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Will Amazon withdraw its headquarters?

Amazon’s decision to build one of its two new HQ2 locations in Long Island City has stirred up a lot of speculation for its impact, both positive and negative, on the city’s future. Now the company may be having second thoughts.

According to the Washington Post, which Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also owns, the company is reconsidering the campus after the opposition it has faced from local politicians. Final approval from New York state is not expected until 2020, so Amazon can withdraw its decision. Sources indicate that Amazon executives have had internal discussions to reassess and explore alternatives.

Political opposition

New York City Council officials have made their opposition known at recent hearings and freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), whose district borders the proposed site, has been vocally against the project. Other advocacy groups have spread the word door-to-door warning residents about potential consequences of the project and have protested the company at the council hearings.

In addition, the New York state Senate recently nominated Sen. Michael N. Gianaris (D-Queens), an outspoken Amazon critic, to the Public Authorities Control Board, where he could veto the deal. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who helped negotiate the deal with Amazon, would have to accept the nomination and has not indicated which way he is considering.

Pressure to decide

A third hearing with the city council is expected later this month. At this hearing, the public will have the opportunity to make comments.

Whatever decision Amazon makes, it will likely need to decide soon, as hiring for the building construction will likely need to begin so the project doesn’t fall behind. Alternative locations for the headquarters are unclear. As the story develops and more hearings occur, we will continue to publish relevant updates.

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