Amazon, GE pull plug on HQ plans: 8 things to know

After significant fanfare surrounding Amazon's selection of New York City as part of its HQ2 site and General Electric's move to Boston, Amazon has canceled its New York plans while GE will significantly downsize its expected presence in Boston.

Here are eight things to know:

1. After a highly public search for a second corporate headquarters, Amazon announced it would split its HQ2 between New York City and northern Virginia, with 25,000 employees at each site. While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, supported the move and offered almost $3 billion in government incentives, the decision faced serious opposition from local residents and other Democrats, according to The New York Times.

2. Critics questioned the generous tax incentives as well as how HQ2 would affect real estate affordability and mass transportation in the borough of Queens, the proposed site of HQ2 in New York. Local activists also questioned Amazon's perceived opposition to unionized workers.

"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," Amazon said in a statement, according to the Times.

3. "I look forward to working with companies that understand that if you're willing to engage with New Yorkers and work through challenging issues, New York City is the world's best place to do business," said Corey Johnson, speaker of the New York City Council. "I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent. I know I'd choose mass transit over helipads any day."

4. Amazon will move forward with its planned site in northern Virginia and a smaller campus in Nashville, Tenn. It will not reopen its search for another HQ2 location.

5. GE first announced its plans to move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston in 2015, but now intends to downsize its presence in the city from 800 employees to 250, according to Boston.com.

6. GE will return $87 million to Massachusetts it received as part of an incentives deal from the MassDevelopment state agency. The company will not build its planned 12-story office tower on the city's waterfront, but sell the land and two other buildings it was refurbishing. It will lease space in those buildings for its 250 workers.

7. While GE's presence in the city will be smaller than expected, it will still be the company's headquarters.

"While changes in the company's portfolio and operating model will lead to a smaller corporate headquarters, we are fully committed to Boston and proud to call it home," said Ann Klee, GE's vice president of Boston development and operations.

8. GE is no longer listed on the Dow Jones industrial average after years of shrinking revenues, though its fourth-quarter revenue exceeded many forecasts.

 

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