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Before a Deal, Amazon Had to Know: Could Cuomo and De Blasio Get Along?

Category: Economy,Finance

“We had an unprecedented opportunity to add to the number of jobs,” Mr. de Blasio said on Tuesday.

The project is a “transformational opportunity to diversify the economy” of Northern Virginia, which is heavily dependent on government contracting, said Stephen Moret, president and chief executive of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

New York’s sales pitch began in September 2017, immediately after Amazon began its search for a second headquarters that Mr. Bezos promised would be a “full equal to our Seattle headquarters.”

Amazon executives had realized that if its projections were right, the company needed a plan for its fast growth, said Jay Carney, a senior vice president at Amazon. It made the search public because “you can’t quietly talk to cities about investing $5 billion and creating 50,000 jobs,” he said.

Shortly after the announcement, a group of Long Island City leaders, including Elizabeth Lusskin, the president of the Long Island City Partnership, a business group, and Alan Suna, the chief executive of Silvercup Studios, a film and television studio there, were meeting to discuss their plans to bring biotech and life science companies to the neighborhood. But they quickly began talking about Amazon, according to Mr. Suna.

Within a month, about 16 sites in the neighborhood had been identified, including the parcels along the waterfront eventually chosen by Amazon. The area is now a combination of public and private land that includes a distribution center for city school lunches, warehouses, studios and an outdoor bar and grill.

When New York City submitted its bid to the company, just a few weeks later, Long Island City was one of four spots proposed, along with Lower Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan’s West Side and an area in central Brooklyn.


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