Developer Drops Wal-Mart, Not Worth the Trouble
By George Anderson
The proposed site for the first Wal-Mart in New York City will still be built, says the developer, it just won’t include a store from the company Sam built.
Vornado Realty Trust, which is developing a site in the Rego Park section of Queens, said it had decided to find other tenants for the site after protesters from various groups
came out against the proposed 132,000-square-foot Wal-Mart store.
Wal-Mart said it was still interested in opening a store in the Big Apple and was exploring other possibilities within the city. It was quick to point out that it never had a
formal agreement with Vornado to open a store on the Queens’ property.
Melinda Katz, chairwoman of the Council’s Land Use Committee, told The New York Times a Vornado representative informed her of the decision to drop Wal-Mart from the developer’s
“I think they just decided it’s not worth the complications of having Wal-Mart,” she said. “The idea of Wal-Mart was overshadowing what could very well be a good project.”
Richard Lipsky, a spokesperson for the Wal-Mart opposition group Neighborhood Retail Alliance, said, “We stopped Wal-Mart this time, but they are going to continue their efforts
to open in New York and we will be sure to meet that with significant opposition wherever else they try to locate.”
While Wal-Mart’s critics made the headlines with their organized and highly public opposition to the retailer, shoppers interviewed by the NYT were of different mindset.
“It would’ve been good if we had a Wal-Mart nearby because then we wouldn’t have to travel outside the area,” said Rolando Sands from Jamaica, Queens. “We’d be able to keep the
money in the Queens community instead of Long Island.”
Moderator’s Comment: If you’re Wal-Mart, where do you go from here in terms of gaining a foothold in New York City?
To give you an idea of some of what Wal-Mart is up against in New York, Helen Sears, the City Council member representing Rego Park had this to say to the
news that Vornado was looking for another tenant.
“I am hopeful that if Wal-Mart attempts to locate another site, whether in Queens or Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan or Staten Island, that its officials
work tirelessly to improve workplace benefits and conditions so that New York City will welcome it with open arms,” she said. “Until then, we can only offer our backs.”
George Anderson – Moderator