Amazon May Still Expand in NYC After HQ2 Temper Tantrum: Report

Illustration for article titled Amazon May Still Expand in NYC After HQ2 Temper Tantrum: Report
Photo: Patrick Semansky (AP)

Well, well, well! It looks like after Amazon’s hilariously dramatic exit from its plans to build its HQ2 facilities in Long Island City, Amazon may be coming to New York after all. The New York Post reported Monday that the company is allegedly exploring office space on Manhattan’s West Side. Big if true, as the kids say.


In an event that saw the very public meltdown of Andrew “Amazon” Cuomo earlier this year, Amazon—amid outcry over the nearly $3 billion incentive package the city promised to the company to bring its campus to Queens—pulled out of the project and left the city officials who championed it high and dry. But citing unnamed sources, the Post reported that Amazon is looking into space in One Manhattan West, forthcoming space in Two Manhattan West, as well as space in the James A. Farley building, a landmark U.S. Postal Service property. All three properties are located just west of New York’s Pennsylvania Station.

Amazon is looking, according to a “well-placed” source who spoke to the Post, to secure “at least 100,000 square feet or much more” for the office space. To be clear, sucking up space in a high rise is not the same as the tens of thousands of jobs Amazon was expected to bring to the city with its project in Long Island City—its NYC HQ2 was expected to span over 4 million square feet—and Amazon already has over 5,000 employees in the area. But if Amazon does indeed plan to grow its presence in the city, it would be a remarkable move for a company that just months ago essentially threw a fit over political push-back against the company’s corporate greed.

Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment, but a spokesperson told the Post that it doesn’t “comment on rumors or speculation.”

At the time Amazon pulled out of the HQ2 campus plans, the company in a statement said “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.” One of the project’s most vocal critics included Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who criticized Amazon’s massive tax breaks and the ripple effects that its campus would have on the Queens community.

The Post’s sources reportedly said this rumored exploration of Manhattan office space was an apparent jab at Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians who criticized the company’s corporate handouts in the deal. But as the paper rightly noted, office space doesn’t completely transform an entire neighborhood the way that HQ2 would have. Even if Amazon views a presence on the island as some kind of petty “fuck you” to its political enemies, it’s still coming in sans subsidy deal. So quite frankly, that’s kind of a weak-ass clapback if it is intended to read that way.

You know what is a good clapback though? MacKenzie Bezos making her ex-husband look like a greedy asshole on the world’s stage.



Serolf Divad

It’s depressing how little people seemed to care about the tax subsidies. I mean, let’s say you’re the owner of a small chain of grocery stores in New York. Now suddenly one of the biggest companies in the world, owner of Whole Foods gets a $3 billion dollar handout to help put you out of business. Why aren’t you screaming bloody murder? Why isn’t the local chamber of commerce fighting on your behalf? This reminds me of the early days of e-tailing when business groups were adamant in opposing sales taxes on internet commerce, even though the lack of such taxes gave these virtual entities a huge advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers. Why did the brick-and-mortar guys not push for sales-tax parity? In the end, they slit their own throats, and now he have the retail apocalypse.