Multiple newspaper reports, including this one from The Daily News, claim Walmart is once again trying to bring a store to New York City. The proposed store would likely go into the Gateway II shopping center in Brooklyn, a development that has already been approved by the New York City Council. The approval would make it that much easier for the chain to realize its plans.
But Walmart would still likely face a battle from the City's labor unions and other activist groups over the low wages it pays its workers and over the amount of traffic its store might create. Walmart has tried coming into New York in the past, including a failed attempt to go into Vornado Realty Trust's Rego Park shopping center in Queens in 2005. Back then, union demonstrations and opposition from City Council members put Vornado on the spot, making the developer choose between its potential anchor tenant and its project. (Unlike the Gateway II center, Rego Park didn't have all its approvals in place before news about Walmart's place in the project became public).
This time, however, Walmart might catch a lucky break. For one, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already expressed support for the opening of the store in Brooklyn, arguing that the City would benefit from the resulting jobs and tax revenues. Plus, New Yorkers themselves might be in a more welcoming mood. With unemployment hovering near 10 percent, even low-paying Walmart jobs might start to look attractive. Not to mention that everyone loves bargains nowdays.
What do you think? Will Walmart finally succeed in entering the Big Apple?