Jonathan O & # 39; Connell
Reporter covering economic development focusing on commercial property and the Trump organization
Reporter covering government, politics and other regional issues in Arlington County and Alexandria  8. February at 11:39 am
Amazon.com is reworking the plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City following a wave of opposition from local politicians, according to two people familiar with the company's thinking.  The company has not rented or purchased office space for the project, making it easy to withdraw its engagement. Unlike in Virginia – where the elected leaders quickly passed an incentive package for their own headquarters – final approval from New York State by 2020 is not expected.
Tennessee officials have also embraced Amazon's plans to bring 5000 works for Nashville, which this week approved $ 15.2 million in road, sewage and other improvements related to this project.
Amazon leaders recently had internal discussions to reassess the situation in New York and explore alternatives, the two people said, talking about the condition of anonymity to speak honestly about the company's perspective.
"The question is whether it is worth it if the politicians in New York do not want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming." said a person familiar with the company's plans.
Hailed as an economic triumph when it was announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and Mayor Bill de Bla sio (D), the project in Queens Island in Long Island City faces critical criticism from some politicians and lawyer groups, appalled by the opportunity to provide gigantic subsidies to the world's most valuable company by his richest man. (Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)
Over the past two weeks, the state's Senate nominated a pronounced Amazon critic for a board where he could potentially veto. Members of the City Council for the second time aggressively challenged corporate leaders at a hearing where activists booed and developed anti-Amazon banners.
Key Persons, including Freshman US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), whose district adjoins the proposed Amazon site, has rallied against the project. And opponents went door-to-door to warn people in Queens about threatening lease and displacement, much as Seattle experienced during the company's explosive growth there.
No concrete plans to leave New York have been made. And it is possible that Amazon would try to use a threat to retire to put pressure on New York officials. However, with a meeting of the state's government control authority and a third agency expectation expected later this month, Amazon leaders can reach an inflection point, the people said.
"I think now, it's time for Amazon to make a decision because it has to start hiring," one person said. "At some point the project is starting to fall behind."
Opposition in New York contrasts with the warm welcome Amazon has received in Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a law on Tuesday that allows up to $ 750 million in state aid to the Arlington headquarters.
Northam and Virginia's other top two state officials, Justin Fairfax (D) and Advocate General Mark R. Herring (D), have been engulfed in recent days by scandals involving years-old behavior . But the two people who are familiar with Amazon's plans say that corporate governance is not concerned with the controversy preventing the project.
It is unclear what Amazon can consider as Plan B if the New York project falls through. It may release the incentive package and employ smaller-scale employees, as competitors, including Google, already do so. Or Amazon can search for another jurisdiction to get some or all of the jobs originally slated for New York.
"We are always welcome to more good jobs for the Commonwealth," said Stephen Moret, chief executive of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the US's top Amazon dealer.
Amazon has hired a lobbying firm and a PR firm in New York and recently announced a "senior community affairs manager" to "focus on developing a positive partnership with local stakeholders, community groups, and nonprofit organizations. "
Asked to comment on the possibility that the New York Agreement could be founded, Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth said:" We are focused on engaging with our new neighbors – small business owners, teachers, and community leaders. Whether it's building a pipeline of local workplaces through workout training or funding of computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we're working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we're going to be. "
New York state and city officials have played down the chances of the deal falling through, pointing out polls that show strong public support for the project, and said Cuomo and de Blasio will fight hard for it. "The Amazon transaction was probably the biggest financial transaction for 50 years in this state," Cuomo said in a recent radio interview. "We're not getting a business to bring 25,000 jobs anymore. I spend hours and days trying to get 100 jobs, 200 jobs. "
But the opposition is well organized and energetic, based in trade unions and community groups. In addition to the Ocasio-Cortez, opponents include the city council Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), chief executive of the city council James G. Van Bramer (D-Queens) and the state Sen. Michael N. Gianaris (D-Queens), who is the Senate's Deputy
Some officials who previously supported luring Amazon to the city have changed their position, partly because they were unhappy that the deal was structured to bypass the City Amazon is eligible for up to $ 1.3 billion in subsidies from two city programs, in addition to the state package and other incentives.
