Gov. Cuomo isn’t giving up on bringing Amazon to New York.
The governor — while left flat-footed after Jeff Bezos abruptly reversed on his plan to build a new headquarters in Queens — is still determined to lure the multi-billion dollar retail giant back to the Big Apple.
Cuomo confirmed at a press conference in Long Island Thursday that he has reached out billionaire businessman to make the pitch to come back the city.
“I’ve had many conversations with Amazon. I hope that they reconsider. Up until now, we haven’t seen any change in their position. It would be helpful if the state Senate said that they would approve it. That would be helpful, but in the meantime I haven’t heard anything new,” the governor said.
The efforts included personal calls between the governor and Amazon founder Bezos, according to The New York Times.
An open letter to Bezos posted by the Partnership for New York, with cross-section of city leaders, urged him to change his mind and embrace the nation’s largest city.
Open Letter to Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos (PDF)
Open Letter to Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos (Text)
“A clear majority of New Yorkers support this project and were disappointed by your decision not to proceed,” the letter reads.
“As representatives of a wide range of government, business, labor and community interests, we urge you to reconsider so that we can move forward together.”
The letter was signed by former Mayor David Dinkins and an assortment of pro-Amazon unions, local businesses and various elected officials.
“New York attracts the best, most diverse talent from across the globe,” the open letter concluded. “We all hope you reconsider and join us in building the exciting future of New York.”
Cuomo personally held multiple phone conversations with Bezos, who gave no warning before announcing his decision to abandon the Long Island City location for the new Amazon outpost, The Times reported.
Supporters of the proposal note the plan would bring $28 billion in new tax revenues along with 25,000 permanent jobs to the city.
Cuomo’s conversations didn’t mention a specific new site for the Amazon headquarters, but the open letter made it clear that the governor would make sure a second attempt was not torpedoed by critics.
The governor “will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval, and Mayor de Blasio will work together with the governor to manage the community development project,” read the letter.
State Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins stacked the deck against the deal in mid-February when she nominated Queens Sen. Michael Gianaris, an outspoken opponent, to an obscure board with sign-off authority over a $500 million construction grant for the project.
The online retail giant broke the governor’s heart after it pulled the plug a $3 billion project on Valentine’s Day, after getting a whiff of resistance from local politicians and labor leaders over their opposition to unionization at the company.
Stewart-Cousins said on Thursday, that she is willing to welcome Bezos back to the city.
“I have always been clear that I support job creation and was disappointed with Amazon’s decision and hoped they would reconsider,” she said. “I have also repeatedly indicated my willingness to work with Amazon in the best interests of our state and affected communities. It is clear that this process exposed serious flaws in our economic development programs that need to be reformed for future projects.”
Gianaris did not respond to a request for comment.
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