Amazon’s HQ2 Dumps New York on Valentine’s Day

The ecommerce behemoth will not come to Long Island City after all

Amazon canceled plans to move to New York. Getty Images
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

It’s been a rough week for the world’s richest man: As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ battle with the National Enquirer rages on, his company announced its romance with Long Island City, Queens, is over and it will not build part of a second headquarters there.

“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,” Amazon said.

The post noted it does not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time and will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville.

According to unspecified polls, Amazon said 70 percent of New Yorkers had supported its plan.

It’s unclear if this is an accurate figure, but there has certainly been pushback from city residents concerned about rent increases in the area, which could push out low-income residents; what 25,000 new employees and their families would do to a crumbling 114-year-old subway system that can barely handle its existing passenger load; the lack of community input in and the exclusion of the city council from closed-door negotiations; and plans to give public money to one of the world’s richest companies instead of allocating it for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure and education.

Calling it a difficult and disappointing decision, the post went on to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio not once but twice in a something of a Dear John letter to the duo who announced the deal in November, saying they “so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process,” “worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation,” “and inspired us from the very beginning [with their steadfast commitment and dedication … to the communities they represent].”

“Amazon’s decision to withdraw from New York is no doubt a blow to our local economy and the tens of thousands of people the company would’ve employed here,” said Julie Samuels, executive director of local tech advocacy group Tech:NYC. “It’s especially disappointing given the overwhelming local support for the deal, and there can be no doubt that bad politics got in the way of good policy here.”

However, Amazon didn’t entirely close the door on New York, saying it plans to grow existing teams in the area and hopes “to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.”

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.