Amazon says it has signed a lease for a new office space in Manhattan to house more than 1,500 Workers
Amazon has signed a lease for a new office space in Manhattan which will house more than 1,500 workers, less than a year after pulling out of a deal to get a larger headquarters in the borough of Queens after politicians and activists objected to almost $3 billion in incentives.
The new office almost immediately renewed a debate over whether the tax breaks and other incentives were excessive, given the likelihood that Amazon would continue to expand in nyc regardless due to the city’s large talent pool. The online retail giant received no incentives for its new 335,000-square-foot complex in a building near Hudson Yards, a high-end residential and commercial development on the west side in midtown Manhattan.
Amazon said the new office will open in 2021 and will house employees from its customer and advertising teams. The Seattle-based firm already has 3,500 workers in other New York offices, and the headquarters for its subsidiary Audible is in nearby Newark, New Jersey.
“As we discussed earlier this year, we intend to continue to engage and expand organically across our 18 tech hubs, such as New York City,” the firm said in an e-mailed statement.
Amazon dropped plans this year to construct a $2.5 billion campus at the Queens area of Long Island City which was projected to attract 25,000 new jobs over 15 years. The company had selected Long Island City for one of two new headquarters after a fierce bidding war among over 200 metropolitan regions that Amazon itself had stoked. The city and state had offered $2.8 billion in incentives which included $1.5 billion in tax breaks and grants, and a helipad near the new offices.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had lashed out at politicians and activists whose effort helped unravel the Queens job, saying it threatened to undermine New York City’s development as technology hub. Critics of the incentives bundle immediately cited Amazon’s newest corporate rental to assert those fears were unfounded.
“Amazon is coming to New York, just as they always planned. Luckily, we dodged a $3 billion bullet by not agreeing with their subsidy shakedown earlier this season,” New York state Sen. Michael Gianaris said in a statement.
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, pushed back against that response, asserting that the new office isn’t similar to a Amazon headquarters, both in the amount of jobs it would bring and since Long Island City wouldn’t find any of the advantages.
“People suggesting otherwise are being willfully ignorant or simply ignorant,” DeRosa said.
Mayor Bill DeBlasio had blamed Amazon for pulling out of this deal prematurely. His office did so again Saturday, while lamenting that Long Island City had dropped out on Amazon’s growth plans.
“Amazon could not take the heat and did not need to work in good faith with New Yorkers. Now, New York is becoming just a portion of the jobs and Queens is becoming none of the advantages,” stated Jane Meyer, a spokeswoman for the mayor.
Before the deal unraveled, specialists said Amazon’s selection of New York City underscored that its principal concern in regards to expansion is access to gift at a time of fierce competition for computer programmers, mobile app developers, data scientists and cybersecurity specialists. The business is continuing with its plans to create a different headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. which is also a emerging technology hub.
New York has a flourishing start-up scene, and large tech companies are already rapidly expanding their presence in town. Facebook announced a deal last month to rent 1.5 million square feet of office space in Hudson Yards. Google and Instagram also have opened new offices lately.
“Utimately, what Amazon wants is qualified technician talent and that is why it must be in New York,” stated Joe Parilla, a fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute.
Still, Parilla said that the massive incentive package was targeted at luring Amazon to one of New York’s outer boroughs, which have not profited from the technology boom such as Manhattan has.
“Everyone who had been pushing for this investment known that New York would be fine either way all around. Within that context, they had been attempting to make a more precise argument, which is that Long Island City wasn’t reaping the benefits,” Parilla said.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who represents a Queens district near Long Island City, said officials were supplying expensive incentives in exchange for a guarantee of jobs which weren’t guaranteed.
“The 25,000 jobs figure was a 10-20 year dream… from Amazon, not a promise or agreement,” Ocasio-Cortez stated in a tweet.
She added that the 1,500 new jobs Amazon is currently adding”are for FREE.”
Associated Press writer Karen Matthews in New York contributed to this story.