The e-commerce giant Amazon will not build its new headquarters in New York, as announced in November, after weeks of opposition on the part of activists and local politicians to the project, who criticized the fiscal incentives and the potential impact on public services. "While surveys show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, several state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence in the city and will not work with us to build the relationships required to move the project forward. "Amazon said today.
In a text posted on his corporate blog, the firm announced that canceled the opening of the headquarters in the Long Island City district because he needs – he maintained – a "long-term" collaboration relationship with his elected politicians, although he thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their support.
Amazon, "disappointed to reach this conclusion", said that the commitment of Cuomo and De Blasio has been one of the great reasons why backtracking has been "so difficult", after the officials offered the company tax incentives worth about 3,000 million dollars (2,653 million euros).
Last November, Amazon announced its intention to locate two new offices in the states of Virginia and New York, a joint investment of 5,000 million dollars (4,422 million euros) would employ about 50,000 people in total, half in New York.
The technology company reported that, despite withdrawing its plan to settle in New York, where it already has some 5,000 employees, it will not look for a new site and will continue "as planned" in northern Virginia and in Nashville, where it will open a center for distribution.
«Victory for the community»
The political opposition was palpable in the hearings on the project in the City Hall, where Democratic councilors audited the agreement, denounced a lack of transparency of the negotiation on headquarters and considered that the amount of the tax incentive would be better invested in other matters.
Civil groups like Make the Road, with 23,000 members, were quick to celebrate Thursday's announcement as a "victory for the community" that "shows the power of the people over the richest man in the world," in reference to the founder and Amazon's top executive, Jeff Bezos.
The executive co-director of Make The Road, Deborah Axt, expressed her solidarity with the residents of other cities in which the company is or will be installed because, as she claimed, Amazon carries out "anti-worker policies, encourages displacement, collaborates with the immigration authority (ICE) and loot the public coffers. "In the same neighborhood in Queens where the headquarters were to be built, several politicians met for" economic justice "this afternoon, and recalled that Amazon was not going to allow its workers to unionize or that was going to propitiate gentrification.
Who did not celebrate the decision was Governor Cuomo, for whom New York "won the competition" and was going to generate "between 25,000 and 40,000 well-paid jobs and almost 30,000 million (26,533 million euros) in new revenue to finance improvements in transit , homes, schools. "
In a statement, he denounced that a "small group of politicians put their narrow political interests above" the community, and demanded that they be held accountable for the "lost economic opportunity" and accused the state Senate of doing "tremendous damage".
For his part, Mayor De Blasio reacted in a brief note very clear, stating that you have to "be hard" to break through in New York, a city full of talent, and that if Amazon "does not recognize how much it is worth, its competitors they will do. " "We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the best city in the world, instead of working with the community, Amazon rejected the opportunity," he added.
After the decision, the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, was faster and said he had contacted Amazon to express that the city of Newark "is a clear choice" for its corporate offices, "according to local media.