Amazon cancels plans to create new headquarters in N.Y.


Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Amazon’s proposed HQ2 location in NYC was shut down by local activist groups. The groups argued Amazon would drive the cost of living up, hurting the surrounding New Yorkers.

By Brandon Li and Joe Raab

After publicly revealing the creation of two new headquarter locations in Arlington, Va. and New York City, N.Y., Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced Feb. 14 he will cancel the construction of the NYC location.

Bezos originally planned to have only one HQ2 location, setting up a wild goose chase for numerous states to dish out their multibillion dollar offers. However, he then decided to split the location into two. With Va. and N.Y. chosen as the two finalists, the general consensus was for both headquarters to generate revenue for their respective state and for the company. However, it seems that NYC activists pushed Bezos’s hand, forcing him to drop his plans for that location.

“I understand the concerns of the people in the NYC area,” senior Dhilan Shah said. “I also understand that with all of the opportunity and culture a big technology company brings, it also brings changes that can hurt the area.”

With Amazon deciding not to build a headquarter in NYC, it results in the loss of 25,000 high-paying jobs; each job was rumored to offer a lucrative $150,000 salary per year. Activists in the NYC area claim Amazon would be earning even more revenue through previously unknown tax subsidies, which estimate to nearly $3 billion. Once those activist groups discovered the undisclosed agreements, they rallied together to prevent the construction of the HQ2.

According to a Feb. 14 Washington Post article, multiple activist groups, along with local lawmakers and politically-active citizens, protested together to oppose the headquarter’s inception.

Many NYC residents, more specifically in Queens, where the headquarters would be built, argue the proposed HQ2 would drive up the cost of living, force out low-income residents and overcrowd the already dense streets and subways in the area. One of the most prominent opposers, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted about the situation when Amazon announced that their headquarters would no longer be built in NYC.

“Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her Feb. 14 tweet.

While many oppose the new headquarters, N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the new location, advocating that it would help diversify their economy.

According to Cuomo’s Nov. 2018 op-ed, Amazon would generate approximately $1 billion per year in new revenue. The proposal offered that instead of N.Y. giving Amazon $100 million, Amazon would give N.Y. $900 million.

For Virginians, the addition of such a popular household company is a bit overwhelming but overall exciting. As stated previously, the headquarters will bring around 25,000 jobs that will pay about $150,000 per year. With Arlington placing eighth in Forbes’ 2017 most richest U.S. counties, the proposed HQ2 will likely push Arlington higher up on that list.

According to a Feb. 14 Washington Post article, Amazon decided not to transfer those potential 25,000 jobs from NYC to the Virginia location. Instead, those potential jobs will no longer be created, leaving the Virginia location relatively unaffected.

Amazon will keep the 25,000 jobs in Arlington, Va., along with an additional 5,000 in Nashville, Tenn. They do not intend to build a second HQ2 at another location, meaning they will stick with only one additional headquarter in Va.

For WCHS students, the relatively close Va. location is enticing for college internships and future jobs after graduating. Many students welcome the Va. location with open arms, even though Montgomery County was also in the running for this headquarter.

“I would definitely consider interning at the HQ2 in Virginia,” Shah said. “I wanted them to build the headquarters here because I think it would be cool to have Amazon in the area, which could attract more companies like them to the area.”

The proposed building location, dubbed as National Landing, is roughly a 40 minute drive from WCHS. With the anticipated influx in commuters, traffic in the nation’s capital will certainly increase. However, with WCHS in close proximity of the new HQ2, the job opportunities outweigh the potentially long commute.

“I have always dreamed of working for a Fortune 500 company,” senior Justin Chui said. “With Amazon coming to our area, the potential internship opportunities are exciting because who would not want to work for such a large company like Amazon?”

For Amazon, only having one HQ2 location does not seem to affect the oligopoly’s already large grasp on the online shopping industry. However, for everyday Americans, there comes a time to fight for what you believe in; in the end, Amazon will build the Arlington HQ2, while New Yorkers will continue to protect what is theirs.