Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered a blow to Amazon on Tuesday, saying the company does not need the $3 billion in incentives given to it by the city in exchange for opening a new office there.
"You read in the paper Amazon opened one of their new two headquarters, or are in the process of doing it, very close to here," Bloomberg said during a speech at the headquarters of the news organization that bears his name. "It's just right across the river."
"But the reason they came here was not the tax breaks they got, which I didn't think they needed."
Politico reported on Bloomberg's remarks.
The former mayor and possible 2020 presidential candidate then stated the real reason why he feels Amazon chose New York City for one of its East Coast hubs: a partnership between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell University that is located on Roosevelt Island. The thin strip of land sits in the East River separating Manhattan and Queens.
"They are here because Cornell and Technion started a new graduate university literally on an island — [Tom] Brady could throw a football from the island over to where Amazon's going to be; that's how close it is," Bloomberg said.
"And they'll do anything they can to get the graduates from these schools. Those are the people a company like Amazon needs to go forward."
Amazon held a competitive bidding process during its search for an East Coast headquarters. It ultimately split the contract, choosing Long Island City, Queens, and Arlington, Virginia. Each location will support 25,000 jobs.
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