New Yorkers Try To Convince Bezos To Bring Amazon To LIC

March 01, 2019 - 7:43 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York business leaders, labor union heads and politicians signed an open letter in the New York Times attempting to woo Amazon back to Long Island City, Queens, after the company cancelled its planned second headquarters in the neighborhood on Valentine’s Day.

The letter was paid for by the Partnership for New York, a prominent business group.

"We should not be giving up on 25-40 thousand jobs and this significant new investment," says Partnership President Katheryn Wylde, "I think we need a restart on this project and one that makes people feel comfortable, allows them to get comfortable...what are the possibilities?"

Gov. Cuomo, who signed on to the letter, said he had recently spoken to Bezos, but that “up until now we haven’t seen any change in their position.”

The letter says that New Yorkers don’t want to give up on the jobs and new tax revenue that Amazon would bring to the state, and apologizes for the public debate which followed the announcement.

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The letter promises that Gov. Cuomo will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval, with Mayor de Blasio managing the community development aspect.

Still, many have said it’s too late for Amazon to reconsider, but Crain’s Greg David suggests otherwise.

“I think the door is open a crack otherwise the governor wouldn't have leaked the information,” David said. “He's trying very hard to get Amazon back and this effort originates with the governor who has been very clear about what a disaster he thinks Amazon's decision to leave New York, how terrible the actions of Senate Democrats who led to Amazon to do that were and he's determined to get them back.”

He also notes that the letter may not strictly be for Amazon and many of the people who signed the letter “have a broader audience in mind.”

“People are very worried that the fight over Amazon and the harsh rhetoric, the attitudes of politicians like Michael Gianaris and Jimmy van Bramer have sent a message to the whole world that New York is now a hostile place for big companies,” David said. “That would be a terrible message because so much of our economy is based at big companies and this letter is designed to say, ‘no, it isn't true.’”

Amazon has not commented on the letter, nor has State Senator Mike Gianaris, who had been appointed to an obscure state board that could have killed the deal.

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His name has since been withdrawn from consideration.