NEW YORK (WABC) —
Eyewitness News has confirmed through sources that Amazon is reconsidering its decision to move its second headquarters to New York City due to local opposition.
The Washington Post first reported that Amazon was reconsidering the plan.
The Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, reported that two people familiar with the company’s thinking said executives are reassessing the situation and exploring alternatives. Eyewitness News later independently confirmed this information.
Following news of the report, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “The mayor fully expects Amazon to deliver on its promise to New Yorkers.”
Amazon neither confirmed nor denied the report, but issued a statement on Friday:
“We’re focused on engaging with our new neighbors – small business owners, educators, and community leaders. Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be.”
Just last week, protesters disrupted Amazon’s New York City Council hearing by unfurling a banner reading “Amazon Lies,” and several city politicians have voiced their opposition.
In light of Amazon’s possible reconsideration, at least 10 community organizations in Queens planned “No Amazon Day of Outreach” Saturday to survey which Queens communities will be most impacted by the proposed multi-billion dollar deal.
The move would reportedly bring 25,000 jobs to New York City, but many expressed anger over the billions of dollars in tax breaks and grants to the company.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was furious over the report, warning “political pandering” by critics of Amazon’s proposed secondary headquarters could sink New York’s biggest-ever economic development deal.
Noting the report, Cuomo accused the state Senate of “governmental malpractice” and pandering. He says it’s “trying to stop Amazon.”
Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins tapped a senator critical of the Amazon plan for a board that might be asked to approve subsidies.
Unlike New York, elected officials in Virginia have welcomed the company with open arms. The Post also reported that Tennessee officials have also embraced Amazon’s plans to bring 5,000 jobs to Nashville.
“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,” one source said.
The Post reported that the company hadn’t leased or purchased office space in Long Island City, Queens, for the project, and final approval from New York State is not expected until 2020.
There has been strong reaction from people who live and work in the shadow of the proposed headquarters.
“I’m not against Amazon coming to the neighborhood,” said local business owner Shawn Dixon. “I’m just against Amazon coming to the neighborhood under the current deal.”
“If Amazon’s view is they will only come here on terms they dictate and those terms which these terms are, then they should leave,” said New York State Senator Michael Gianaris.
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