Amazon reconsiders bringing HQ2 to New York amid pushback: report

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Amazon is reportedly reconsidering its plan to build part of its new headquarters in New York City following pushback from area lawmakers and activists.

Two sources familiar with Amazon’s plans told The Washington Post that the retail giant is weighing whether it is “worth it” to bring its headquarters to Queens as local politicians and critics, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY.), drum up anti-Amazon fervor. 

{mosads}”The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” one person familiar with Amazon’s plans told the Post. 

Activists mounted the campaign against Amazon’s Queens headquarters last year after the company announced it had chosen New York City to host half of its highly-anticipated “HQ2,” which it says will bring 25,000 new jobs to the area. Amazon announced it had chosen to split the headquarters between New York and Virginia after a months-long search in which it asked cities to offer up incentives packages. 

Local lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, have vocally opposed the creation of the headquarters, saying it will displace poor residents and raise rents. They have sharply criticized New York City’s decision to offer $3 billion in state and city incentives to lure in Amazon.  

“Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after the Post’s report came out on Friday. “Yes, they can.”  

“We’re focused on engaging with our new neighbors — small business owners, educators, and community leaders,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement to The Hill. “Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be.”

Amazon recently announced plans to fund computer science classes in more than two dozen Queens high schools, one of several initiatives it has offered to offset concerns that its arrival will only harm local residents.  

The Queens HQ2 was hailed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) as an economic boon to the city. Both have said that the headquarters could help attract more tech businesses and billions of dollars in investments to New York City. 

Cuomo did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment, but he pushed back against critics in an op-ed last year touting the thousands of jobs that Amazon’s HQ2 would bring. 

Virginia has not seen a similar push against Amazon, and the state’s Gov. Ralph Northam (D) this week authorized up to $750 million in subsidies for the Amazon’s incoming Arlington headquarters. 

“We always welcome more great jobs to the commonwealth,” Stephen Moret, Virginia’s top Amazon negotiator, told the Post. 

Updated at 12:58 p.m.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Amazon Amazon HQ2 New York City Queens
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