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Amazon pulls the plug on the capital of New York City



(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc suddenly broke up plans to build a headquarters in New York after opposition from local politicians and some of their wild neighbors, said the third most valuable US firm on Thursday.

The Amazon search for a second headquarters, as described as HQ2, was considered a massive, year-long PR success, and provided worldwide publicity and interest from cities across the United States and Canada.

Accustomed to fawning advances from municipal leaders around the country, Amazon seemed frightened by the wrath, even rude, welcomed it came from some New Yorkers.

Some residents of the Queens neighborhood mounted protests. Politicians from the left wing of the Democratic Party, including the US Presidential Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were confirmed the state's promise to give the company, controlled by the world's richest man, billions of dollars in fiscal error.

People informed about the decision that Amazon had made the decision early Thursday after intense talks that started Wednesday and among growing concerns about the small vocal minority. People said that Amazon will not shift any of the scheduled jobs to Tennessee or Virginia, but plans to grow its existing network of sites.

Amazon had planned to have 700 employees in New York as part of the HQ2 project by the end of the year, and did not plan to beat 25,000 in Queens for 1

0 years.

The company had begun to consider options last week. The online retailer has not yet received any land for the project, which will make it easy to scratch their plans, says one person on the case to Reuters on Friday.

The proposal resisted opposition from local politicians who opposed $ 2.8 billion in incentives promised to Amazon in a deal secretly negotiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In a statement, they blamed Blasio Amazon for not having received local criticism.

"We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the largest city in the world," he said. "Instead of collaborating with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity."

The company said, "For Amazon, the commitment to building a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with government and local elected officials who will be supportive over long-term." In the neighborhood, once a scruffy haunt of artists who have quickly become gentrified with an outbreak of recent high-rise, had also opposed the plan.

Long-term farmers feared to be forced out of rising rents and unsustainable pressure on already overloaded subways and sewage systems.

Cuomo was a strong lawyer for the project and joked that he would rename Amazon Cuomo if it could help the sweets. He not only spied the job it would create, but the long-term tax revenue it would generate.

Mark Hamrick, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said that the turn could scare other companies thinking of expanding into New York.

"This is a fantastic development, with Amazon mainly giving in to vocal critics," he said.

Amazon said Thursday it was not going to reopen the year-long search that ran 238 suggestions from cities across North America.

Amazon logo is on the door of an Amazon Books store in New York City, USA, February 14, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

Nashville, a finalist awarded a $ 5,000 Personalized Consolation Prize, said it remained open to an expansion of Amazon's plans in Tennessee.

Shares of Amazon were down 0.5 percent.

"I think the PR event turned out to be a mistake," says Jason Benowitz, senior portfolio manager at Roosevelt Investment Group, who owns Amazon shares.

"It went on too long and started a frenzy. You can compare this with Google that sinks billions of dollars into the Chelsea area of ​​Manhattan without noise or Apple invests in Austin."

Rival Alphabet Incs Google December, plans to invest more than $ 1 billion on a new campus in New York will double its current position of more than 7,000 people.

REALLY GOOD POKER PLAYERS & # 39;

Hours before the announcement, Amazon officials in New York defended no knowledge of the agreement's cancellation when they met community members on Thursday morning, said Kenny Greenberg, a neon artist and member of Long Island City's community card.

"They're really good poker players, or they didn't realize it," Greenberg said of the Amazon representatives. "There was no idea this at all."

Greenberg said he had been open for Amazon's arrival if it had led to improvements in infrastructure, but that "unanswered questions" continued to mount as time went on.

The meeting with Amazon officials had been held to respond to community concerns about working conditions for Amazon's warehouses and delivery workers and the company's opposition to unions.

Slideshow (7 Images)

"Combating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is a triumph that should change the way we make economic development agreements in our city and state forever," Jimmy Van Bramer, a city councilor from Queens who had the opposite project, said on Twitter.

One of the city's most powerful private unions, Retail, Wholesale and the Department Store Union, said the company's sudden departure confirmed its criticism.

"Instead of addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers, Amazon says you are doing it our way or not, we will not even consider New York's concerns," said Union Spokeswoman Chelsea Connor in a statement "It is not what a responsible business would do."

Chicago, Miami and Newark are among the finalists who have expressed interest in another chance to become the home of an Amazon project.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jonathan Allen in New York; Further reporting by Dan Trotta and Joseph Ax in New York, Nandita Bose in Washington, Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Nick Zieminski

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles .

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