New York City Mayor Faults Amazon For Cancelling HQ2 Project

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pushes back against Amazon’s changing policies in his city. (Wikimedia Commons)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pushes back against Amazon’s changing policies in his city. (Wikimedia Commons)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a stern message to Amazon on February 14 after the tech conglomerate abruptly announced that it would no longer set up its second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.

"This is an example of an abuse of corporate power—they had an agreement with the people of New York City," stressed de Blasio. "But Amazon just took their ball and went home, and what they did was they confirmed people's worst fears of corporate America: Here's the one percent dictating to everyone else, even though we gave them a fair deal."

Amazon, which is based in Seattle, announced in November that it had chosen Long Island City as one of its two new headquarters, with the other in Arlington, Virginia. Convinced that the plan would spur economic growth, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied for the New York City project, competing against more than 200 other metropolitan areas.

The tech giant would have invested $2.5 billion into building its New York office, providing between 25,000 and 40,000 jobs to the area over 15 years.

Dissenters believed that the project would make “housing prices unsustainable” for local residents, characterizing HQ2 as a misallocation of city resources. A vocal critic of the deal, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrated the company’s decision as a victory for “everyday New Yorkers” against “Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world,” alluding to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Amazon cited local opposition in its statement announcing the pullout. "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," the company wrote.

De Blasio condemned the deal’s critics for dismissing how the $3 billion incentive the company was offered would have kicked in only after Amazon contributes $27 billion in tax revenue. The mayor also chastised Amazon for not being “tough” enough to stand up to local opposition, instead canceling the project without further negotiation.

“We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity,” said de Blasio. “We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone. If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will.”