Friday, August 3, 2012

Crain's Insider Punks Wal-Mart Rumor

Crain's Insider joins a chorus of naysayers who are debunking any possibility that Wal-Mart will be coming to Willets Point-and the newsletter agrees with our assessment that the project doesn't need any more degrees of difficulty:

"A Daily News piece yesterday about Walmart eyeing Willets Point was met with heavy skepticism from insiders. The article neglected to point out that the revised redevelopment plan for Willets proposed by the Related Cos. and Sterling Equities needs City Council approval. The council abhors Walmart—Speaker Chris Quinn even made it a point in a New York Times story last weekend about her jaunts to the Jersey Shore to mention that she doesn't shop at the nonunion retail giant."

The Insider credits the work of our own band of irregulars and underscores how Wal-Mart would be the straw the broke the jackass's back:

"Insiders said the Willets Point project is complicated enough and has caused the city enough headaches without Walmart being brought into the mix. To get initial approval from the council, city officials pledged to discourage big-box retail at the site. They know backing off that pledge would create a firestorm and don't want any part of inviting additional opposition for a project that already is grappling with a pesky group of local business owners fighting condemnation of their land."

The other important point that's made in this report is that the only way Wal-Mart enters into the Willets Point discussion is if it becomes a bargaining chip-Related's promotion of a potential Wal-Mart in East New York may be a giveback that would allow the company to get council approval in Willets Point:

"Related, for its part, knows Walmart would only make its job at Willets Point tougher. It's even possible that the developer would give up a potential lease agreement with Walmart in East New York, Brooklyn, to get the Willets Point project approved. Insiders believe there's no way it would risk mucking up Willets Point by reaching for Walmart."

All of this underscores the high degree of difficulty that developers and the city are facing over this project-Wal-Mart as an additional headache would be the kiss of death.