Amazon Leases New York City Offices After Nixing Queens HQ2 Plan

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed to the move as a victory, arguing she and other critics "saved the public billions."

Less than a year after Amazon nixed its plan to build a second headquarters in New York City, the shipping giant announced it will still come to town.

Amazon has leased 335,000 square feet of office space in Hudson Yards, bringing more than 1,500 jobs to Manhattan’s west side, HuffPost confirmed Saturday. A spokesperson said it is slated to open in 2021. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The expansion follows the company’s February decision not to bring a corporate campus to Long Island City, Queens, amid backlash from residents and elected officials. Many New Yorkers worried that the 25,000 employees at the new location would overcrowd the neighborhood and cause gentrification; others were angry that the company was offered $3 billion in state and city tax subsidies. Proponents of the plan, such as Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, argued that New York only stood to gain from the new Amazon campus, predicting $9 would be generated for every $1 of tax forgiven, amounting to almost $27 billion in revenue.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who emerged as one of the deal’s prominent opponents, appeared to herald Amazon’s latest plans as a victory, noting that this time, it’s happening sans perks.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway - *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways,” she tweeted.

The freshman congresswoman added that she was still “waiting on the haters to apologize after we we proven right.”

In a statement to HuffPost on Saturday, Cuomo’s secretary Melissa DeRosa said the 1,500 jobs that will come with Amazon’s new Manhattan office are not equivalent to the tens of thousands that would have been brought to Queens.

“People suggesting otherwise are being willfully ignorant or just ignorant,” she said.

In a press gaggle later that day at Manhattan’s Javits Center, Cuomo called Amazon’s new plan “nothing like what they were going to do.”

“This is crumbs from the table compared to a feast,” he said. “We don’t have a problem bringing businesses to Manhattan but we have been trying for decades to get that Queens waterfront developed.

When Amazon scrapped its initial move earlier this year, it pointed to “a number of state and local politicians” who “made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us” on the venture.

Cuomo lamented the loss, arguing at the time that state senators pushing back on the deal had “done tremendous damage” and “should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio instead blamed Amazon for failing to come through.

“We gave Amazon an opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world,” he said. “Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”

This story has been updated with confirmation from Amazon and comment from Cuomo.

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