Amazon rethinks its decision to locate HQ2 in New York

Following the mounting backlash against the decision to locate one of its new headquarters in Queens, New York, The Washington Post has reported that the company is rethinking its decision

11Feb

After announcing it will be locating one of its new headquarters in New York City, Amazon is reportedly reconsidering its decision due to the mounting backlash it has faced since revealing the decision, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Following a year-long competition which encouraged US cities to compete for the opportunity to house Amazon's new headquarters, the company announced in November 2018 it would be splitting its new headquarters in two. One was to be located in Queens, New York City, and the second in Arlington, Virginia, close to the nation's capital, Washington DC. The retail giant stated that the two new headquarters would bring 25,000 jobs to each of the areas in addition to its investment of $5bn across both campuses.

However, critics have claimed that the project will raise housing costs in the Queens area, to the extent that locals are forced to move, and add yet more pressure to the transport infrastructure, severely increasing traffic. Shortly after the decision was announced, a number of New York citizens gathered in Queens in protest, in particular to rally against the decision to give the company $3bn in tax breaks and subsidies.

"The more we learn about this deal, the worse it gets," remarked New York state senator Michael Gianaris at the time. "This is a bad deal, and the state and the city should both be embarrassed to stand behind this deal. They got taken, plain and simple."

While the headquarters in Virginia has been embraced by officials, a number of New York politicians have been outspoken in their lack of support for the new headquarters. This includes members of the state board, City Council members and national political representatives such as US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"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 person familiar with the company's thinking told The Washington Post.

In an effort to counter the bad press the company is receiving, Amazon recently announced it would be funding Introductory and Advanced Placement (AP) computer science classes at more than 130 high schools in the New York City area.

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