Report: Amazon Is Reconsidering Bringing HQ2 To Long Island City
In the face of intense opposition to its planned New York City headquarters, Amazon executives are reportedly considering backing out of the company's plan to bring tens of thousands of workers to Queens.
Executives at the company have been having internal discussions to re-examine the New York City deal and to look at potential alternatives, the Washington Post reports, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the company’s thinking.
“The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” a source told the paper.
There is no concrete plan to halt the deal, according to the Post, but New York City is not expected to give final approval on the incentive package until 2020 — and even that is far from certain.
Amazon’s plan to bring 25,000 workers to Long Island City has been met with great enthusiasm from many, who expect it will secure the city’s future as a tech hub. But some officials and community members see it as corporate giveaway.
Although announced with much fanfare last year, it is not a done deal. Both sides could pull out, and Amazon has reportedly not yet closed on a piece of land that it needs to build its campus, which could be as large as 8M SF.
While the company has not signed a lease, it has signed a letter of intent to lease up to 1M SF at One Court Square, where 1,100 Citigroup employees are already preparing to leave.
Long Island City Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin told Bisnow Friday there has been no indication the deal is off.
“I just saw Amazon folks yesterday,” she said. “Everybody seems to be really excited about New York."
Amazon has been working to make over its image in the city lately, but still subtly reminded people at a City Council hearing last week that it can always change course. Executives have reportedly complained privately about the chilly welcome it has received in the city.
“We were invited to come to New York, and we want to invest in a community that wants us,” Amazon Vice President for Public Policy Brian Huseman said during the hearing. He added that the company wants to be “part of the growth of a community where our employees and our company are welcome.”
“I think it would be a real mistake for our elected officials not to do everything within their power to make sure Amazon feels comfortable coming to Long island City,” said Barone Management founder Scott Barone, a lifelong Queens resident who is developing a 175K SF project with a school, office and industrial space across the street from the proposed Amazon site in Anable Basin.
“A few noisy voices should not spoil the deal that is overwhelming[ly] positive for New York as [a] whole and Queens specifically," he said. "Obviously something this big is challenging and scary, and needs to be planned carefully, but there is no reason that it shouldn’t be able to benefit all New Yorkers — and most specifically, the residents of Queens.”