May 20, 2019

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Cuomo Speaks With Bezos, Furiously Trying to Win Back Amazon

Cuomo Speaks With Bezos, Furiously Trying to Win Back Amazon
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“We think we could have gotten New York done, but you have to say, ‘At what cost?’” Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s director of global economic development, said at an event in Virginia on Thursday. “We made a prudent decision that gives us the opportunity to hyperfocus on D.C.”

The advertisement, an open letter to Mr. Bezos that was set to appear on a full page in Friday’s newspaper, is aimed at combating the notion that the opposition to Amazon was widespread, arguing that a “clear majority” of New Yorkers support the company.

“We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming,” reads the letter, paid for by the Partnership for New York City, a prominent business group. “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.”

Kathryn S. Wylde, the president of the partnership, said the letter had been aimed not just at Amazon but at assuring technology companies generally that New York City welcomed their businesses: “Yes, it’s directed to Amazon in hopes they will reconsider. Equally, it is a message to the broader industry.”

“The governor’s office was working with the business community on how to send this message,” Ms. Wylde added, and the result was the letter.

The letter included new supporters as well as many — such as public housing leaders, local small businesses and unions like Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York — who backed the deal all along. A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, whose initial support of the Amazon deal has turned into vigorous criticism after the company pulled out, said the mayor was aware that the letter was being prepared.

The most vocal opponents, like Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, were not among the signatories.

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