NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon abruptly abandoned plans Thursday for a big new headquarters in New York that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the city, reversing course after politicians and others objected to the nearly $3 billion in tax incentives promised to the company.
“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York,” the online giant said in a blog post, adding that it already has 5,000 employees in the city and plans to increase that number.
The stunning reversal was a serious blow to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely to land the project. The Seattle company had planned to spend $2.5 billion building its new offices.
Amazon faced fierce opposition over the tax breaks, with critics complaining that the project was an extravagant giveaway to one of the world’s biggest companies and that it wouldn’t provide much direct benefit to most New Yorkers.
“This announcement marks a landmark victory for our communities and shows the power of the people, even when taking on the world’s richest man,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of the anti-poverty group Make the Road New York.
She said the Amazon was going to get “taxpayer giveaways” so that it could “force its empire-building on our neighborhoods.”
Amazon said it does not plan to look for another headquarters location at this time and will continue with its plans to build new offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee. The Arlington is expected to be the same size as the New York one, with 25,000 employees. The Nashville office is expected to have 5,000.
A Quinnipiac University poll released in December found New York City voters supported having an Amazon headquarters 57 percent to 26 percent. But they were divided over the incentives: 46 percent in favor, 44 percent against.