How to Keep an Amazon From Walking Away

March 11, 2019

There is no question that Amazon’s decision to abandon its deal for a New York City-based HQ II has dealt a serious blow to potential economic development in the city. While we certainly can debate the merits of the opposition’s arguments, the simple fact is that an opportunity has been lost to create 25,000 high-paying jobs, along with an estimated 125,000 (or more) additional indirect jobs in the ecosystem that would have grown up around Amazon. Lost, as well, is a chance to cement New York City’s role as a world-class innovation center.

The more serious issue, however, is whether the opposition’s “victory” in the case of Amazon will have far-reaching negative implications for future economic development deals in the New York City area. Corporate relocations on an Amazonian scale are few and far between―but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of much smaller projects that could be imperiled by a shift in the attitudes of the public and policy-makers away from supporting economic development deals. To win support for future projects, companies large and small, as well as agencies, will need to communicate the benefits of these deals to the public in a transparent, readily understandable manner.

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