(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc. is reconsidering its plan to build a corporate campus in New York after facing a wave of opposition, according to a news report that cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Amazon executives have had internal discussions recently to reassess the situation in New York and explore alternatives, the Washington Post reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. The company hasn’t leased or purchased office space for the project yet, making it easy to withdraw the commitment.
Amazon has made no specific plans to abandon New York, the Post said. The newspaper also said it was possible the threat to withdraw could be a way of exerting pressure on city officials. An Amazon spokeswoman didn’t have an immediate comment when contacted by Bloomberg.
Almost immediately after Seattle-based Amazon announced last year that it chose Long Island City as one of two sites to build new corporate offices, a backlash emerged from lawmakers and community organizers in the Empire State. They say the influx could push out existing residents and add to congestion on the already overcrowded subway.
Amazon expected it would face the biggest public backlash to a new headquarters in New York City, Bloomberg has reported. Amazon chose the location anyway, since the city offered a large skilled-labor pool, and ample opportunities for spouses and partners of recruited hires to find employment to further their own careers, the person said. It’s building a similar project in Arlington, Virginia.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been vocal champions of the $2.5 billion deal, citing an influx of as many as 40,000 highly paid tech jobs and as much as $27.5 billion in state and city tax revenue over 25 years.
At a contentious City Council meeting last week, Amazon’s public policy director Brian Huseman touted the deal’s benefits for the city, but also said that Amazon wants to invest in a “community that wants us.”
The deal hasn’t closed yet. It must be approved unanimously by the state Public Authorities Control Board. On Monday, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins chose Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat who represents Long Island City, and one of the biggest cricits of the Amazon deal, as one of three members of the board.
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