Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Gateway Draft EIS: BJ’s and Liars Exposed

This is addressed to Adolfo Carrion, Joel Rivera and Maria del Carmen Arroyo. All of you have unquestionably affirmed that Gateway would not contain a BJ’s. Well if there is no BJ’s in this project, what food use is? We ask because on page 10 of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) we have a nice discussion of a “food store capture rate.”

If, as we suspect, BJ’s is the food use then, as usual, Related’s DEIS on indirect displacement of local food stores deserves the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. What tickled us is the “detailed competition analysis” done by Related’s consultants, an analysis that concludes that the BJ’s (we assume) “would not have the potential to adversely affect competitive stores in the trade area.”

What’s really cute here, and without further detail it’s hard to get a grip on what these schemers are talking about, is this “finding:” “The analysis concluded that within the Primary Trade Area [defined as the entire borough of the Bronx and Manhattan north of 116th Street] and the 3 mile trade area the proposed project would increase the food capture rate by only 1.9 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points, respectively…”

Just what the hell are these idiots talking about? By hiding the assertion in jargon they want to gloss over the fact that a BJ’s will be the largest food store in the Bronx and will generate over $60 million a year in food business. Do these consultants think that no supermarkets will close or lose significant business?

In an impact study on Pathmark in East Harlem – a store that was 1/3 the size of BJ’s – the consultants did admit that some stores might close (which they did). In other situations the building of large regional chains have led to the closing of between 3-5 neighborhood supermarkets. But according to Related, BJ’s won’t have this impact.

Time to Stand Up

Related hopes that a rising tide will lift the BJ’s boat, that all of the political support for and momentum for the project will allow BJ’s to sneak through. The Bronx Council delegation has already made its position known on BJ’s and it’s time to reaffirm it.

In addition, the UFCW, RWDSU and Central Labor Council need to come together to reaffirm their opposition to this project. With Wal-Mart poised on two sites in Staten Island it is not the time to be sitting back while the merchant of shame’s little brother is given carte blanche. All of those Bronx pols who told us flat out “No BJ’s” need to stand up and tell Related that the box store is a deal killer.