U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time on Thursday in calling Amazon's decision to scrap plans to build a major NY outpost with almost $3 billion in city and state incentives a big victory for progressive politicians. The Nashville office is expected to have 5,000.
Amazon had planned to spend $5bn on the two new developments and expected to get almost $3bn in tax credits and incentives, with plans to apply for more.
Newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the more high-profile critics of the deal from the Democratic Party's leftward flank.
In its statement, Amazon said it has no plans 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 USA and Canada.
New York's leaders also agreed to redo renovation plans for the Queens waterfront and move a school lunch distribution center to fit in with Amazon's plan.
The meeting with Amazon officials had been held to answer concerns from the community about labor conditions for Amazon's warehouse and delivery workers and the company's opposition to labor unions. State lawmakers a year ago approved an $8.5 billion package - including $6.5 billion in tax incentives and $2 billion in infrastructure and transportation spending - in hopes of luring the internet titan to the state.
Julie Samuels, executive director of advocacy group Tech NYC, says, "Amazon's decision to withdraw from NY is no doubt a blow to our local economy and the tens of thousands of people the company would've employed here".
Eric Benaim, a realty executive who gets most of his sales and rentals in Long Island City, had led a petition in support of Amazon, drawing 4,000 signatures. "If Amazon can't recognize what that's worth, its competitors will". Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voiced her opposition to the plan, saying that NY offering to use eminent domain to seize land from people to make room for the headquarters was "utterly unacceptable". The company is planning to move forward with its Virginia expansion.
"We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world", New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet Thursday. Something that did not escape Gov. Cuomo. But the resistance from some elected officials was apparently enough to derail the deal and make Amazon leave those incentives on the table. And politicians are keen for Amazon to make Toronto its home away from home.
The Teamsters union also welcomed Amazon's decision to pull out. He doesn't know of the poll that Amazon cites in its statement, but he wouldn't be surprised if the 70 percent support statistic is accurate.
"For those who didn't want Amazon to bring the promised 25,000 new jobs and added economic vitality to the area: Be careful what you wish for", he said.
With New York out of the picture, other cities may look to swoop in in an effort to persuade Amazon to bring those 25,000 jobs to its state.
Amazon would likely have had a hard time getting development started without local support and the project's costs could have ballooned as a result of legal battles opposing its new headquarters.