Amazon pulls out of New York City — but says it is not reopening HQ2 search

By Tom Bergeron
Newark | Feb 14, 2019 at 12:08 pm
Updated

In a stunning announcement, Amazon said Thursday afternoon that it is pulling out of New York City, which had been awarded one half of the company’s coveted 50,000-job second headquarters.

It is unclear if Newark, a finalist for the HQ2 project, will benefit from the announcement.

Amazon, in a release, said it is not reopening its search and will move ahead with two other parts of the project, in Northern Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee.

Northern Virginia and New York City were both given parts of the enormous HQ2 project last November. Nashville was only slated to be a regional distribution center.

Opposition to Amazon’s plans to move to Long Island City, Queens, has been steady since the November announcement.

Last week, the company said it was considering pulling out of the plan.

Newark officials, who could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday, told ROI-NJ last week that they are ready and eager to take any part of the headquarters project.

New Jersey officials also said the state had not stop courting Amazon — clearly hopeful for an announcement like the one that came Thursday.

Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement later in the day:

“After learning of the decision to pull out of their chosen HQ2 location, I contacted Amazon and city of Newark stakeholders directly, continuing a constant dialogue that predates my time as governor. New Jersey is open for business, and now more than ever, Newark is the clear choice as the next presence for Amazon corporate offices. Amazon now has the opportunity to join in Newark’s story of a city on the rise.”

Here is the full release by Amazon:

“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 percent 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 Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo, Mayor (Bill) de Blasio, and their staffs, who so enthusiastically and graciously invited us to build in New York City and supported us during the process. Gov. 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 Gov. 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.”

Read more from ROI-NJ: