Updated below with Amazon’s statement.
Amazon is having second thoughts about plans to build a massive office in New York City, according to a new report from The Washington Post.
The company has held internal meetings to assess the situation in New York, where elected officials, labor leaders, and community activists are mounting a resistance to the project, two anonymous sources told The Post.
In November, Amazon announced it would split its vaunted second headquarters between Queens, New York and the Northern Virginia suburb bordering Washington D.C. The company is eligible for up to $3 billion in incentives in New York, one of the key concerns of those opposed to the deal.
Amazon did not immediately respond to GeekWire’s request to comment.
The situation in New York: An organized opposition movement scored a victory this week when one of Amazon’s most vocal foes was named to an oversight board with the authority to torpedo the deal. New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has organized protests and relentlessly criticized the Amazon deal, could vote to overturn it if his appointment is confirmed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Meanwhile in the Capitol: Amazon has received a far warmer welcome in the D.C. area, where officials approved $750 million in subsidies after just nine minutes of deliberation. The contrast between the two cities isn’t lost on Amazon. One official told The Post Amazon wonders “whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia … have been so welcoming.”
Yes, but: It’s possible that Amazon floated this news to put pressure on New York officials to see the deal through. It isn’t clear how serious Amazon is about pulling out of New York. Amazon has threatened to slow growth before, briefly halting construction on multiple office towers in its hometown of Seattle amid the contentious debate over a so-called “head tax” on big employers.
What comes next: Amazon’s future in New York hinges on whether Cuomo, a key player in landing the project, approves Gianaris’s appointment to the oversight board. The board is set to meet later this month. If Amazon does pull out of New York, the company could double down on its Seattle and Northern Virginia offices or explore a third location. Amazon chose New York and the D.C. area from a list of 20 finalist cities across the country.
Update 10:45 a.m. Amazon issued the following statement about its plans in New York:
“We’re focused on engaging with our new neighbors – small business owners, educators, and community leaders. Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be.”
Update 4:35 p.m. Two anonymous sources with direct knowledge of Amazon’s thinking told the New York Times that The Washington Post story went too far. They said Amazon has no plans to back out of the New York deal.