Amazon Inc. (AMZN) is reconsidering its decision to locate its second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, according to a Washington Post report, in the wake of increased opposition from politicians in New York.
Amazon chose New York as the location for one of its two satellite headquarters after striking a deal with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would provide the company with more than $1.5 billion in incentives, including $1.2 billion in "performance incentives" for creating jobs as well as a cash grant of $325 million. The other location is in Alexandria, Virginia.
The deal was met with almost immediate opposition due to what lawmakers described as the secretive nature of the negotiations that left out input from local leadership groups.
"We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors - small business owners, educators, and community leaders. 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," an Amazon spokesperson told TheStreet.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, also owns the Washington Post.
Earlier this week, the New York State Senate nominated Sen. Michael Gianaris to a seat on the New York State Public Authorities Control Board. The HQ2 deal needs approval from that board and Gianaris, who represents Queens, has been a vocal opponent of the incentive package.
The board is composed of five members, and based on its structure, a no vote from Gianaris could scuttle the entire deal.
Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo went on the offensive against the board in anticipation of opposition to the deal.
"If the Senate is going to be the reason that Amazon leaves New York, I wouldn't want to be running for re-election as a Democratic Senator, I can tell you that," Cuomo said on public radio.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also defended the Amazon deal earlier this week.
"I think some of the concerns are heartfelt. But I don't believe that when it comes down to it anyone will want to actually be responsible for losing 25,000 to 40,000 jobs," de Blasio said.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson released a statement late Friday defending the council's scrutiny of Amazon's incentive package.
"It is the Council's job to ask questions, and to make sure that a nearly $4 billion deal involving public land is in the best interests of the New Yorkers who elected us. No company is entitled to public land and subsidies without tough public scrutiny. The Council is looking forward to our next hearing with Amazon," Johnson said.
Amazon shares fell 1.6% to close at 1,588.22 in Friday's trading.