Oh, Walmart. Your time might be running out, but your efforts are no less persistent. The boxing gloves have been long thrown to the side, but New York’s bare knuckles have delivered some blows lately.
The problems aren’t limited to New York, either. Walmart is facing resistance in the Chinatown district in Los Angeles. The LA Times reported that City Council outlawed big box chains from opening up in the neighborhood last week.
But Walmart responded, quite shockingly, by saying that “it speaks volumes that the community was not consulted in the writing of the motion.” Riding the wave of input outcry, Walmart even called for community input in Aspen Hill, Md. last October.
But community input in New York? Walmart wants nothing of the sort.
While Walmart refuses to say if, when or where it might finally open a store within the five boroughs, one of its favored sites is the Related Company’s Gateway Center Mall in the far reaches of Brooklyn. The area is economically depressed, meaning the cheap jobs and cheap merchandise are (theoretically) desirable. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union sees Walmart jobs as junk, and they have been campaigning against the store since it resurfaced a two years ago.
Today, they made things personal, not just with Steve Ross, Related’s founder and CEO, but also his more than 7,200 tenants in the New York area.
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?
Conventional wisdom—and most public policy—says that sprawling developments garner more property tax revenue for local city and country coffers. That view however, has been thrown wide open in a recent study conducted by Public Interest Projects (PIP), as reported by Planetizen. And the results won’t please sprawl-loving WalMart, who have been banging down the Cities door, trying to curry favor since 2005.
PIP’s study concentrated on Ashville, North Carolina, where they were trying to develop a downtown building, one which the local county was planning on turning into a 24-hour center for emergency vehicles.
It’s the great white whale of Manhattan retail.
Aside from Walmart, Nordstrom is the store every retail broker in the city dreams of harpooning and reeling into a new home. One prominent broker familiar with the store, the amount of space it needs and the rents it would probably be willing to pay estimates that the commission for handling its lease would be around $10 million.
But like a leviathan lurking beneath the waves, the department store has offered only fleeting glimpses around the city, most notably at several development sites and a few existing assets with the capacity to accommodate its sprawling footprint.
The scuttlebutt nowadays: Nordstrom is contemplating one of two leases, one at the West Side rail yards with the Related Companies or another at the base of Extell Development’s soaring new residential tower now rising at 157 West 57th Street.
The weekly phone calls. The dinner invites. The gifts.
When representatives from Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, waltz into the New York Hilton for this year’s two-day International Council of Shopping Centers conference, many of the city’s most intrepid retail brokers will be close behind them, perhaps even plying those officials with compliments, dinner invitations and business opportunities.
Walmart Wars, Road Rage
David Freedlander over at our sister site, PolitickerNY, has the latest strategy being used by the world’s biggest retailer to set up shop in the five boroughs: appealing to the BroBos.
Our colleagues at the Politicker dig into a new Quinnipiac poll, which has some interesting results for us over on the real estate desk, namely Bike Lames and the Walmart-osaurus.
From the start, it seemed there was little anyone could do to keep Walmartasaurus from finally setting up shop in New York but hoot and holler. The big-box barons had already cracked other major metros
At a time when the economy continues to sputter and many middle-class New Yorkers are worried about the cost of everyday goods, you’d think that members of the City Council would welcome the nation’s largest discount retailer with open arms.
But Walmart remains a pariah in the City Council. Its efforts to find a location Read More