The Real Reason Amazon Pulled the Plug On Its New York City Headquarters

For the past few years, Amazon has been on a mission to find the newest location for its next headquarters. After hundreds of cities competed for the spot, the list was narrowed down. And eventually, Amazon chose two new locations: Arlington County, Virginia, and Long Island City, Queens. However, the company just pulled the plug on its Queens location. Here’s why.

An Amazon Fulfilment Centre Prepares For Black Friday
Packaged Amazon Prime items | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Cities all over the United States competed for Amazon’s attention

When Amazon announced it would be looking for a new headquarters, dubbed “hq2,” cities all over the United States scrambled to propose deals to the most profitable company in the world. A new headquarters meant thousands of new jobs, which cities and states alike believed would boost the economy in certain areas. It didn’t take much time for the “competition” to become nationwide news, and everyone kept a close eye on which city Amazon would choose. The company slowly narrowed down the applicants to around 10 cities. Then, it made its final decision.

Amazon eventually settled on Long Island City for its newest location

Amazon actually decided on two new locations: One would be in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Another would be in Long Island City, Queens, just across the East River from Manhattan. Amazon chose the Long Island City location for two main reasons. First, the state offered major tax breaks meant to convince the company to build there. Second, the location is just outside the most densely populated city in the country. It would attract “world-class talent” according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Each location would provide roughly 25,000 jobs to the area.

Local politicians and members of the community were less than thrilled about the Amazon news

Although Governor Cuomo was excited about the new Amazon deal, members of the community, plus many politicians, greatly opposed Amazon’s newest headquarters. The state had reportedly offered incentives adding up to around $3 billion, which made local politicians give major pushback. Plus, members of the community were not happy with what the company would potentially do to their neighborhood. The rent would rise and plenty of new people would move in, making it difficult for those who called Long Island City home for years to actually afford their hometown.

Although Governor Cuomo believed the location would be good for the community, Amazon pulled out of the deal  

Last week, The Washington Post broke the news that Amazon was reconsidering building the Queens headquarters. And on February 14, the company announced it would officially rescind its acceptance to build the newest location in Long Island City. According to CNBC, politicians who opposed the new headquarters said they wouldn’t work with the company to build the relationships necessary for the headquarters to thrive. Amazon said rather than go forward with the new location, it would simply build up its already-existing smaller locations surrounding the New York City area.

Although Amazon executives did their best to convince politicians and community members that it was a good move for the city (they attended a hearing in December in New York City), the people weren’t convinced. And without the support of those in the community, the headquarters would never excel in the way it needed. The company still plans to build one new headquarters in Virginia, but it doesn’t appear to be looking at another location.

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