Amazon pulls out of NYC

The company will focus its efforts on a buildout in Arlington, VA and Nashville.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon is bailing on its plans to build a campus in Long Island City, Queens. Amazon had run into community opposition and will now stick to its plans in other locations in Virginia and Nashville.

Previously: Why Amazon's move to split HQ2 between New York City and Northern Virginia makes sense

The move to New York City was announced in November with plans to invest $5 billion between Long Island City and Arlington County, Virginia. As noted previously, the new locations played into Amazon's distribution and fulfillment plans.

According to The New York Times, Amazon pulled out "after much thought and deliberation." Amazon posted a long statement on the decision and said it won't reopen a search for a new location. 

Here's the statement in full:

After much thought and deliberation, we've decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term. While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, 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.

We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion—we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture—and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have worked tirelessly on behalf of New Yorkers to encourage local investment and job creation, and we can't speak positively enough about all their efforts. The steadfast commitment and dedication that these leaders have demonstrated to the communities they represent inspired us from the very beginning and is one of the big reasons our decision was so difficult.

We do not intend 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 U.S. and Canada.

Thank you again to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and the many other community leaders and residents who welcomed our plans and supported us along the way. We hope to have future chances to collaborate as we continue to build our presence in New York over time.


A few thoughts:

  • First, there will be more than a few disappointed property buyers in Long Island City.
  • There were valid concerns about what happened in Seattle can happen in New York given a strain on infrastructure and lack of affordability.
  • For Amazon, a prolonged battle didn't make sense when it can hire the sales, engineering and developer talent in New York with existing facilities. And an ongoing battle with local officials is a distraction. 
  • The bigger win for Amazon is the Virginia build out due to proximity to government contracts for Amazon Web Services and Nashville, which is close to key transportation hubs.  

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