By Paul Bisceglio
The big-box chain has been working to establish its first New York City branch in Brooklyn’s Gateway II for over a year, and now the Daily News reports that Wal-Mart might also be looking to set up shop at Willets Point, the industrial neighborhood across from Citi Field in Queens.
The Daily News cited two unnamed elected officials who claimed that the company is lobbying behind the scenes for a spot in Willets West, an enclosed retail and entertainment complex planned for the blighted section of town as part of a larger scale urban renewal project.
“They were looking at Willets Point as a possibility for a new site in New York,” said one elected official. The other confirmed that the Wal-Mart had been courting support.
Wal-Mart itself has kept silent about any prospective plans, and a spokesperson for the Willet West’s co-developers, Related Companies and Sterling Equities, told the Daily News that they do not “anticipate” housing any large-scale stores in the complex. The New York City Economic Development Corporation also tweeted at Fox News that the report is “absolutely without merit.”
Most politicians are opposed to the idea of bringing the enormous chain — and its highly scrutinized labor practices — to the city, said the Daily News.
But Wal-Mart spokesperson Steve Restivo argued that Wal-Mart “can be part of the solution for folks who want a job or need more affordable grocery options close to where they live or work.” He refused to comment on the prospective Queens branch, and told the Daily News, “We don’t have any announced projects in the city, but continue to evaluate opportunities all across the five boroughs.”
Tags: Brooklyn, Citi Field, gateway ii, iron triangle, New York City Economic Development Corporation, Queens, related companies, sterling equities, Steve Restivo, Wal-Mart, wilets west, willets point
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