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The New York Times this morning reports on a New York City Council hearing yesterday at which Amazon was questioned about its plans to open part of its second headquarters expansion in Long Island City, in the borough of Queens, which is expected to bring “25,000 jobs in exchange for as much as $3 billion in state and city incentives.”

Since the planned expansion was announced, Amazon has gotten blowback from a number of quarters, with people questioning things like the size of the incentives, the impact on local neighborhoods, the expected stresses on the city’s infrastructure, and the company’s long-held resistance to unionization, which is not the best attitude in a highly unionized city.

While Amazon has been on something of a charm offensive lately, “at the start of the hearing, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, Brian Huseman, made a glancing reference in his prepared testimony to the fact that the company still has some say in whether it expands in New York City. ‘We were invited to come to New York, and we want to invest in a community that wants us,’ he told the Council. He closed by repeating that the company wanted to ‘be part of the growth of a community where our employees and our company are welcome’.”

The Times notes that “opponents of the deal and their allies on the City Council also raised the possibility of the deal unraveling, asking officials whether the city could opt out of the agreement.” And, the paper says, Amazon executives “have expressed frustration in private at their treatment in New York, comparing it to the open-arms welcome they have gotten in Virginia, where the company announced plans to locate another large corporate campus.”
KC's View:
I’d be willing to bet that there are a bunch of metropolitan areas that would not mind being Amazon’s backup choice if the NYC deal goes south. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there already is a plan B, with Amazon knowing at what point it needs to go elsewhere. Like Boston. Or Toronto. Or Austin.