The retreat, combined with the persistence of employees working remotely, has stymied cities that rely on techies to frequent cafes, doggy daycares and transportation.
Last month, Mr. Jassy written in a letter Speaking to employees, starting May 1, most company employees will return to the office three days a week. That drew complaints from many Amazon workers, but city officials in Seattle and Bellevue cheered.
“Things have really changed,” said Richard Florida, a University of Toronto professor who has studied urban development and technology for more than two decades. “We did have a pandemic and remote work became a thing. But I think it’s another cautionary tale, maybe the ultimate cautionary tale, about not betting your entire community on one company.”
The slowdown of Amazon’s HQ2 is perhaps the best illustration of how quickly the tide has changed compared to the ambitions of a few years ago. Amazon set off an international frenzy when it announced its search for a second headquarters in 2017, saying it wanted to find a place that could expand to accommodate 50,000 employees. Hundreds of towns and cities across North America have thrown themselves at Amazon, hoping to attract what is seen as the high-paying job of the future.
But hopes were dashed in late 2018, when Amazon announced it would split its second headquarters evenly between Queens and Arlington, Va., two metro areas that already have more Amazon employees than anywhere else outside Seattle and the Bay Area. .
At the time, the company said the developments would require $5 billion in construction and other investments. New York and Virginia provide Amazon with more than $2 billion in tax incentives.
Tax breaks and concerns about gentrification sparked community, union and political backlash at the Long Island City campus, and in early 2019 Amazon canceled plans for a Queens campus.