Online retail giant Amazon paused its plan to build a 17-story high-rise office complex in the heart of Seattle Thursday, saying the city council’s new policy of taxing businesses to fight homelessness could derail the entire project.
The controversial legislation passed the Seattle City Council this week, placing a hefty tariff on large corporations to raise over $75 million to fight the region’s escalating homeless crisis and rising crime.
“I can confirm that pending the outcome of the head tax vote by City Council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sublease all space in our recently leased Rainer Square building,” said a spokesperson for Amazon.
The online giant employs over 40,000 workers in the Seattle area alone, and was planning to further increase its operations in the city until the council passed the “homeless tax.”
“The current reality on the streets of Seattle clearly shows the City Council’s approach to the biggest crisis facing our region has been inconsistent and ineffective,” said Seattle’s Chamber of Commerce.