‘Stupidest damn thing’ to blow HQ2 deal in New York, JBG Smith board chairman says

Steven Roth is chairman and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE: VNO), a New York City-based developer and landlord. He is also chairman of the Chevy Chase-based JBG Smith Properties’ board of directors. Needless to say, he’s got a lot riding on Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters, to be split, as of now, between Long Island City in Queens and Crystal City, where JBG Smith is the dominant landlord. On Tuesday during Vornado’s fourth quarter 2018 earnings call, Roth was asked about the strong, vocal opposition to New York’s proposed $3 billion HQ2 incentive package, and the report that Amazon may be rethinking Long Island City for HQ2. Washington Business Journal

Amazon Cancels HQ2 Plans in New York City

Amazon.com Inc. is abandoning its plans to build a new headquarters in New York City after the company faced stiff resistance from some local politicians who objected to giving one of the world’s most valuable companies billions of dollars in tax incentives. The company said in a blog post Thursday that its commitment to a new headquarters required supportive elected officials and collaboration. “While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, 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 with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” the company said. The Wall Street Journal

Amazon cancels plans to build New York headquarters

Amazon is ditching its plans to build a new headquarters in New York after facing backlash from members of the community. “After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Jodi Seth, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement. In the statement, Amazon noted that “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 with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.” CNN

Take a rare look inside Gulfstream’s Dallas facility where more than 1,000 jets visit annually

North Texas is a hotbed for commercial airlines and military aerospace manufacturing. Two of the largest carriers in the country are headquartered locally, with Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) in Dallas and American Airlines Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) in Fort Worth. Also, the largest manufacturing facility in DFW is the Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) plant in Fort Worth where 16,400 people build the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. represents another aerospace and aviation sector in Dallas: Business jet manufacturing. The bulk of Gulfstream’s employees are in Savannah, Ga., where it employs 10,000 people. About 600 employees, however, perform service work and mid-cabin completions at the Dallas facility that sits next to Love Field Airport. Dallas Business Journal

Private train company poised for IPO has Dallas on its map

Virgin Trains USA, currently operating as passenger rail service Brightline, is meeting with investors for its “road show” as it prepares to launch an initial public offering that could raise up to $619 million. The Miami-based company operates the Brightline train between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. It later hopes to expand that service to Orlando, Tampa and the Treasure Coast (along Florida’s Atlantic coast) and then create similar regional passenger systems around the county. Some of the potential expansion targets are in Texas, including a Houston-to-Dallas route, where it would compete with Texas Central’s proposed Texas Bullet Train. Dallas Business Journal

‘We will be back:’ TNECD commissioner says more jobs in pipeline for Memphis

For a few minutes on Wednesday, Tennessee’s chief economic development official teased hundreds of Memphis businesspeople with the suggestion that the FedEx Logistics headquarters move is a harbinger of things to come. “The narrative has changed. … There are a couple of really cool things going on. … We will be back and we look forward to making additional announcements,” Tennessee Economic and Community Development (TNECD) commissioner Bob Rolfe said of Memphis’ potential project pipeline during the Greater Memphis Chamber’s State of the Economy breakfast. Memphis Business Journal

Here’s what must happen before Charlotte can land new HQ in BB&T, SunTrust deal

A proposed $66-billion merger between BB&T and SunTrust Banks, which would put a new bank headquarters in Charlotte, turned heads last week as the largest U.S. bank merger since the financial crisis about a decade ago. The combination of Winston-Salem’s BB&T and Atlanta’s SunTrust would form the sixth-largest U.S. bank, holding approximately $442 billion in assets and $324 billion in deposits, both companies said in announcing their plans last Thursday. Industry experts largely expect regulators to approve the transaction this year. Charlotte Observer

Would Medicaid expansion bring 40,000 jobs to North Carolina, as NC Democrat says?

RALEIGH — Democrats in North Carolina’s General Assembly filed bills to expand Medicaid last month, and now the party’s leaders are taking their case to the public. One big selling point: jobs. “Expanding Medicaid would bring 40,000 jobs to North Carolina,” said House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, who represents part of Wake County, in a Jan. 30 tweet. PolitiFact North Carolina has checked claims about the added coverage Medicaid expansion would give to North Carolinians, but Jackson’s statement is the first we’ve considered that tries to link expansion to more jobs in the state. So we decided to see how it stacks up to the facts. Raleigh News & Observer

Sasol announces progress toward production at its $11 billion plant near Lake Charles, La.

Sasol said Wednesday that the first of the seven production facilities being developed near Lake Charles in an $11 billion project has achieved beneficial operations. The company said that means the linear low-density polyethylene unit sustained production of product at specifications for at least 72 hours. The unit is one of two polyethylene plants at the site. The second is scheduled to come online later this year. The remaining Lake Charles Chemicals Project manufacturing units are expected to reach beneficial operations throughout 2019 and early 2020, the company said. Baton Rouge Advocate

Kansas City’s Harley-Davidson factory hits the market

Ahead of its closing later this year, Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) put its Kansas City factory on the market for $26.5 million. The 507,729-square-foot plant is located at 11401 N. Congress Ave. in the Northland. It sits on 314 acres about five miles east of Kansas City International Airport. The list price includes a paint booth system that originally cost $30 million. Cushman & Wakefield’s Whitney Kerr Jr. is handling the sale for Harley and could not comment on the listing. The plant currently has a 600-person skilled workforce until May, and those people would like to keep working at the plant, according to a LinkedIn post. Kansas City Business Journal