About 80 New York union leaders, local officials and business owners published an open letter in Friday’s New York Times asking Amazon to give Long Island City one more shot.
In the letter, published as a full-page ad in the main section of the Times, the signatories try to persuade Amazon that most New Yorkers really do want the company — and its 25,000 jobs — in their city.
“We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York — sometimes strident,” wrote the signatories, which included Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, State University of New York Chancellor Kristina Johnson, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman. “We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.”
The local leaders join New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in calls for the company to reconsider its Valentine’s Day announcement that it would no longer build part of its new headquarters in Long Island City after a frosty welcome from local politicians and local activists. On Thursday night, the Times reported that Cuomo has been speaking with Amazon executives, including CEO Jeff Bezos, and making the case for the company’s return.
“The State Senate made a terrible blunder — everyone, including their members, knows it — and 75 percent of New Yorkers affirmed it; the Governor will take over the process and can comfortably assure Amazon the approval will get done,” a spokesperson for Cuomo told CNBC in a statement following the Times report.
In the open letter, the signatories promise Cuomo “will take personal responsibility for the project’s state approval.”
So far, Amazon has made no signs that it’s willing to compromise. When the company announced its reversal, it said in a statement, “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”
At the time, Amazon said it did not plan to reopen its search and would instead remain focused on its other HQ2 location in Virginia as well as its other established offices around the country.
Amazon declined to comment to CNBC on the open letter.
Here’s the full text of the letter that appeared in the Times Friday:
Dear Mr. Bezos:
New Yorkers do not want to give up on the 25,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 union construction and maintenance jobs, and $28 billion in new tax revenues that Amazon was prepared to bring to our state. A clear majority of New Yorkers support this project and were disappointed by your decision not to proceed. We understand that becoming home to the world’s industry leader in e-commerce, logistics and web services would be a tremendous boost for our state’s technology industry, which is our fastest growing generator of new jobs. 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.
We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.
Governor Cuomo 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 process, including the workforce development, public education and infrastructure investments that are necessary to ensure that the Amazon campus will be a tremendous benefit to residents and small businesses in the surrounding communities.
New York attracts the best, most diverse talent from across the globe. We are a dynamic new center of the country’s most inclusive tech economy. We all hope you reconsider and join us in building the exciting future of New York.