So many things go easily for Amazon, but starting a headquarters on Long Island wasn't one of them. The local government and others in charge didn't feel the influx of so many people would be good for an already over-crowded and busy part of the United States.
Amazon chose Long Island City as one of two places for its new second headquarters. New York City's population and opportunities would have been useful to those with family members who work for Amazon if this new headquarters would have become a reality. For Amazon and some politicians in New York City, it seemed like a good place to create hundreds of new jobs, but the local lawmakers in charge of the districts in and around Queens weren't exactly keen to let Amazon break ground on that new headquarters complex.
Funnily enough, Amazon knew it would be difficult to open a headquarters in New York City. Even though studies showed it would not be easy, Amazon went ahead with the project anyway. With New York State governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill be Blasio championing Amazon's wishes to open up shop there at first, they vocalized how positive the $2.5 billion deal would be, with its 40,000 highly-paid tech jobs and around $27.5 billion in tax revenues over 25 years.
City Council Meetings And Public Protests
At a highly-charged recent city council meeting, Brian Huseman, Amazon's public policy director, stated that Amazon talked up the deal's benefits for the city, but that Amazon wanted to invest in a community that wants the huge company to be there. Furthermore, there have been public protests with many people in total opposition to Amazon moving into, or even near, the Big Apple. Reported by the Independent, one official stated that, “The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming". This is from digitalcommerce360.com.
CNN reported that Amazon ran ads in local publications to promise to work together with local communities. "If the Amazon deal falls apart, they will have nobody to blame but themselves," said Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "New Yorkers won't be bullied by Jeff Bezos, and if Amazon is unwilling to respect workers and communities they will never be welcome in New York City." It looks like the protests, and lack of more political support, knocked the New York dreams out of Jeff Bezos' head.
How New York Feels About It
Reported by retailwire.com, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had the following to say: “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity. We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone. If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will.”
Governor Cuomo blamed petty politics and politicians including members of his own party. Here are his two cents: “A small group [of] politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state. The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”
It really looks like local politicians dislike the political scheming by New York State and the fact that Amazon lost its nerve. So where will Amazon go next? Did Jeff Bezos just want to gain lots of free information about critical markets for nothing simply by suggesting that Amazon has its sights on their city for HQ2?
Amazon Could Have Done The Right Thing
The bottom line is, Amazon could have addressed the fears of New Yorkers – especially those that were afraid of being displaced by the giant Amazon campus that would have been put smack-dab in the middle of Queens. Jeff could have taken a look at what Microsoft did in Seattle, pledging $500 million to fight the affordable housing crisis. Let's see which city Amazon "graces" with its presence next.