How New Yorkers rejected Amazon’s $2 billion deal


– So, you probably heard about Amazon’s New York headquarters. It was this billion-dollar project. There was gonna be a new
helipad, a waterfront esplanade, and four Empire State Buildings
worth of office space. But on Valentine’s Day, Amazon decided to break
things off with the city. The company was scrapping the plans, pulling out of the Long Island City site and New York entirely. It was an ugly end to months of planning, a major embarrassment
for everyone involved. But to understand how
it got so messy so fast, you have to look at the big picture. Amazon’s Seattle headquarters is the biggest urban
tech campus in America, with 40,000 workers and almost a fifth of the
city’s prime office space, but that still wasn’t
big enough for Amazon. In 2017, Amazon announced
it was looking for a home for its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. Two hundred thirty-eight
cities jumped in with proposals, usually dangling massive tax breaks. There was a bizarre game
show vibe to the whole thing. ClickHole joked about
the mayors of Pittsburgh and Kansas City beating
each other to death for a chance at the headquarters. After all that, Amazon’s finally choice was kind of an anticlimax. Instead of revitalizing a smaller city, Amazon would split the new headquarters between New York and Washington, D.C. There is also a small
outpost planned in Nashville, but, for the most part, the company would be investing in cities that didn’t need the money. Almost from the beginning,
New Yorkers were skeptical. In the days after the deal was announced, there were a ton of protests. Amazon even got booed out
of a city council meeting. – [Man] “Stop it!” – [Crowd] “G-T-F-O, Amazon has got to go!” “G-T-F-O” – A big issue in the background was rent. Those high-paid tech
workers bring a lotta money into the neighborhood, which
has a way of driving up rent, sometimes really fast. The effect has been most
extreme in the Bay Area, where the influx of tech money has driven up rents by as
much as 50% since 2010. That’s led to a lot of conflict between tech workers
and everyday citizens, some of whom see the
companies as hostile invaders. Anti-gentrification activists have gone as far as blocking the buses that take Google employees
to work outside San Francisco as a kind of protest of what
Google’s doing to the city. If you’re Amazon, you have to think: Are we gonna see that same kind of local
opposition in Queens? Locals also had a problem
with the deal itself, which gave Amazon $2.5
billion in tax breaks as a reward for moving in. This kind of deal happens a lot and you can argue it’s a good trait, since the city still ends up
collecting more tax revenue than it pays out in subsidy. But there’s a lot that
doesn’t take into account, including all the residents
and other businesses that get displaced by
the new headquarters. On paper, Amazon was
offering the city a lot, including job training at
nearby housing projects and internship programs
with local high schools. But the idea of paying
Amazon billions of dollars to remake downtown Queens was just too much for local politicians, particularly City
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Jimmy Van Bramer:
“Is giving Jeff Bezos $3 billion of hard-earned taxpayer
money progressive values?” – [Crowd] “No!” – It didn’t help that Governor Cuomo, who masterminded the
deal, was wildly unpopular and didn’t have much goodwill to draw on. But the most dangerous local opponent was State Senator Michael
Gianaris, who in January joined New York’s Public
Authority’s Control Board. That has official oversight
over the Amazon deal. And since the board
requires unanimous approval for a lot of motions, Gianaris would’ve had lots of chances to make life difficult for Amazon. In November, Gianaris told The Verge his staff was digging in
to the incentive package to see legally what we can do. But as it turned out, he
didn’t get the chance. Three months later, Amazon backed out. In its statement, Amazon
said it was pulling out because, “A number of
state and local politicians have made it clear that
they oppose our presence “and will not work with us.” Now, that could be a reference
to Gianaris specifically, but the broader opposition
was just as scary. None of the local politicians had the power to stop the deal completely, but they could make things a lot harder. The Queens project would’ve
taken 15 years to complete and along the way, there
were gonna be permit issues, labor disputes, and the kind of headaches that come with any ambitious
construction project. There would be lots of
chances to make trouble and extract real concessions
from Amazon. In the end, it just wasn’t worth it. Now, not every tech company is so unlucky. At the same time that Amazon
was fighting in Queens, Google announced a massive expansion to its Manhattan headquarters, but they did it without the big subsidies, without the game show, and, as a result, without the public opposition. And south of DC, where
there are fewer people being displaced and fewer
activists to raise hell, Amazon headquarters is
going forward as planned. It’s like Mayor De Blasio said
after the deal fell through, “You have to be tough
to make it in New York.” Thanks for watching. Ton of questions in this episode. Was Amazon right to back out of New York? Would it have been bad for the city, for the headquarters to go forward? Let us know in the comments and as always, like and subscribe. See you next time.

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100 thoughts on “How New Yorkers rejected Amazon’s $2 billion deal

  1. Come to Baltimore at Port Covington – it’s all set up and waiting for a big user to come in and fill the masterplan.

  2. I can't believe that I have to say this again for the 10th time in 2 days. A tax break is not giving them money. It's a discount. If a person gets a tax break, that means they get to pay less in taxes, but in return the get less in tax returns. It's not free money, it's just amazon saving money.

