Amazon HQ protesters roll in to Queens bookstore
Amazon announced Thursday morning it won’t be building an HQ2 headquarters in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, New York, after all. So does that put Miami back in the running for the coveted second headquarters, awarded late last year to Northern Virginia and New York?
That’s unknown. But officials in Miami — which made Amazon’s shortlist of 20 possible locations during the search — said they remain as interested as ever in bringing the company here.
A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Miami-Dade’s economic development agency, said agency officials have reached out to Amazon in the wake of the planned New York pullout — which Amazon foreshadowed last week — but did not provide further details.
“Expansions of [HQ2’s] scope are impacted by many variables; we have made it clear that should Amazon want to re-engage, they will be welcomed as was demonstrated during their site visit last year,” Beacon Council president and CEO Mike Finney said in a statement.
Amazon had promised New York 25,000 jobs, with state officials projecting increased revenues of $27 billion, in exchange for an approximately $3 billion incentive package from state and local governments. The Beacon Council has not yet executed a Sunshine Law information request filed by the Miami Herald asking what South Florida had offered Amazon in its HQ2 bid.
A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county remains ready to work with Amazon should the company want to set up shop in South Florida.
“With Amazon’s official decision to not build its second headquarters in New York, we remain confident that Miami-Dade, as the Gateway to the Americas, offers an ideal location for HQ2. We have the talent, technology and low taxes that would serve Amazon’s needs, if they chose to re-engage,” he said.
A spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis did not respond to a request for comment about whether Tallahassee planned to pursue Amazon.
In a statement posted to its website Thursday morning, Amazon said that despite polls showing support for the New York expansion, “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 we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
Amazon says it doesn’t intend to reopen the search for a new HQ2 location at this time. It said it would still move forward on plans to open new offices in Northern Virginia and Nashville. The Seattle Times reported Thursday the company plans to sprinkle the 25,000 employees planned for New York across its existing 17 U.S. offices, a group that does not currently include any South Florida locations.
Amazon faced a wave of local opposition in Queens over fears that the move would drive up real estate prices and divert state and local funding from other causes. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez, D-N.Y., whose district abuts the proposed site, had criticized the deal, tweeting in December that she opposed “public funds to be funding freebie helipads for Amazon + robber baron billionaires, all while NYCHA and public schools go underfunded & mom+pops get nowhere near that kind of a break.” On Feb. 4, New York State Democrats named a fierce Amazon opponent to a state board that would have had the power to scuttle the deal. Amazon had not yet purchased any land for its proposed Queens office.