After all the histrionics over Amazon ditching plans to build its HQ2 facility in Long Island City, Amazon’s still set on worming its way into the Big Apple because it simply cannot take a hint when it’s not wanted.
This week, the online retail giant signed a lease for 335,000 square feet of office space in the Hudson Yards neighborhood, the Wall Street Journal reported, thus making good on earlier rumors that the company had been actively considering purchasing property on Manhattan’s West Side.
At that square footage, Amazon’s expansion will rival the size of its other corporate New York offices. It’s currently slated for a 2021 opening and will employ more than 1,500 people, the company said in a statement to multiple outlets. And in news that must be music to the ears of Amazon’s vocal New York critics, the company won’t be receiving any tax benefits or government subsidies for the project.
It’ll also likely be among similar company, as another WSJ report Friday purported Facebook is eyeing roughly 700,000 square feet of space in Midtown Manhattan less than a month after announcing it finalized a lease for more than 1.5 million square feet of office space at Hudson Yards. Which should hopefully put to rest concerns among New York’s business community that Amazon abandoning its proposed satellite headquarters in Queens might deter other tech giants from planting their flag in the city.
So, just to run that back: After all that fuss, Amazon’s coming to New York. No billion-dollar incentive package. No ridiculous interstate battle royale to win the site. So while 1,500 jobs may seem like pennies compared to the 25,000 jobs estimated to be created by Amazon’s previous HQ2 project, it’s still significantly less of a middle finger to Manhattan.
Commenting on the recent expansion, one of HQ2's stalwart critics, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted Friday: “Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway - *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways.”
Throwing in a bit of shade at the Trump Administration for good measure, she added that the White House would do well to “focus more on cutting public assistant to billionaires instead of poor families.”
To recap (since 2019 has felt approximately 84 years long), Amazon squashed its plans to build a satellite headquarters back in February because—despite some polls showing New Yorkers were generally in favor of the project—the company encountered vocal opposition from local politicians and a grassroots coalition of local advocates. Among other objections, opponents rebuked the company’s anti-union sentiment, criticized deliberations for being carried out in secret, and balked at the $3 billion in incentives city officials promised the company to bring its campus to Queens.
At the time, Amazon said in a company statement, “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 with the project.”
But I guess as with any rocky break-up, Amazon got over it and moved on. Just not in the literal sense.
Update: 12/7/2019 8:09 p.m. ET:
When asked for comment, an Amazon spokesperson provided the following statement:
“As we shared earlier this year, we plan to continue to hire and grow organically across our 18 Tech Hubs, including New York City. To support this growth, we will open a new office in Manhattan in 2021 that will house more than 1,500 employees from our consumer and advertising teams.”