Amazon scraps $2.5bn New York HQ plan amid local outcry

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="">Amazon scraps $2.5bn New York HQ plan amid local outcry</a>

Amazon has abruptly scrapped a plan to build a new second headquarters in New York that would have created 25,000 jobs.

The online retail giant, which is based in Seattle, had chosen a site in Long Island City after a well-publicised search process lasting several months.

It blamed the U-turn on local opposition over $2.8bn of incentives promised to it by politicians, saying it did not see consistently "positive, collaborative" relationships with state and local officials.

The company, which had planned to spend $2.5bn building the office, said in a blog post: "We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion - we love New York."

The process for choosing the site had seen rival locations encouraged to offer tax cuts and grants to Amazon.

It concluded in November when the company announced that it would split the new headquarters between New York and Arlington, Virginia.

Announcing the decision not to proceed with the New York site, Amazon said it did not plan to look for a new location and will continue with its plans for Arlington, also set to create 25,000 jobs.

The cancellation is a blow to New York state governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely for the project.

Activists had objected to the tax breaks offered to a company run by the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, and also feared higher rents and congestion.

But supporters argued it would transform the neighbourhood into a hi-tech hub and spur economic growth that would pay for the incentives to Amazon many times over.

Mr Cuomo said after Amazon's decision to pull out that a small group of politicians campaigning against the move had "put their own narrow political interests" above those of New Yorkers.

But Mr de Blasio blamed the company for failing to address local criticism.

"Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity," he said.

US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an opponent of the project, cheered the reversal by the world's third most valuable public company.

She (Munich: SOQ.MU - news) wrote on Twitter (Frankfurt: A1W6XZ - news) : "Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbours defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world."