Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Walmart Eying Brooklyn Shopping Center for First New York City Location by Erin Durkin - NY Daily News

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"Walmart exploits workers ... and we want no part of that," said one Brooklyn politician. Beck/Getty

Walmart is eying a proposed Brooklyn shopping center for its first New York City location, Crain's New York reported.

The retail giant is scoping out the Gateway II shopping center near Jamaica Bay. Even though the proposal isn't official yet, community groups already are planning protests.

Walmart is reportedly also checking out other unidentified sites in the city.

Earlier efforts for outlets in Staten Island and Queens were scuttled by protests from labor and community groups, prompting then-Walmart CEO Lee Scott to declare that opening in the city wasn't "worth the effort."

Now, New York is back on the big-box chain's radar.

"We know that New Yorkers want to shop and work at Walmart, and as a result, we continue to evaluate potential opportunities here," Walmart exec Steven Restivo told Crain's. "New Yorkers want quality jobs and affordable groceries, and it remains our goal to be part of the solution."

The plans of developer RelatedCos. for the 630,000-square-foot Gateway II center, near Starrett City, were approved by the City Council, meaning Walmart could move in without the Council's signoff.

Opponents already are gearing up for a fight.

"They'll have the battle of their lives," said City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn). "Walmart exploits workers ... and we want no part of that."

Supermarket lobbyist Richard Lipsky said the developer could face a lawsuit because environmental studies didn't consider the amount of traffic a store like Walmart would generate.