Archive for the tag 'gateway shopping center'

Clockwise from top left: Chaim Deutsch, Theresa Scavo, Igor Oberman, Ari Kagan.

Clockwise from top left: Chaim Deutsch, Theresa Scavo, Igor Oberman, Ari Kagan.

It looks like yesterday’s post about Republican City Council candidate David Storobin supporting the push for a New York City Walmart generated quite a bit of discussion, and we thought it important to take that one step further. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, may have given the city’s small businesses a temporary reprieve when they gave up their fight in 2012, but it’s unlikely they’ve surrendered the war to enter one of the nation’s largest urban retail markets.

So we decided to check in with the Democratic candidates to see where they stand on Walmart, since it will likely come up for the next councilmember. The results? All four of the leading Democratic candidates in the race to replace the 48th District’s term-limited Michael Nelson vow to fight any effort to bring Walmart to New York City, and rolled out plans to support the area’s struggling small businesses.

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Proving that resistance is not futile, the All-American Ultra-Chain, Walmart, has retreated from efforts to plant its flag in East New York.

Since at least 2007, Walmart has been paving the way for an invasion of Brooklyn’s Gateway II shopping center. Local activists claimed America’s largest retailer would hurt local businesses, a position bolstered by research in Chicago. Drivers, meanwhile, bemoaned what a Walmart on the Belt Parkway would do to traffic congestion, and union activists slammed it for what they said were anti-union practices. And the corporate behemoth raised eyebrows when they donated millions of dollars to help fund local politician’s pet projects to gain political support.

Now the opponents seem to have emerged victorious, and Walmart is backing off its claim to Gateway.

Walmart last week issued a boilerplate statement stating, “We were unable to agree upon economic terms for a project in East New York.”

The release left open the possibility that the mega-chain will one day set roots in New York City.

“We remain committed to bringing new economic development and shopping options to New York City,” the release said.

No new locations of interest have been announced by the company.

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

New York Magazine has put together a nice roundup of bribes donations Walmart has made around the city, as it attempts to cobble support together for its push to have a Brooklyn location (presumably, the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York). The big-box retailer has faced no shortage of opposition from local pols, labor advocates and small business lobbyists – which it appears it’s attempting to fend off by purchasing some goodwill.

The magazine says Walmart has given $13 million in charitable giving in New York since 2007, including $4 million towards a pet project of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and $150,000 to one of Marty Markowitz’s summer concert series.

The donations are already having an effect. Markowitz, for example, went from stating “strong opposition” to a Brooklyn Walmart in 2009 – citing their “questionable labor practices” – to saying he is not opposed to a Walmart in 2011.

New York Magazine also lists donations of $812,500 for an experimental program serving at-risk middle schoolers; $382,879 for the Food Bank for New York City; and $100,000 for restoring 25 acres of tidal wetlands in Jamaica Bay.

There’s no doubt that any number of these programs need the funding and are to the public’s betterment. But, regardless of whether you’re for or against Walmart, is it right that they can sway political support by contributing to politicians’ pet programs?

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison took to the Daily News yesterday, with an editorial bashing the big P.R. push to bring Walmart to New York City.

What does Walmart have to do with improving the Bay, you ask? Well, Barrison is also the executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City, a federation of more than 75 small-business associations advocating for the rights of small enterprises across the five boroughs. And they have no love for the “Wal-monster.”

It’s also not Barrison’s first editorial against the nation’s largest retailer. He previously slammed environmentalists and the city’s transportation experts on Sheepshead Bites for not lending voice to the fight, saying that a Walmart would bring additional traffic, congestion and pollution to the area around the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York, where observers agree a Walmart is most likely to land.

In his latest editorial, Barrison touts a slew of studies revealing how Walmart can devastate local economies in big cities, and also stands up for New York City’s small businesses – the best incubator for economic advancement of women and minorities.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chicago‘s struggling West Side learned the hard way that Walmart’s stores destroy more retail jobs than they create.

In 2006, the big-box retailer promised to bring jobs to the cash-strapped community. But according to a landmark study by Loyola University, the company’s rhetoric didn’t match reality: Within two years of Walmart’s opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business.

Instead of growing Chicago’s retail economy, Walmart simply overtook it – absorbing sales from other city stores, and shuttering dozens of them in the process.

Researchers at Loyola dubbed Walmart’s store a wash – generating no new sales revenue for Chicago, and no new jobs for hard-off residents.

… With due respect to Walmart, this is not the kind of economic development neighborhood small businesses need.

Everywhere you look in New York, mom-and-pop shops help anchor our busiest and most vibrant business districts.

Fordham Road in the Bronx, Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, Jamaica Blvd. in Queens, 125th St. in Manhattan, and Forest Ave. on Staten Island are thriving proof that our city’s small businesses are the engine that powers New York City’s economy.

