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Amazon’s cancellation of HQ2 in New York hailed as success for activists



Following opposition from local politicians and residents, Amazon has officially canceled its plans to open a new headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York, the company announced Thursday.

The decision is being perceived by some as a sign that the public controversy surrounding Amazon’s plan has been successful in driving the retail giant out of New York.

Amazon announced in November that it had chosen New York City and Arlington, Virginia as the locations for its new headquarters, bringing 25,000 new jobs to each city. But the retail giant has been met with stark opposition since making the announcement, with locals staging protests at the company’s bookstore on Manhattan’s 34th street and areas near the site where Amazon planned to build its campus. New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson and member Jimmy Van Bramer have been particularly vocal about their opposition to Amazon’s plan.

Much of the backlash stems from the notion that Amazon would receive close to $3 billion in tax breaks, but potential rent hikes also likely posed a notable concern for locals. In April, before Amazon had confirmed plans to open a new office in New York, Zillow conducted an analysis suggesting that renters’ costs could increase by more than $200 annually relative to the real estate site’s base in the two cities Amazon chose.

Following the announcement, many onlookers — from New York and elsewhere — took to Twitter to applaud the role that local activism may have played in Amazon’s decision to pull out.

In its statement, Amazon said it decided to scrap plans to open up a New York campus because “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.” The company also said it does not plan to reopen its search for a new headquarters at this time and will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville.

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