Amazon appears to be nearing its breaking point over its plan to open a major corporate campus in Long Island City due to, in part, fierce opposition from local politicians, sources told NY1 on Friday.
"We fought back here for our values and what we know we should be demanding of corporate citizens," Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. "Should Amazon decide to go because they refuse to adhere to our values, then they should leave and that is a victory."
The Washington Post first reported the news, citing "two people familiar with the company's thinking" who say the company is reconsidering plans for a new campus in Long Island City. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it would be "a tremendous loss" to the state if the online retail giant reconsidered coming to the city.
The deal, which was brokered by the mayor and governor, has faced opposition from community groups and members of the City Council, who say they were left out of the process.
Cuomo addressed the report at a news conference on Friday and said political opposition should be blamed if Amazon leaves.
"To oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice. And if they stop Amazon from coming to New York, they are going to have the people of New York State to explain it to," Cuomo said. "It is irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound governmental policy. You're not there to play politics."
New York City was one of two locations chosen by Amazon to house its second headquarters. The other was Arlington, Virginia. The deal is expected to create 25,000 jobs in New York over the next decade.
Amazon officials did not dispute the news, first reported in the Washington Post. In a statement in response to the report, an Amazon spokesperson said, "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."
Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, does not seem eager to fight on behalf of Amazon. His press secretary seemed to put the onus entirely on the company to quell opposition, saying in a statement, "The Mayor fully expects Amazon to deliver on its promise to New Yorkers."
The deal has been criticized for including billions of dollars in tax incentives for Amazon. The city and state are giving the company a combined $3 billion in tax breaks. Critics also say the overtaxed subway system can't handle thousands of extra riders every day.
Proponents of the project, including Cuomo and de Blasio, have said, for every $1 Amazon receives in incentives, the city and state will receive $9 in return.
A potential roadblock to the deal was raised this week when one of its most outspoken opponents, Queens State Sen. Michael Gianaris, was named by his fellow Senate Democrats to sit on the obscure Public Authorities Control Board. Cuomo, though, technically has final say over the appointment.