- Amazon formally announced this week that it would split its second headquarters - the highly sought-after HQ2 - between Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia.
- The news has been met with lots of backlash from not only residents and politicians concerned about HQ2's potential effect on housing prices and city infrastructure, but some in the tech industry upset about Amazon's shady decision-making process.
- As part of the deal to land HQ2, the two cities wooed Amazon by offering billions of dollars in tax breaks and cash grants. One tech executive described these monetary incentives as "blatant loot" that Amazon was taking from cities.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is losing face in the tech community, if the reaction on Twitter from fellow industry leaders to Amazon's HQ2 decision-making process is any indication.
The 14-month process of selecting a location for Amazon's highly anticipated new headquarters, known as HQ2, ended on Tuesday, when the tech giant said it would be split between two cities: Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia.
The investment that Amazon had promised for the chosen HQ2 home - $5 billion and 50,000 jobs - will be split between the two cities. As part of their platform to woo Amazon, they're offering the tech giant billions of dollars in tax breaks and cash grants.
The deal has sparked outrage from New York residents and local politicians, including Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Michael Gianaris, a Queens lawmaker who described the offered funds as a "ransom" New York was paying.
Meanwhile, playmakers in the tech industry have used social media to slam Bezos for the large amounts of money the cities offered in exchange for HQ2 and for a lack of transparency in the decision-making process.
In a series of tweets, the developer David Heinemeier Hansson, of Ruby on Rails fame, accused Bezos, the richest man in the world, of extracting "blatant loot" from cities in a move of "total domination."
Hansson, a founder of the web development firm Basecamp, also questioned Bezos' role as a stakeholder in his company.
It’s utterly unbecoming to see Amazon extract such blatant loot from HQ2 cities. Why the fuck does Amazon need government handouts? Bezos, as literally the richest man in the world, presiding over this is shameful.— DHH (@dhh) November 13, 2018
How about a little less TOTAL DOMINATION, and just a tad more civic responsibility? This maximum extraction and municipal capture seems utterly shortsighted, even on business merits alone. Serving up the antitrust case on a platter. Stoking justified populist anger.— DHH (@dhh) November 13, 2018
Hansson wasn't the only one in the tech community to slam Bezos.
Take a look at some of the other tech leaders who expressed their frustration with Bezos and Amazon on Twitter:
HQ2 ... and 3 ... are official, after 14 months of gaming the commonwealth. The Amazon HQ2 process was not transparent, but illuminating: Mr. Bezos and his board lack character and code.#nomercynomalicehttps://t.co/szwqCpZsQD— Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) November 13, 2018
Aw, I feel like a sucker, we built a tech company in NYC and created all these jobs for *zero* billion dollars in subsidies! 🤷🏾♂️— Anil Dash 🥭 (@anildash) November 13, 2018
New York's hottest nightclub is "HQ2". It has always-on microphones, delivery drones, a prestige TV studio hoping for Emmy nods, heavily-subsidized jobs, MTV's Dan Cortese...— Anil Dash 🥭 (@anildash) November 13, 2018
Read more about Amazon's HQ2 project:
- New York City's top tabloids have weighed in on Amazon HQ2 - and they're leaning into the controversy
- Amazon just unveiled its HQ2 selections, and some locals are furious
- Amazon is forcing New York and Virginia to help it build helipads in return for building 'HQ2' in their states
- New York City has lured Amazon with more than $1.5 billion in incentives - here's what else they agreed to
- 'We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other NYC politicians voice outrage about Amazon HQ2's move to Long Island City