The Walmart saga continues as it tries to open in New York yet again. Despite Walmart’s frugal lunch policy, the company has poured millions of dollars on New York City programs and charities over recent years to garner support. They mass-mailed residents last spring claiming that “Walmart wants to come to New York City and New York City wants Walmart.” Rightfully so, a clear majority of New Yorkers want Walmart.
But is time running out?
While they are still in advanced lease negotiations with Related for a 150,000 square foot space at the Gateway II shopping center in East New York, Crain’s reports that their window is closing:
[With] just two years left in the Bloomberg administration, Walmart’s window for opening in the city under a friendly mayor is closing. While Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been an outspoken supporter of the retailer, many of the leading candidates for mayor—including Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, Scott Stringer and John Liu—are fierce Walmart opponents.
Though Walmart is not considering sites that need City Council or mayoral approval, there are clear benefits to finalizing a plan before the contenders for mayor sharpen their campaigns. Walmart does not want to be campaign-trail fodder, and it would rather not have an oppositional mayor wreaking havoc with building permits or leading protests outside its doors.
The long wait is not new to Walmart, however. It took eight years to open a 157,000 square foot supercenter on Chicago’s South Side as it relentlessly fought with City Council.