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Council speaker says 'hell no' to Bezos helipad at Amazon HQ2

18 November, 2018, 21:51 | Author: Shawna Walton

The fact that Amazon opted on Tuesday to divide the headquarters and accompanying 50,000 jobs between New York City and Arlington, Va., they said, does not detract from Toronto's newly acquired worldwide standing.

But in Long Island City, the gentrifying, former industrial neighborhood sited for one of Amazon's new headquarters, local politicians who weren't part of the negotiations vowed to put up a fight.

Amazon declined to comment to CNN.

Virginia also agreed to help Amazon build and operate a helipad at its new site at the company's expense.

The development projects, which could be announced as soon as Tuesday, promise to bring the cities a giant infusion of jobs and tax revenue, but are nearly certain to draw fire from critics concerned about their impact on infrastructure and property values.

Amazon received 238 proposals for the company's "HQ2" after the company announced its intention to build a second headquarters in September, 2017.

The company's original plan was to invest 5 billion dollars and hire 50,000 employees in one location.

Amazon says it spent $4 billion developing its Seattle home after claiming the once-sleepy South Lake Union warehouse district that's unofficially rebranded "Amazonia" because of the company's 44-building (and counting) development spree.

"Growth for the company involves not only more space for employees but also more technology talent", said Ginsberg.

Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America for The Conference Board, said the move might well be a turning point for the cities.

Regardless of whether the new Amazon East Coast hub draws on the West Coast, the result will be an extension of the technology and innovation region in the east as businesses move to the area to be near Amazon, as educational opportunities grow and as the new employees become part of the existing tech communities. "And the jobs [Amazon] is promising: Are we promising that they'll all be living wage jobs in New York City?"

The city has now entered into a virtuous cycle that will allow it to attract more tech companies and tech labor within already large clusters, Ginsberg said.

Local governments in both locations have offered the company generous incentives.

The Virginia Housing Development Agency plans to spend an extra $15 million a year on to promote affordable housing in areas affected by Amazon's new headquarters for the next five years, according to Gov. Ralph Northam's office.

Amazon will be spreading its highly anticipated second headquarters over two North American locations, but confirmed on Tuesday that it will not be calling Canada home. In exchange, Amazon will receive up to $102 million in "performance-based direct incentives".

Judging from the reaction of progressive activists, including U.S. Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have denounced the agreement, de Blasio's lead role in bringing the company here may hurt the mayor with the base of progressive Democrats he has sought to lead.

Lawmakers and local residents criticized New York City's committed incentives in particular, arguing city and state officials should be allocating money for subway repairs and public services instead.

She expressed concerns about the project pushing working-class people out of Queens. "Corporations that offer none of those things should be met w/skepticism", She tweeted.

In New York City, Amazon will set up shop in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens.

In a series of tweets, Ocasio-Cortez criticized the tax breaks NY has offered Amazon and questioned whether the company plans to pay high wages, provide benefits, and hire from the existing community.

Just look to the Pacific Northwest, where both Amazon and Seattle have transformed dramatically together and sometimes at odds over the past 24 years, prompting resentment among a certain crowd of wistful "mossback" natives. De Blasio said the move consolidates New York City as "a great worldwide tech hub".



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