After days of swirling reports that Amazon might be rethinking plans to build one-half of its second headquarters in New York’s Long Island City, the final choice has been made.
The Long Island City HQ2 project is officially off. The Valentine’s Day breakup was confirmed by a blog post by Amazon earlier today (Feb. 14).
Though the choice was initially announced with a great deal of fanfare, in the intervening months concerns and complaints began to emerge from local residents and officials that being home to Amazon’s second HQ would present more problems for long-term residents in terms of rising housing and services costs than opportunities.
“This isn’t about being anti-growth or anti-corporation. It’s about corporate accountability and shared responsibility,” Seattle City Council Teresa Mosqueda said in an interview with Bloomberg on the concerns arising in New York about being neighbors with Amazon. “These companies do well because of our workforce and infrastructure, and they’ll continue to do well if they invest in that infrastructure.”
The complaints continued to mount and by last week it was clear that Amazon might we be rethinking its dedication to the project. One unnamed source closed to the matter within Amazon told The Washington Post, “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.”
Apparently, it’s not worth it. In its blog post announcing the plan had been canceled, Amazon thanked both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their efforts on behalf of the project, but also noted, “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 post also noted that though it would not be building HQ2 in Long Island City, Amazon remains committed to the 5,000 or so workers it already employs in New York City and to expanding that team. The firm also noted that it will be not reopening the search for a replacement HQ2 location just yet.
“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.”