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Will Amazon reconsider New York City? Supporters and Cuomo hope so

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Joseph Spector and Jon Campbell discuss Amazon’s decision to drop plans for a New York City HQ on Thurs., Feb. 14, 2019.
Jon Campbell, jcampbell1@gannett.com

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo and supporters of bringing an Amazon headquarters to New York City have bolstered their efforts to convince the online retail giant to reconsider its decision to drop plans for the city.

The Seattle-based company pulled out of a deal on Feb. 14 amid local opposition. Cuomo said the company has not suggested it has been swayed, despite efforts by politicians and business leaders.

“They have given no indication that they would reconsider,” Cuomo said Friday on WNYC, a public radio station in Manhattan.

Cuomo’s pursuit of Amazon was coupled Thursday with an open letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos from more than 70 business groups, politicians and unions imploring him to reconsider the decision to dump its plans for a headquarters in the city that promised at least 25,000 jobs.

“New York attracts the best, most diverse talent from across the globe,” the letter said. 

“We are a dynamic new center of the country’s most inclusive tech economy. We all hope you reconsider and join us in building the exciting future of New York.”

More: Will Google, Amazon and Facebook fix the affordable housing crisis?

More: Amazon is planning to open new grocery chain, report says

Can it work?

Cuomo has been working behind the scenes with Amazon officials, including Bezos, to try to salvage the deal, the New York Times reported Thursday.

So far, though, it appears Amazon hasn’t budged. The company declined to comment Friday.

While some unions signed onto the letter, other unions and some local political leaders still remain opposed to the Amazon deal.

They have criticized the $3 billion that New York City and the state pledged to the company and worry about the impact on local housing prices and services if Amazon were to move in.

Some state senators took exception to Cuomo’s pledge to Amazon that if the company returns, he would personally shepherd the deal with the state bureaucracy.

“‘The Governor will take over the process.’ Smh, what a tyrant,” Sen. Julia Salazar, D-Queens, wrote on Twitter.

But Cuomo said Friday he’s trying to salvage the deal and also let businesses know that New York is welcoming.

“We want all businesses nationwide to know that this was an oddity,” he said.

More: What Amazon’s decision means for New York’s bottom line

More: Amazon HQ2 in New York: ‘We put together a great package to bring them here’

Follow Joseph Spector on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

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