For minorities and women business owners in particular, New York City is an incubator for the American Dream. A third of all businesses here are owned by women, and nearly 18% are owned by African-Americans and Hispanics – both above the national averages.

But that could easily change.

… Home-grown entrepreneurs and small mom-and-pops have proven their commitment to our neighborhoods time and time again. Instead of falling for the big-box swindle and supporting their out of town competition, let’s stand by our neighborhood stores, and create more good jobs.

The only studies that support Big Wally are funded by or through Walmart; kind of like the tobacco companies’ support for cigarettes. New Yorkers deserves better. Our communities and neighborhoods deserve better.

You can read the full editorial here.



Opponents of a potential Walmart at the Gateway II shopping center in East New York say that the big box retailer would bring Belt Parkway and the surrounding roadways to a standstill, and they’ve produced a report to prove it.

According to the Daily News, the report states a Walmart at Gateway II shopping center “would draw 10,692 more cars every weekday than the mall’s developers predicted in their environmental study. That’s a 32% jump in traffic, they said.” It also predicts the surge in vehicles would slow traffic by 29 percent along Shore Parkway.

While Walmart has launched a massive publicity campaign to convince New Yorkers that it’s what New Yorkers want, union leaders, small business activists and local politicians are all slamming the retailer’s potential New York City opening.

What do you think? Is Walmart worth more Belt Parkway traffic?

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We’ve been following the news that Walmart may be moving to the Gateway Center ever since rumors surfaced last April. In the face of a City Council hearing about the big box retailer, Walmart has launched a massive advertising blitz, with direct mail, broadcast advertisements and a NYC-oriented website. The nation’s largest retailer is taking its case to the people.

They are decidedly not, however, taking it to the City Council. The business declined to participate in the hearing, blasting the politicians for singling them out while other retailers, including Target, get by with no scrutiny. They claim the city is cowtowing to special interests.

Keep reading, and see our list of resources about Walmart’s effects on local economies.

Courtesy of Koonisutra via Flickr

Walmart is struggling through the muck of the American retail slowdown, and some opponents to a New York City location are saying they should keep their problems outside of the five boroughs.

According to a New York Times report, the retail giant is seeing less visits to its stores, and the average price paid at checkout is also dropping.

“The nation’s largest retailer reported Tuesday that sales in its American stores open at least a year, a crucial measure of retail health, had declined for the sixth consecutive quarter,” the Times wrote.

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Been wondering what’s up with the Brooklyn Walmart proposed for the Gateway II Center? Us too, but in reality there’s been very little headway in either direction. Walmart, though, did make an attempt to spread some money around: they gave at least $15,000 to State Senate Democrats, whose campaign committee is led by Senator John Sampson who represents the proposed development area. Union leaders balked, and successfully pressured the Dems to return the money to Walmart.

Now, Steve Barrison – president of the Bay Improvement Group and executive vice president of the Small Business Congress of New York City – has issued a statement demanding more vocal opposition from “greenies,” including DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Read Steve Barrison’s statement about a proposed Brooklyn Walmart at Gateway II after the jump.

Walmart’s best opportunity for a Brooklyn location is still the soon-to-be-built Gateway II development. But one lawmaker said he’s got the developer’s word that Walmart won’t be considered.

City Councilman Charles Barron, whose district covers the proposed Gateway II shopping center, said he extracted a promise during the site’s approval process that Related Cos. – the developer – wouldn’t accept Walmart as an anchor tenant.

“I had to accept Related’s verbal commitment,” Barron told NY Post. “If they want to go against their word, they’re going to have to deal with city officials in other projects who will see them as a company that cannot be trusted.”

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Though Walmart hasn’t confirmed any Brooklyn openings, they’ve started taking on critics who say their non-union jobs would do harm to the borough’s workforce.

“A majority of national retail is non-union,” Steven Restivo, Walmart’s director of community affairs, told Brooklyn Paper. “When you look at retail and what we offer employees, we’re very competitive to both full-time and part-time workers.” He added that chain stores as Target, Walgreens, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s are all non-union.

An employee at one of Target’s three Brooklyn locations told the paper part-time employees start at $8.50 an hour, comparable to wages earned at a New Jersey Walmart. According to an employee, part-time Walmart employee wages range from $8–$15 per hour, depending on department.

But union reps aren’t buying it. They say Walmart is different than Target because of the larger role it plays in the American business scene. Walmart is the nation’s top retailer in sales, while Target is the fifth largest.

“Walmart may create jobs on the front end, but they erode them later,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the city’s retail, wholesale and department store union, told the paper. “Union-busting, neighborhood-crushing Walmart forces out good jobs and reliable retailers while bringing down wages and benefits.”

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