Southern Brooklyn

Local Pol Gets Promise To Ban Walmart From Gateway

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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.”

Related’s Gateway II shopping center has already won zoning approval, clearing the way for Walmart and other big box stores to move in without having to get permission from city officials. It’s currently the only Brooklyn development large enough to accommodate a Walmart that wouldn’t need to convince lawmakers that the big box store would be a positive force in the neighborhood.

But the verbal agreement hasn’t settled matters. Council Speaker Christine Quinn spoke at an anti-Walmart rally last Wednesday, criticizing the nation’s largest retail for its low wages and benefits, and its treatment of female employees. She called the company’s effort to improve corporate practices as “little more than window dressing,” the Post reports.

Walmart issued a written statement saying, “While we still do not have a project to announce anywhere within the five boroughs, we know that New Yorkers want to shop and work at Wal-Mart.”

Meanwhile, officials of the United Food & Commercial Workers union are trying to persuade Related Cos. to consider alternatives to Walmart, including a supermarket, Century 21 and J.C. Penny.

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