to another location could also impact Amazon's ability to find the best tech talent at a time when it is expanding rapidly, with NY beating out San Francisco and other cities in a ranking of the best tech cities, according to a report earlier this week.

Amazon's attempt to establish a stronger foothold in NY comes as the e-commerce giant continues to ramp up its presence in the digital advertising space, which is now dominated by Facebook and Google. Of this $1.525 billion, up to $1.2 billion could come from a refundable tax credit through New York State's Excelsior Program and a $325 million cash grant from the Empire State Development fund. However, if Amazon were to follow through on the alleged threat and pull out from the plan, it could impact agencies and brands alike.

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