Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has canceled its plans to build a new headquarters in New York City. In a statement announcing the decision, the company said, “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.” Amazon added that it was “disappointed to have reached this conclusion.”
The move comes roughly four months after Amazon committed to build two new headquarters: one in Long Island City, Queens and the other in Virginia. The search for the location of the new headquarters created a frenzy, with more than 200 cities bidding to be the new location. Officials in New York secured the deal after offering the company nearly $3 billion in government incentives.
Soon after New York was announced as one of the winners, a fierce backlash began. Critics blasted the use of public subsidies to entice wealthy companies and complained about what the headquarters would do to the surrounding neighborhoods. Lawmakers, progressive activists, and union leaders persistently protested the deal. As the protests mounted, Amazon’s public image began to suffer, not just in New York, but across the nation.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were both staunch supporters of the deal to bring Amazon’s headquarters to the state. According to people familiar with the matter, both were still working last week to convince Amazon that the deal would be approved despite the vocal opposition. According to these sources, Amazon did not inform the governor or the mayor of its decision to cancel the deal until shortly before the company posted its announcement online.
Amazon still plans to go ahead with its planned headquarters in Virginia and will continue to expand other areas of its business. The company still plans to add more jobs in New York, notably in fashion, advertising, and web services. The company currently has about 5,000 workers in the state.