The report, which cited unnamed sources, said Amazon executives have had discussions recently to rethink the company’s plans for New York and consider alternatives.
“We’re focused on engaging with our new neighbors — small business owners, educators, and community leaders,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be.”
If Amazon is reconsidering its Long Island City campus, it’s not telling close partners on the project.
“We talk with the folks from Amazon all the time,” says Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership, the local economic development organization. “As far as they say to us, everything is great, they’re excited about New York, they’re working hard to get to know the community and move things along.”
The relatively unknown board weighs in on any financing and land use deals that run through public authorities, which primarily include economic development projects. It’s had some success in the past blocking major projects.
On Friday, Cuomo reacted angrily when asked during a pre-planned, unrelated news conference about the possibility that Amazon might bail on New York.
“For the state Senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice,” Cuomo said. “And if they stop Amazon from coming to New York, they’re going to have the people of New York State to explain it to. It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy.”
Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who helped craft the HQ2 deal behind closed doors, expressed confidence that Amazon would still come to the city.
“The mayor fully expects Amazon to deliver on its promise to New Yorkers,” said his spokesman Eric Phillips in a statement.
“I think it’s really encouraging to show that government and all of us primarily have a responsibility to the communities that we directly impact,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN on Friday. “When we don’t consult with those communities, we absolutely need to reconsider those deals and that process.”
“If the Amazon deal falls apart, they will have nobody to blame but themselves,” said Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “New Yorkers wont be bullied by Jeff Bezos, and if Amazon is unwilling to respect workers and communities they will never be welcome in New York City.”
Among other things, Amazon said it would hire from “across the five boroughs,” offer career training for local residents and bring in over $27 billion in state and local tax revenue that can help “improve subways and buses.”
If the deal does fall through, some fear it could have broader repercussions on New York’s ability to attract top corporations. “It’s setting a bad precedent,” Carlo Scissura, president and CEO, New York Building Congress, told CNN Business on Friday. “This is getting the business community very worried about the future of New York. “