"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors - small business owners, educators, and community leaders".
Executives at the company recently met to reassess setting up shop in Long Island City, as pols and activists continue to rail against the controversial new campus, the Washington Post reports, citing two people "familiar with the company's thinking".
While all of that is happening, Amazon floated this pullback from NY, citing how "welcoming" politicians in Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee have been in handing over public money for its site locations.
The person briefed on the matter said that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from NY officials and had not given up on the proposal, but was considering potential alternatives to NY.
De Blasio argued in November that "this is a giant step on our path to building an economy in New York City that leaves no one behind". According to the story in the Post, Amazon has not leased or purchased space for the NY location, and legislative approval for the incentive package there isn't expected before 2020.
Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens has called the plan to award Amazon billions of dollars in tax credits and direct grants "offensive" to residents and taxpayers struggling with aging subways, overcrowded schools and a lack of affordable housing.
The source said the state also has been reaching out to NY officials with suggestions of sharing the project, as was previously reported in ROI-NJ.
He told the Guardian: "Amazon has extorted ny from the first day of this process, and this seems to be their latest effort to do that. You're not there to play politics, you're there to do what's right for the people of the State of NY and what they did here is wrong". After the announcement for HQ2, the so-called Everything Store plastered Queens with flyers about how great it is and why it would be a good addition to the neighborhood (Gianaris sent corresponding flyers telling Amazon to stick to Seattle). No specific plans have been made to abandon the New York City headquarters so far.
According to Amazon's press release, the company will also receive "performance-based direct incentives of $1.525 billion" for the creation of the jobs.
But the local legislature is powerless to stop the Long Island City campus from advancing, since Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Empire State Development has put the development into a "general project plan", which bypasses municipal zoning and land use regulations. Westin has helped rally opposition to the deal from labor unions, community groups and prominent politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district is adjacent to the proposed site. In Amazon's case, that means highly-paid tech workers, but for other businesses it could means something else.
Basically, the whole thing could be summed up as "nice Amazon deal, New York". Amazon has done so in Northern Virginia.
After receiving the bad news, Emanuel acknowledged that subsidies were at least a part of the reason why Chicago lost the Amazon sweepstakes.