×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon Abandons Plans for New York Headquarters

Responding to a growing backlash, Amazon is officially abandoning its plans to build a new base of operations in New York. The company had planned to split its second headquarters, dubbed “HQ2,” between New York and Northern Virginia. On Thursday, Amazon said it wouldn’t be looking for an alternative location for the now-abandoned New York campus.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

Amazon had faced scrutiny for receiving over $3 billion in tax and other incentives, and was heavily courted by state officials while it went through a public application process for its HQ2 location. At one point, New York governor Andrew Cuomo even suggested that he would change his name to “Amazon Cuomo” to win the company’s contract. However, the deal was opposed by a number of local politicians, as well as high-profile progressive Democrats including representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who celebrated the company’s decision with a tweet:

On Thursday, Amazon blamed officials for torpedoing its plans. “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,” the company said in its statement.

Amazon also said that it wasn’t going to give up on New York altogether: “There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.”

Amazon’s primary headquarters has been in Seattle ever since the company was founded in 1994. The company had called for a public application process to build its second headquarter, and got over 200 cities to participate, with many offering lucrative tax incentives to attract the e-commerce giant.

The company announced a decision to split HQ2 between Northern Virginia and New York in November, and at the time suggested that it would create as many as 25,000 jobs in each location.

Jimmy Van Bramer, the New York City Council member who represents the area in Queens, was among the loudest voices opposing the headquarters deal, on the grounds that the state should not be handing tax breaks to one of the world’s largest corporations.

Like Ocasio-Cortez, Van Bramer also raised concerns about Amazon’s track record in dealing with unions and in what they perceived to be a lack of hard commitments from Amazon to invest in infrastructure and services in Long Island City and environs. And they faulted Cuomo for negotiating the deal in secret without input from Queens legislators.

“Defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is a triumph that should change the way we do economic development deals in our city & state forever,” Van Bramer wrote on Twitter after Amazon announced its decision.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Tye Sheridan

    Tye Sheridan Starring in Survival Thriller 'Wireless' From Steven Soderbergh for Quibi

    Quibi has ordered another show with notable Hollywood talent attached: scripted series “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer. In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes [...]

  • Instagram

    Instagram Testing Hidden Like Counts Globally

    Like counts will be disappearing from Instagram all over the world starting this week: The Facebook-owned photo sharing service is extending its test of hiding like counts to all of its territories, Techcrunch was first to report Thursday morning. Instagram began hiding like counts for a subset of its users in Canada this spring, and [...]

  • Ted Sarandos - Netflix

    Ted Sarandos Says Disney Plus Launch Changes 'Nothing' for Netflix

    Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos claims he’s not getting distracted by huge competitors — like Disney — rumbling into the company’s streaming turf. The exec was asked what has changed for Netflix with the Nov. 12 launch of Disney Plus, which the Mouse House boasted as having signed up over 10 million users so [...]

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    Game Awards 2019 to Play on 53 Cinemark Screens Alongside 'Jumanji: The Next Level'

    This year’s Game Awards, recognizing the top video games, creators and esports of 2019, is coming to the silver screen. In a three-way partnership, the Game Awards, Cinemark Theatres and Sony Pictures are teaming on a superticket program pairing the Dec. 12 live simulcast of the 2019 Game Awards in 53 Cinemark locations with a [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Jax Media Soars by Amplifying Unique Voices of Auteur TV

    Jax Media has emerged during the past few years as one of television’s busiest and buzziest production companies. The New York-based company headed by four partners — Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch — has an enviable track record of scouting new voices and executing stylish shows on a less-than-stratospheric budgets. The [...]

  • Variety Digital New Leaders

    Execs From Endeavor Audio, Group Nine Among Those Leading the Way in Digital

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content