Suffice it to say, February has not been Jeff Bezos’ month. On top of an embroiled battle with The National Enquirer—more of that later—reports have now surfaced that Amazon is reconsidering its plans to build a new corporate campus—aka HQ2—in New York City, after opposition from local politicians and community members.
The Washington Post broke the story citing two sources “familiar with the company’s thinking.”
A source told The Post: “The question is whether it's worth it if the politicians in New York don't want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming."
Unlike expansion projects in Virginia, where local politicians have already passed incentive packages for a separate headquarters facility; and Nashville, Tennessee, which approved $15.2 million in road, sewer, and other improvements in anticipation of a new Amazon facility, New York has not been nearly as welcoming.
Final approval for the New York HQ from New York state is not expected until 2020. The online retail giant, the article stated, has yet to lease or purchase any sites in relation to the project.
Virginia has already authorized up to $750 million in state subsidies for Amazon's Arlington headquarters. New York City Council members, state Senate nominees, and other key officials, including freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose district borders the proposed Amazon site, have all voiced opposition to the project.
Upon completion, Amazon’s New York HQ2 was expected to bring 25,000 jobs to the New York City area. No concrete plans for an exit have been made yet, though the Post and others have speculated that Amazon may move to another New York state locale or move out of state.
“We always welcome more great jobs to the commonwealth,” Stephen Moret, Chief Executive of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the state’s top Amazon negotiator, told the Post.
As mentioned earlier, news of the New York conundrum comes at the same time as Amazon Founder and the Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos battles against what he alleges is “extortion and blackmail” on the part of American Media Inc. (AMI)—the parent company of The National Enquirer.
In a post on Medium entitled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” Bezos outlined the way in which AMI Chair, President, and CEO David Pecker approached Bezos and his lawyer Gavin de Becker and threatened to publish salacious photographs obtained from text messages in exchange for weakening Washington Post investigations into AMI and its connection to Donald Trump in alleged misconduct leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
“In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we 'have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces,'” Bezos wrote.
Bezos concluded his post: “These communications cement AMI’s long-earned reputation for weaponizing journalistic privileges, hiding behind important protections, and ignoring the tenets and purpose of true journalism. Of course I don’t want personal photos published, but I also won’t participate in their well-known practice of blackmail, political favors, political attacks, and corruption. I prefer to stand up, roll this log over, and see what crawls out.”
Will this feud affect Amazon’s grocery goals? And where will HQ2 plans land? Deli Market News will continue to report.