Amazon slaps eject button on New York HQ2

It happened last week in the mess of news and I missed it somehow: Amazon made a shock, but not particularly surprising, announcement that it wouldn't open a New York HQ2 any longer after continued pressure made it unwelcome in the city. Now, there's only one HQ2.

But, this was always inevitable. It was an interesting, if a little brazen, idea, to open a second HQ2 in a big place like New York after it got all of those free benefits from local governments, but it was never part of the original plan. Amazon never needed or wanted to open HQ2 and HQ3 at the same time, which made it all the more easy to cut as resistance crystallized. 

The deal is over, and 25,000 jobs won't come to New York, after it changed position on Valentines' day:

“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,” Amazon said in a statement. The company made its decision late Wednesday, after growing increasingly concerned that the backlash in New York showed no sign of abating and was tarnishing its image beyond the city.

This was always going to happen, but the company was clearly hoping for one thing: to get away with it, and reap the rewards. As soon as legal challenges arrived, the company became less interested, as evidenced by reports that even New York's mayor couldn't get Jeff Bezos on the phone before it was cancelled entirely.

The local pushback was immense, largely because the company would benefit from more than $3 billion in tax benefits, and totally transform local neighborhoods. Even though the jobs might have been a net positive, granting such concessions to a massively profitable conglomerate were controversial at best.

Now what? Well, it's all Virginia, and there's been little to no resistance there. The state needs an Amazon, and will do anything it takes (or whatever the company asks, it seems) to succeed. Will Amazon try to exploit cities again when HQ2.5 rolls around? I'd almost bet on it. But for now, the locals won.


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