“They assumed their consumer popularity translated into a free ticket to gentrify and instead got their lunch handed to them,” a non-profit exec said.
By Steven Overly, David Glambusso and Dana Rubinstein | Politico
Amazon thought it had locked down support for a new headquarters in Queens, New York by wooing a feuding mayor and governor. What it failed to anticipate was how the neighborhood’s politics would sweep it up in the growing split between establishment Democrats and the party’s insurgent progressive wing.
The e-commerce giant on Thursday abandoned development of an HQ2 in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, a stunning reversal after announcing the project to great fanfare just a few months ago following a more than year-long national search.
The company had secured the backing of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, two normally fractious Democrats who put aside their political rivalry to support Amazon’s bid and its promise of 25,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in investment. But Amazon wasn’t prepared for the groundswell of opposition by progressives, who criticized the idea of giving $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to one of the world’s biggest companies, headed by the world’s wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos. They also worried that Amazon’s arrival would burden local transit and worsen the scarcity of affordable housing.
“I can’t imagine any Arizona Municipalities passing up such an extraordinary opportunity! These big deals are always hard, but you give and take and find a way to yes. The failure of this really speaks to the importance of having the right people in the room with the patience to deal with the politics that comes along with complicated projects”