Amazon has cancelled its plans to build a sprawling new campus in New York after facing a backlash from local leaders and community members.
In a statement to media outlets on Thursday, Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth said that, “after much thought and deliberation,” the firm has decided not to move forward with the new headquarters.
“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,” the statement read (via CNET).
After a yearlong search and out of 200 potential sites, Amazon had originally selected Long Island City, Queens as one of two locations where it would build a pair of 25,000-employee corporate campuses (Arlington, Virginia was the other).
But the potential New York campus quickly received a steady and sustained backlash from local elected officials, union supporters, and citizens.
Many blasted the fact that public subsidies and taxpayer-funded incentives were being used to entice a wealthy technology giant to come to the city. Others took to the streets to point out the already steep cost of living in gentrified neighborhoods — a situation that many believed an HQ2 would intensify.
Some elected officials, like freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, took Amazon’s decision as a victory for the local community and a win for grassroots progressivism.
But Amazon’s retreat came as a blow to other local leaders like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had set aside their differences to help bring Amazon to New York.
Proponents of the HQ2 campus in Queens, like New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, noted that New York was losing out on more than 20,000 jobs and “hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments.”
Reportedly, Amazon leadership made the decision to pull out of New York on Wednesday, sources told The New York Times. They didn’t inform Gov. Cuomo or Mayor de Blasio until shortly before the official announcement.
Amazon noted that it will continue with its plans to build a corporate campus in Northern Virginia, but added that it has no current plans to reopen a new HQ2 search.