Amazon announced Thursday that mounting local opposition was behind its decision to cancel its plans to build a headquarters in Long Island City that would have created 25,000 new jobs.
Business Council of Westchester Vice President and COO John Ravitz called it a “missed opportunity,” saying we will now never realize the full extent of benefits Westchester would have reaped from the deal. The BCW, he said, had already created a working group that planned to meet with Amazon to promote Westchester’s many benefits.
“We were shocked and saddened by the announcement on Thursday,’’ said Ravitz. “The possibilities Amazon would have brought to the entire region were exciting and endless. From housing and jobs to business services, Westchester was well positioned to benefit from the ripple effects of Amazon’s new headquarters.’’
Ravitz said Westchester’s well- developed transportation infrastructure including three excellent train lines linking it to the city, made it the perfect location to house Amazon’s workforce. This was good news for many of the transit-oriented developments already springing up in Westchester’s urban centers like White Plains, Yonkers and New Rochelle. The revival of these older downtowns has been a major area of focus for the BCW.
The Amazon deal had run into fierce opposition from local elected officials who were angered at the company’s plans not to hire union workers and the more than $3 billion in state and city incentives promised to the company.
Ravitz said the opposition was short sighted and overlooked the tremendous benefits the new headquarters would have brought with it. He said it may now be difficult to counteract the perception that other businesses are not welcome here.
“The bigger question is what kind of message is this sending to other corporations who may want to relocate here in the region,’’ said Ravitz. “This sets a terrible precedent that must not be repeated.”