In a stunning announcement, online commerce giant Amazon has announced it is pulling out of a deal to build a new $3.6 billion headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York.
The announcement comes in the wake of angry opposition from many local and state political leaders, in particular members of the New York State Legislature, who have criticized incentives offered by the state to Amazon to the tune of nearly $3 billion.
In a statement, Amazon said that even though recent polls showed an overwhelming majority of state residents wanted the company to build in New York, “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 that we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
Responding to Amazon’s decision, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted what he called a small group of politicians who “put their own narrow political interests above their community” in opposing the project.
“The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage,” Cuomo continued. “They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”
But New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed Amazon for the failed deal, saying there was a minimum of communication between the company and local officials and residents. “Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity,” the Mayor said, also in a statement.
Although Amazon has affirmed that it is going forward with building a separate part of the second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the company has not announced what other city might replace New York.
In the national competition to offer a new home to Amazon, hundreds of cities offered a variety of incentives and other amenities. Ultimately Denver was placed on a top twenty finalists list in early 2018.
According to sources, Denver officials have remained in touch with Amazon, even after the company announced its New York pick last November. During the earlier bidding process, Denver had submitted thirteen sites to Amazon as possible headquarter locations.
In an analysis published just three days before Amazon’s New York exit, Yahoo!Finance picked Denver as one of its top three choices to replace New York, along with Newark, New Jersey, and Austin, Texas.
The web news service argued that Denver is a “serious tech hub, with hundreds of startups based there.”
Colorado’s relationship with Amazon has seen the company so far build three of its fulfillment centers in the state.
By Garry Boulard
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