Amazon Pulls Plug on New York Headquarters, Promises to Continue With Nashville, Virginia Sites

The Big Apple has taken a big bite out of big tech, with the world’s largest e-commerce site announcing Thursday it would not build its second headquarters in New York City.

The massive retailer/cloud computing firm faced a battle from some politicians and others in New York over nearly $3 billion in tax incentives, Breitbart said. Amazon was poised to bring 25,000 jobs to New York with a $2.5 billion investment in offices.

The decision will not affect the planned office space for Arlington, Virginia, and the center in Nashville, Breitbart said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “You have to be tough to make it in New York City. 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.”

Amazon said in a statement it would not reopen the HQ2 search. The company also said:

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.

Even as Amazon bemoans the pushback in New York, not everyone in Tennessee has been happy.

As The Tennessee Star reported in December, the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police criticized the city’s plans to award up to $15 million in incentives, calling it “corporate welfare.” Amazon said its total incentive package includes up to $102 million in performance-based incentives for creating 5,000 jobs, with an average wage over $150,000.

The state’s and Nashville’s $102 million gift to Amazon for the $230 million operations center was an example of how officials were “scammed,” said Mark Cunningham, vice president of communications and outreach at the Beacon Center of Tennessee, in a story The Star reported last November.

But will Amazon bring the promised number of jobs to Music City?

Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill said, “I remain skeptical regarding the promised 5,000 jobs with an average $150,000 annual salary that Tennessee and Nashville have been promised in exchange for a reported taxpayer-funded incentive package of over $100 million dollars. The decision to keep the precise terms of the deal secret from the taxpayers who are paying for it is also a red flag regarding what is really being promised versus what may ultimately be delivered.”

Gill expects that Amazon will look towards Nashville-type deals as they reset after pulling out of New York City.

“I imagine that economic development teams from Denver, Austin, Charlotte and a few cities in Florida are already aggressively reaching out to Amazon with packages similar to what Tennessee agreed to,” Gill predicted. “Locations with business-friendly attitudes and no state income taxes, like Florida, Texas and Nevada, might have particular appeal,” he added. “Colorado and Arizona have seen a lot of California refugees in recent years, so the pool of tech talent there with lower tax burdens than New York and California could also be attractive opportunities for Amazon.”

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Photo “Jeff Bezos” by Seattle County Council. CC BY 2.0. Photo “David Briley” by David Briley. 







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2 Thoughts to “Amazon Pulls Plug on New York Headquarters, Promises to Continue With Nashville, Virginia Sites”

  1. […] and activists who bemoaned nearly $3 billion in tax incentives for the firm, The Tennessee Star reported. Amazon promised 25,000 jobs and $2.5 billion investment in […]

  2. […] its second headquarters in New York City, called HQ2, because of pushback there, The Tennessee Star reported last week. The retailer faced a battle from some politicians and others over nearly $3 billion in […]