In a significant increase for Amazon opponents, the Senate this week nominated Gianaris for the state government, where he could effectively veto the project, Cuomo has not said whether he will accept Gianari's nomination, but the Senate's action signaled that the governor and the legislature would be in breach of the agreement.
Gianaris and other critics New York fighters portray as a national test for populist forces facing the influence of large corporations, and for the competition in the democratic party between their grass roots and business-friendly wings.
"We are dealing with a time of outstanding corporate power in this country," Gianaris said. "This Amazon agreement represents a tip that will set the stage for what this country will come forward."
Amazon surprised the nation in November by announcing that it would share its much-publicized second headquarters between Arlington and Long Island City, with employees on each site earning an average of more than $ 150,000 a year. Initially, the company said it had planned a single location with all 50,000 jobs.
The divergent responses in New York and Virginia stem from political and economic differences between the two, according to officials and analysts in both places.
New York is a pro-labor city, while Virginia is a judicial state where employees cannot be obliged to join a union as a term of employment.
Amazon has opposed attempts to unite its workforce and said it would do the same in New York. "What Amazon wants to do is come in and change the values of our city," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
New York is also strenuous for the effect of rapid economic growth, while Arlington is eager to attract investment to Crystal City to offset the loss of thousands of federal government jobs there in a Pentagon reorganization that began in 2005.
The community around Long Island City is home to legions of grassroots organizations already unhappy about gentrification and warning that the Amazon's arrival would further increase housing prices. Some flaws also Amazon to sell face recognition technology to law enforcement agencies and collaborate with companies dealing with US immigration and customs prosecution.
The activists have occupied an Amazon store in Manhattan, marched in Albany and demonstrated in the office of Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan (D-Queens), who supports the deal.
"The New York Geography has brought together many threads of activism that were truly ready to respond to this kind of announcement and were particularly furious," said Deborah Axt, co-managing director of Make the Road, an organization of low-income immigrants and color communities.
Northern Virginia, Axt said, "don't quite have the pool of wonderful masters ready to jump into the shooter we're lucky to have here in New York."
Klout to block the deal
Amazon supporters are appalled that local politicians – including Gianaris and Van Bramer – have beaten the agai Almost company.
"Everybody in the municipal council has said for many years that we must emphasize the commercial development of the outskirts and that we want technical jobs in Long Island City," said Stephanie Báez, New York City Economic Development Corp spokesman . "But now we see some of the same local politicians suddenly flipflop in reaction to a small and well-organized group of people."
In Virginia, almost all state and local leaders support the arrival of Amazon, despite the opposition of several progressive groups – Tenants and Workers United, Our Revolution Arlington and some members of Indivisible Arlington – who have arranged small protests at community meetings.
The Arlington County Board puts a final touch on a proposed $ 23 million local venture. package, which is expected to be approved in March or later.
"Most people think this is a great opportunity," said chairman Christian Dorsey (D).
The board presses Amazon to sign a work contract for work that ensures a living salary, proper work classification, and safety standards for anyone employed by contractors and subcontractors.
"They have emphatically not promised anything," board member Erik Gutshall (D) said. "But I didn't realize any of these things were a non-starter."
Residents of the neighborhoods around the Arlington area are concerned about rental increases, spiking property taxes and paralyzing traffic. But neither the or the progressive groups that lobby against the company seem to have enough political complaint to block the deal.
In New York, critics hope that Amazon will tire of spending time and money to fight a fight it had not expected
"As they fight, you push every little thing," said Van Bramer.
This approach was sure to worry about Amazon, whose vice president of politics, Brian Huseman, told the recent city council, "We will invest in a community that wants us."