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Amazon Pullout Sent 'Shockwaves' Through Business Community, BCW Says

Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.
Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Amazon’s surprising decision to pull out of their deal to construct a new headquarters in New York, bringing thousands of jobs, has “sent shockwaves through the business community,” in Westchester, officials said.

The company announced on Thursday that it is has scrapped plans to construct their headquarters on Long Island City, despite the overwhelming support from New Yorkers looking forward to the online retailer setting up shop in the area.

Amazon said that they will not seek an alternate destination, and will instead concentrate their efforts on the planned campus in northern Virginia.

“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,” the company said in a statement. "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.”

The backlash following the announcement has been swift, with some politicians lauding the chain of events, while other officials have lashed out at Amazon and those who pushed them away.

“(The) stunning announcement by Amazon that it is canceling plans to build its

new headquarters in New York City has sent shockwaves throughout the business community.

Faced with mounting opposition from some local elected officials and community groups,

Amazon has pulled the plug on what promised to be an economic windfall for the entire region,’ Business Council of Westchester Vice President John Ravitz said in a statement. “We all imagined the endless possibilities for economic growth.”

Ravitz said that the BCW had formed a working group that was to meet with Amazon officials to promote “all that Westchester County has to offer - from its highly-educated workforce to its optimal location as housing for Amazon employees.” The new HQ2 was expected to create between 25,000 and 40,000 jobs in the area.

“Beyond being a huge loss for the entire region, Amazon's exit sets a terrible precedent for other corporations looking to relocate or expand here. We do not want to send the message to these companies that they are not welcome,” he added. “This perception is something that we will now have to work even harder to dispel.”

Reports first surfaced last week that the online retail giant was potentially backing out of its planned New York venture. Although the company had the support of area residents, some politicians have derided Amazon, who have been critical of the project and its nearly $2 billion in incentives cities agreed to provide in exchange for an estimated 25,000 well-paid jobs.

"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,” the company said in its statement. “There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.”

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