Amazon released a statement on its blog Thursday, February 14 saying it will not pursue a second headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood in New York City. The announcement follows resistance from local politicians and activists who said they opposed the $2.8 billion incentive package offered to the internet retailer, and the secretive way New York's mayor and governor negotiated it.
AMAZON CANCELS PLAN TO COME TO NEW YORK— J. David Goodman (@jdavidgoodman) February 14, 2019
“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens” - Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth
The company says it doesn't plan to begin another HQ2 search at this time, but will instead focus on its Northern Virginia and Nashville locations. It's not yet clear whether this means more workers will be coming to the Crystal City area. Either way, given the scale of the region's housing undersupply, the second headquarters will probably have little impact on the overall housing market beyond what's already happening, even if another 25,000 workers end up coming. It may, of course, have larger local effects in and around Arlington.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an incentives bill on February 5 offering Amazon up to $750 million if the company creates 37,850 high-paying jobs in Arlington.
A reminder that Amazon's agreement with Virginia calls for an estimate of 37,850 new jobs there, not just the 25,000 https://t.co/9p5ziuL7T9— Emily Badger (@emilymbadger) February 14, 2019
Meanwhile, Maryland Matters reported that Governor Larry Hogan is meeting with Amazon.
As news circulates that @amazon is abandoning plans to build part of its new headquarters in New York City, @GovLarryHogan tells reporters that Maryland officials have already lined up a meeting with the company.— Maryland Matters (@marylandmatters) February 14, 2019
WAMU reporter Martin Austermuhle tweeted about Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey's response to the news:
Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey says Amazon's decision to pull its NYC campus won't impact Crystal City: “We have confirmed that we are moving forward as planned with Amazon’s upcoming headquarters in Arlington – nothing has changed.”— Martin Austermuhle (@maustermuhle) February 14, 2019
You can read Amazon's statement in full below:
“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.
“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — We love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture—and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.
“We are deeply grateful to Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can’t speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.
“We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.
“Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.”
We'll keep you updated as we learn more about the implications for our region. Readers: what are your thoughts on the news?
Note: This post has been updated with information about Christian Dorsey's response and Virginia's incentives.