  3. Tax breaks don't mean you're "giving" money… Please learn basic economics. The protestors and activists are idiots in this case.

  4. Yes it was right for Amazon to back out. If a city really doesn't really want them there why should they. The city should have done a better job working with it's residents on the plan. They weren't prepared. There are plenty of other cities that would beg for a chance at having Amazon land in their backyard. Amazon just doesn't need the headache.

  5. Why is the verge getting so much hate? What did they do? Am I missing something? (I'm not siding with them if that's how I sound)

  6. Common The Verge, how about instead of being a click baitey article and video company you " do something positive for the world"

  7. The Verge = hypocrites. In an attempt to milk maximum profit they've gone downhill over the years, pandering to the lowest common denominator of intelligence. Now they bash a content creator for poking fun at their idiocy. Crazy.

  8. The Verge has shifted from tech focus to a media compay that reports on tech. They have lost their heart. Very disapointed in their behaviour.

  9. Old News. They pulled out because of Union Labor Cost. Quit repeating the National News as something New to the Tech World. We already heard it the Day it broke.

  10. Progressives literally don't know what they are talking about. If you give a company a $3B tax brake, it isn't the same as giving the company $3B of "hard earned tax money". The government isn't giving anything away, it is just promising to take less from a company for a promised time period.

    The tax, which the employees would pay, would easily be more than the tax brake, so the city/state would still get money.

  11. I think the Amazon challenge from NY people increases the public awareness into many deals that have been done (read the book Free Lunch) across American – its basically bribery. The guys video was a concise summary and if thats the level you link it then its was ok. Bigger question maybe why these high tech companies need to keep building massive HQ's (old School) when they have the technology and bandwidth to operate in a more distributed way – subsidies??

  12. This is an extremely uninformed video production and catering to populist theory. You have completely mis-represented how incentives work and the long term benefits of having Amazon move to Queens. I guess the 3x dislikes to likes speaks for itself. Next time do a better job Verge.

  13. No! Only a few anti-corporatist activist (far Left) killed the deal. Bay area growth has spiked rents here in the Central Valley! Impacts can be mitigated. Anger at government lures were re-directed towards Amazon.

  14. "Tech companies have driven up rent in San Francisco" …hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  15. That's $3 Billion in Tax CREDITS for the imbeciles that don't seem understand that it's not cash that's just sitting there in NY State coffers; in return, NY would've received $24 billion in Net tax revenues (as well as at least 27K jobs). Congratulations to all those who participated in killing this good thing; potential job opportunities for families who could've really benefited. Especially Senator Gianaris and Jim Van Bramer.

  16. I'm not from NY but I'm glad the citizens didn't get raped. Why pay a compa y to open a business in your city when they're the ones making all the profit. Yes it would create jobs but like the show host said, it's going to come with lots of bad stuff as well like the vost of living, apartment rental pricess will skytocket and as if the realty prices aren't already ridiculous.

  17. It’s news pieces like this which doesn’t help the technology career field. This passive aggression inevitably falls down on the programmer and not your straw-men villains like Jeff Bezos. In other words, this is all about your insecurities.

  18. And as a result NYC gave up on $27 billion. That money could have been used on the infrastructure that all these politicians and protesters were talking about investing in. Wow, these people need to learn math.

  19. Can someone PLEASE tell me how livestrong, “do something positive,” and being angry at this video are related?! I’ve never been more confused

  20. The impact of highly paid tech workers in the San Francisco Bay area has had a profoundly adverse effect on the general population. Rents are now sky high and many people are being forced to work two jobs, while others are living in converted, unheated garages. More still are packing up and leaving. Everyday folks with normal, non tech jobs simply can't compete with workers making six figure salaries. That goes double with double income couples.

  21. Why are the comments all the same hostility towards the verge? They are all most all the same comment too. What's going on?

  22. Guys I'm Dutch and I could use a little help figuring out what's going on.
    1) Was the plan to give Amazon money as in cash, or was the plan to not make them pay as much as technically they should. I'm asking because at first the host speaks of tax breaks, and immediately after he speaks of 'the idea of paying Amazon billions of dollars…". And the politican speaks of "giving Jeff Bezos 3 billion dollars of hard-earned tax-payers money…
    2) What's all the fuss about with this video? Why does it have so many dislikes? I'm missing something I feel.
    Thanks!!

  23. Why is this video downvoted? I haven’t heard about this amazon new york issue before that. I’m from Eastern Europe.

  24. He just stood out to feed the homeless but while trying to make an order online with my Amazon prime card change the price of a product I had for $15.71 to $34.97 when it reached the cart two minutes later I would not process that order because no one would pay double the price for something that they put in their cart for half that price their company chooses to not help me they’ll give me a discount if I would like but just as a one time courtesy just get the word out

  25. I think new yorkers made a mistake .
    Amazon created jobs in the states where it set up their business , just like Walmart and many other companies.

  26. I’m proud that my NYC said no to Amazons bs scam. Here we thought, were inspired by amazons plan to revitalize a city that really needed it. Turns out that wasn’t amazons plan after all. They could have picked Newark or Baltimore and we would have been happy.

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