Cuomo to Bezos: Baby, please don’t go

Local orgs and officials planned open letter to Bezos

Andrew Cuomo and Jeff Bezos
Andrew Cuomo and Jeff Bezos

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been working furiously behind the scenes to bring Amazon back to New York.

In the two weeks since Amazon announced its withdrawal from plans to build half of its “second headquarters” in Long Island City, Cuomo has had multiple phone calls with the company’s executives, including CEO Jeff Bezos, the New York Times reported.

Sources told the publication that this appeared to be the first time that Cuomo and Bezos had ever spoken with each other about the company’s plans for Queens. The governor did not offer a new location for the project, but promised to help guide the company through the approval process.

Amazon executives gave no indication that they might reconsider. A spokeswoman for Amazon declined to comment

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Furthermore, the Times has revealed an “open letter” to Bezos that had been arranged for publication in the newspaper this Friday. The letter urges Bezos to reconsider the withdrawal, and promises that “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.”

The letter is signed by local businesses, union, community groups and politicians that support Amazon’s plans. Modern Spaces CEO Eric Benaim and Tishman Speyer president and CEO Rob Speyer also appear among the signatories.

The Partnership for New York City, which paid for the letter, says the letter was aimed not just at Amazon but at assuring technology companies generally that they are welcome in New York. Savills recently ranked New York City as the world’s best tech city, surpassing San Francisco.

“The governor’s office was working with the business community on how to send this message,” said the Partnership’s president, Kathryn Wylde.

Amazon backed out of another major real estate deal yesterday, cancelling a 722,000-square-foot lease at the under-construction Rainier Square tower in its hometown, Seattle. [NYT]Kevin Sun