Amazon cancels plans for Long Island City headquarters after backlash from community

NEW YORK — Amazon is ditching its plans to build a new headquarters in New York after facing backlash from members of the community.

"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," Jodi Seth, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Amazon selected New York City and Northern Virginia in November to split duty as its second headquarters (nicknamed HQ2) after a year-long search. Each city was expected to have more than 25,000 workers over time.

"While polls show that 70% 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," Amazon said in a statement.

The announcement was made nearly a week after the Washington Post reported Amazon was reconsidering its NYC plans.

Since announcing plans to establish their campus in Queens, Amazon received a wave of opposition and a less-than-enthusiastic welcome from some locals.

The company never leased or purchased office space for the headquarters, which the Post reported would make it easy to withdraw their commitment.

This past month, a leading critic of New York subsidies for Amazon's plan to build a second headquarters in Queens was nominated to serve on a state board with the power to reject the project.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area, told PIX11 last Friday, "I'm not declaring victory, but I do believe it demonstrates the power of the arguments that we've been making against Amazon."

Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens called the plan to award Amazon billions of dollars in tax credits and direct grants "offensive" to residents and taxpayers struggling with aging subways, overcrowded schools and a lack of affordable housing.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended the deal last Friday.

"We get 27 [billion], they get 3 billion back. I would do that all day long," Cuomo said at a press conference in Long Island, where he was talking about the budget for the area.

Amazon's plans were expected to bring 25,000 new jobs to the city.

Video produced by Summer Delaney. 

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