Monday, May 16, 2005

Box Store Moratorium and Study

After the defeat of BJ’s and Wal-Mart this year the labor/business/community coalition that has come together on the box store issue called for a moratorium on all box store projects until a full study could be done on the implications for New York City of the proliferation of these mega-retailers. With Gateway proceeding surreptitiously in the Bronx it is appropriate to reiterate the call for the full study.

The saliency of this issue was brought home by a pair of comments by two of our readers on our discussion of how the sales tax and business climate help drive business away. Their thoughtful comments and our response underscore just how complicated and important the entire question of box stores is.

Mayoral Candidates Weigh In

At this time we are requesting that all of the mayoral candidates weigh in and concentrate on the following key questions:

1) How will the proliferation of box stores impact local shopping and, in particular, the immigrant entrepreneurs that have come to characterize it?

2) How does the current tax and regulatory environment encourage the efflux of shoppers out of the city, and how would you address this problem?

3) Should we be concerned about the non-unionized nature of the box store workforce? What implications does the replacement of unionized workers have for New York City’s economy?

4) Most city roads and highways are already at capacity. What will the building of 25-30 new box stores do to the existing road infrastructure? If you support unfettered building, how would you deal with all of the additional traffic?

5) Should ULURP be changed? If so, how would go about it?

For more on the importance of neighborhood retail and the impacts of big boxes check out our testimony prepared for the City Council’s Economic Development Committee.