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“Glittering prize” ultimately lacks in luster: NYC Amazon deal nixed

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2019 | Business Formation & Planning |

That didn’t take long, did it?

There are reconsidered notions and altered adjustments in American corporate life of life, of course, and then there are sheer reversals that can flatly stun business principals.

There’s certainly no question where last week’s momentous Amazon declaration resides on that spectrum of outcomes.

“I was flabbergasted,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor issued those comments in the wake of Amazon’s sudden announcement last Thursday that the technology and e-commerce giant was pulling the plug on its recent agreement to relocate in a major way to Queens.

As a long-tenured and proven NYC commercial law firm, we duly spotlighted in a timely blog post from last year Amazon’s decision to forge a massive presence on Long Island. We noted in our November 16 entry the intense national competition among municipalities to attract the company “and take home the glittering prize.”

There was unquestioned euphoria in many quarters following NYC’s designation as the winner selected from more than 230 urban entries.

Yet there was also this: a broad-based crescendo of criticism from city businesses, quality-of-life advocates, tenants, legislators, taxpayers and other parties. Collectively, those groups voiced immediate and ever-louder concerns that a colossal Amazon footprint locally would bring more peril than prosperity.

That view won, following a growing public perception that overly secretive negotiations yielded a one-sided deal that enriched an already rich entity at the expense of a vulnerable and captive local audience. Rising rents were stressed, as were massive company grants to be footed by taxpayers along with uncertainty surrounding Amazon’s stated benefits for New Yorkers.

Amazon’s NYC walk back now prominently spotlights Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C., metro area as the sole remaining venue for so-called HQ2. Conceivably, New York’s reaction and stridently voiced criticisms concerning Amazon might spur greater opposition in that locale to the material terms and conditions executed there to entice the company.