America’s biggest retailer was rumored to be in talks with developer Related Companies about opening the city’s first Walmart in the Gateway II mall, Crain’s reported. The rumors generated fierce opposition from labor activists who criticized Walmart’s nonunion hiring practices and worried that the arrival of the chain would hurt local stores.
“Walmart today announced that we were unable to agree upon economic terms for a project in East New York,” a spokesperson for Walmart told Crain’s. “We remain committed to bringing new economic development and shopping options to New York City, especially in the neighborhoods that need them most.”
Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was against Wal-Mart moving to New York City, called the deal “a three-way win for the Related Cos., ShopRite and New York City.” ShopRite has unionized staff and operates 240 supermarkets across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Related got permission this summer to develop the site and already had approvals from the city to build a 600,000-square-foot shopping mall with several retailers. When finished, Gateway II wlll be adjacent to the current Gateway I, which houses some retail chains such as Home Depot and Target.
We’ll miss the controversy and teeth-gnashing that a Walmart store in NYC would have created. After all, the chain does raise the prices of nearby homes by 2 to 3 percent.