Amazon HQ2: Cuomo reportedly attempted to bring Amazon back to New York


Some New Yorkers rejoiced after Amazon's announcement to no longer build a large corporate campus in the business district of Long Island City, Queens. But others, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who helped broker the deal with the tech giant, were less satisfied. And now, a group of them begs Amazon to come back.

Under the leadership of Cuomo, a disparate coalition of politicians, business owners, and community activists signed an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, urging him to reconsider his withdrawal from the Agreement, Thursday reported the New York Times. The signatories include representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Carolyn Maloney, the presidents of four social housing tenants' associations, and the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and JetBlue. (Cuomo did not sign the letter.)

"We understand that joining the global leader in e-commerce, logistics and web services would be a tremendous boost to our state's technology sector, which generates the most new jobs," the letter said. "We know that the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was harsh and unwelcoming. Opinions are strong in New York – sometimes strident. We consider it to be part of the charm of New York! But when we embark on a project as important as this one, we find a way to carry it out so that everyone can do it. "

The letter also states that Cuomo "will take personal responsibility for the approval of the project by the state" and that the mayor of Blasio "will work with the governor to manage the community development process".

According to the Times, Cuomo "worked hard behind the scenes to re-attract the company" and had several phone conversations with Amazon executives, including Bezos, over the past two weeks.

But Cuomo's efforts may not be enough to recover the business. Public opposition to the idea of ​​an Amazonian campus in New York began to be felt long before the company announced the location of its so-called second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.

Some critics have speculated that Amazon's search for a home for its new office park, which she called a national competition, was a way to get as many incentives as possible, regardless of which city was chosen. The company finally decided to divide its second headquarters between two cities: New York and Arlington, Virginia. (Amazon has received about $ 3 billion in tax subsidies, grants, and other financial incentives from New York city and state governments, as well as $ 573 million from Virginia and $ 23 million from Arlington, revealed the company in November.)

While the Virginians initially celebrated the deal, Amazon's impending presence in New York was met with stiff resistance from a coalition of grassroots organizations, unions and local politicians opposed to the tax cuts created by the richest society in the world. the world was receiving.

Critics of HQ2 also feared that the presence of Amazon would exacerbate gentrification in Long Island City and surrounding neighborhoods, and claimed that Amazon's labor practices, its anti-union stance and the fact that the company had previously set up its facial recognition system with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. makes society a bad choice for a city like New York that prides itself on progressive values.

According to the Times reporter, J. David Goodman, who announced the news of Cuomo's attempt to bring back Amazon, the opposition of activists to "practices far beyond the five boroughs" of Amazon – to knowing his attempts to work with ICE and his position on the unions – was: the main factors that drove Amazon to withdraw from the deal in the first place.

If that's the case, Cuomo's efforts to get Amazon to reconsider might not be enough. The governor of New York may try to crack down on local opposition to tax breaks and subsidies, but it is much more restrictive to activate activists and Amazon.

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