Most of the talk about Walmart opening a store in New York City has focused on outlets at the edges of the outer boroughs or possibly small stores scattered here and there. But what if the big-box retailer opened a store in the heart of Manhattan?
That is the real possibility presented by new Massey Knakal executive vice president Benjamin Fox in a new video for The Real Deal. He suggests Herald Square, 23rd Street and somewhere near Bloomingdale’s uptown as perfect spots for a new, full-scale Walmart store. The discussion may be speculative , but given the Manhattan successes of JC Penney, Best Buy and Target, it is almost surprising there is not a Walmart in Manhattan yet. As Fox puts it, “Where does an elephant sit? Anywhere it wants.”
And even if Walmart may not be great for workers or even consumers, Fox’s colleague (and our columnist) Bob Knakal points out that a store of its magnitude can transform a neighborhood, drawing in more people. That boosts traffic, profit and rents. (Granted, rent increases are only good if you can afford them, which most mom-and-pops can’t. But hey, more tax revenue, too!)
So, we can expect half-a-dozen new Walmarts tomorrow, right? Not exactly. Fox reveals that he has seen a memo from some Walmart higher-ups “indicating that this is way, way, way — that everyone is getting way ahead of themselves.” Tell that to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.