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Is Amazon reconsidering NY HQ2?

Sources say opposition has the company rethinking its Long Island City campus

Amazon’s search for the location of its second headquarters was a closely followed, year-long saga that had cities across the country vying for the tech giant’s attention.

The company announced in November that it settled on a split situation that would divide its second headquarters between Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City, New York.

But now, it seems Amazon may be rethinking its plans, as opposition from local politicians is proving to be more of a hurdle than the company anticipated.

Sources close to the company told The Washington Post that it’s possible that Amazon may back out of the deal.

“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,” one source said.

Officials in Virginia and in Tennessee – where the company will employ 5,000 in a new Nashville operations center – have embraced Amazon’s plans, while New York politicians have been vocal about the potential negative impact the company’s presence might have on the city.

The backlash has led Amazon execs to hold internal discussions to reassess the move to New York and explore alternatives, sources told the Post.

While New Yok Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have celebrated Amazon’s selection of Long Island City, some politicians and advocacy groups have protested the idea of granting massive subsidies to one of the world’s most profitable companies.

The State Senate recently nominated a vocal Amazon critic to a board, where he may have the ability to veto the deal, the Post said, and at a city council meeting Amazon execs were challenged while activists booed and held anti-Amazon banners.

The Post also said that opponents have been knocking on doors in Queens to talk to residents about the rent hikes and displacement that could happen if Amazon settled in, much like what happened to Seattle as a result of the company’s growth in the area.

“No specific plans to abandon New York have been made. And it is possible that Amazon would try to use a threat to withdraw to put pressure on New York officials,” the Post stated. “But with a meeting of the state’s Public Authorities Control Board and a third City Council hearing expected later this month, Amazon executives may be reaching an inflection point.”

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