Blame game after Amazon cancels plans to build headquarters in Queens

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Amazon announced Thursday that it will not build a headquarters in Queens due to local opposition, and now local and state politicians are passing around the blame and examining the fallout.

"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," spokeswoman Jodi Seth said in a statement. "We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion - we love New York."

Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Amazon for pulling out of the deal.

"You have to be tough to make it in New York City," he said. "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. 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."

Local businesses react to Amazon's decision:
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Jim Dolan has more from Long Island City.


Amazon announced in November that it had chosen the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens for one of two new headquarters, with the other in northern Virginia. The company had planned to spend $2.5 billion building its new New York City office.

Governor Andrew Cuomo had championed Amazon's plan. He released the following statement:

"Amazon chose to come to New York because we are the capital of the world and the best place to do business. We competed in and won the most hotly contested national economic development competition in the United States, resulting in at least 25,000-40,000 good paying jobs for our state and nearly $30 billion dollars in new revenue to fund transit improvements, new housing, schools and countless other quality of life improvements. Bringing Amazon to New York diversified our economy away from real estate and Wall Street, further cementing our status as an emerging center for tech and was an extraordinary economic win not just for Queens and New York City, but for the entire region, from Long Island to Albany's nanotech center.

However, a small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community -- which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City -- the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state. The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.

The fundamentals of New York's business climate and community that attracted amazon to be here - our talent pool, world-class education system, commitment to diversity and progressivism - remain and we won't be deterred as we continue to attract world class business to communities across New York State."


The online retailer faced opposition from some New York politicians and activists, who were unhappy with the billions of dollars in tax incentives and grants that Amazon was awarded.

The move would have brought 25,000 jobs to New York City.
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Stacey Sager has reactions to Amazon's decision not to build headquarters in Queens.


Jimmy Van Bramer and other members of the City Council had tried unsuccessfully to get Amazon officials to agree to remain neutral in the face of any potential union drive. Van Bramer said that he believes Amazon feared the possibility of a successful union drive in New York:

"They knew that their anti-union, their virulently anti-union position here was not tenable here and if they caved here then they would face rising pressures all across the country and the world to allow their workers to organize," he said.

WATCH: NYC politicians who opposed Amazon react to the company's decision

Unlike New York, elected officials in Virginia have welcomed the company with open arms.

The company is not reopening their search and will re-base the jobs to Northern Virginia, the other site selected for Amazon's headquarters, and Nashville, Tennessee.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy kept the door open in case Amazon changes its mind.
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Jim Dolan reports on Amazon's canceled plans to build headquarters in Queens.


"After learning of the decision to pull out of their chosen HQ2 location, I contacted Amazon and City of Newark stakeholders directly, continuing a constant dialogue that predates my time as governor," he said. "New Jersey is open for business, and now more than ever, Newark is the clear choice as the next presence for Amazon corporate offices. Amazon now has the opportunity to join in Newark's story of a city on the rise."

Full text of Amazon statement:

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. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. 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.

We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion-we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture-and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can't speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.

We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.

Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.


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