A Final Wal-Mart Solution: Nix Public Input

futterman A Final Wal Mart Solution: Nix Public Input
Futterman says Wal-Mart “makes sense” in New York.

As community opposition continues to keep Wal-Mart out of the Big Apple, local retail broker extraordinaire Robert K. Futterman has come up with a brilliant solution to the big-box debacle: Kick the naysayers out of the approval process.

“If they keep going in front of [the City Planning Commission] and community boards, they’re gonna have a problem,” Futterman said in an interview with The Real Deal, available via podcast. “The ideal situation would be a location, whether it be New York or any of the other boroughs, where they can go in and operate without having to go get, you know, any approvals outside of the zoning.”

Futterman isn’t the first visionary to advocate substantial red-tape reductions that might favor the world’s largest retailer’s ongoing expansion plans. Last month, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley vetoed a law that would have required Wal-Mart and other large retailers in that city to increase workers’ pay and benefits. After years of wrangling with pro-labor, anti-“Always Low Prices” activists in the Windy City, the big-box behemoth responded by unveiling its first store there on Sept. 28 and announcing its intentions to “aggressively pursue other sites,” as well.

“With some patience and perseverance,” Futterman said he expects Wal-Mart to experience similar success in opening a New York store “somewhere in the next five years.” Probably, he added, in one of the outer boroughs–although the company’s prior plans for Queens and Staten Island didn’t exactly pan out.

On a related note, Futterman predicted the future of retail in South Bronx was “absolutely phenomenal.”

- Chris Shott