Ama­zon ex­plor­ing po­ten­tial al­ter­na­tives to New York HQ


Ama­ Inc is ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tives to lo­cat­ing part of its new head­quar­ters in New York in case the plan should fail due to lo­cal op­po­si­tion, a per­son briefed on the mat­ter told Reuters on Fri­day.

The on­line re­tailer has not yet ac­quired any land for the project, which would make it easy to scrap its plans, the source said. The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported the story ear­lier on Fri­day.

The per­son briefed on the mat­ter said that Ama­zon was still work­ing to­ward win­ning ap­proval from New York of­fi­cials and had not given up on the pro­posal, but was con­sid­er­ing po­ten­tial al­ter­na­tives to New York.

Ear­lier, the Post, which is owned by Ama­zon Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Be­zos, re­ported that Ama­zon ex­ec­u­tives had had in­ter­nal dis­cus­sions to re­assess the sit­u­a­tion in New York and ex­plore al­ter­na­tives. It cited two un­named peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the re­tailer’s think­ing.

In a state­ment on Fri­day, Ama­zon said it was work­ing to en­gage with New York­ers, but did not dis­cuss whether it would change its plans.

“We’re fo­cused on en­gag­ing with our new neigh­bours - small busi­ness own­ers, ed­u­ca­tors, and com­mu­nity lead­ers,” it said. “Whether it’s build­ing a pipe­line of lo­cal jobs through work­force train­ing or fund­ing com­puter sci­ence classes for thou­sands of New York City stu­dents, we are work­ing hard to demon­strate what kind of neigh­bour we will be.”

Ama­zon shares closed down 1.6 per­cent on Fri­day.

In Novem­ber, Ama­zon said it would branch out from its home base in Seat­tle with plans to cre­ate more than 25,000 jobs in two new de­vel­op­ments.

The world’s largest on­line re­tailer plans to spend $5 bil­lion on the de­vel­op­ments in Long Is­land City in New York’s Queens bor­ough, and in Ar­ling­ton, Vir­ginia, near Wash­ing­ton, D.C, and ex­pects to get more than $2 bil­lion in tax cred­its and in­cen­tives with plans to ap­ply for more.

Ama­zon has mailed fly­ers to Queens res­i­dents tout­ing the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of its New York ex­pan­sion.

But some res­i­dents in the rapidly trans­form­ing Long Is­land City neigh­bour­hood across the East River from mid town Man­hat­tan’s sky­scrapers have loudly op­posed Ama­zon’s plan. They say they fear more crowded sub­way sta­tions, an over­bur­dened sewage sys­tem and rent in­creases that would drive out long-time res­i­dents.

“I would be happy not to have them,” said Terri Gloyd, the co-owner of the LIC Cor­ner Cafe. “I think most of the neigh­bour­hood hasn’t wanted them here.” She said her neigh­bours may have given the prospect of Ama­zon a warmer wel­come had the sub­sidy pack­age not been so large.

A critic of the plan, Queens law­maker Se­na­tor Michael Gia­naris, was ap­pointed to a state se­nate panel that has the power to block Ama­zon’s cam­pus, lo­cal me­dia in­clud­ing the New York Times have re­ported.

City coun­cil speaker Corey John­son told lo­cal ra­dio he is look­ing at sub­si­dies for Ama­zon and that the plan is not yet fi­nal. One point of con­tention could be Ama­zon’s op­po­si­tion to labour unions.

U.S. Con­gress­woman Alexan­dria Oca­sio- Cortez, whose district spans parts of Queens and the Bronx, has also crit­i­cised Ama­zon.

Oca­sio- Cortez tweeted a link to the Post story on Fri­day and said: “Can ev­ery­day peo­ple come to­gether and ef­fec­tively or­gan­ise against creep­ing over­reach of one of the world’s big­gest cor­po­ra­tions? Yes, they can.”

In one sign of op­po­si­tion, artists spray-painted Ama­zon’s logo — spelled “AMAZNO” — on streets near the pro­posed site.

In a state­ment on Fri­day, Ama­zon said it was work­ing to en­gage with New York­ers, but did not dis­cuss whether it would change its plans

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