Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Press Conference Recap

As we have mentioned, yesterday’s Bronx Terminal Market hearing and press conference went extremely well, especially in terms of the labor issues. New York 1, the New York Post, and Metro NY all picked up on this theme, highlighting that the developer avowed that no Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart subsidiary will be a mall tenant. However, despite the fact that we know BJ’s has a signed lease for Gateway, the Related Companies still will not admit its tenancy.

One thing not reported is that Jesse Masyr, Related’s Land Use lawyer, promised at yesterday’s hearing that the developer would be willing to enter into a binding agreement prior to the February voting deadline to allay Council concerns about potential tenants. Though Masyr’s promise is still a bit vague it could only mean that Related is starting to realize that if BJ’s is a part of its mall then the application will be voted down.

Frank Lombardi and Bill Egbert also have an interesting piece in today’s Daily News. In addition to talking about the Wal-Mart/BJ’s issue – the reporters cite Bronx Councilwoman Palma as the delegation may “hold out for a BJ's ban” – they bring up the mall’s often touted Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) which is still being “negotiated.” According to the News:
“The CBA being worked out by a citizen task force is coming under fire as well. One panel member who asked not to be named complained the process was too rushed and top-down, calling it "Robert Moses-style city planning" - a reference to the infamous builder who bulldozed poor neighborhoods to build highways.”
As we said before, this CBA is an absolute sham and, if accepted, will set a dangerous precedent for Bronx developments.

Also be sure to check out this Bronx 12 story that talks about our case for withdrawing the application as well as this recap by the Observer’s Matthew Schuerman that discusses how some of the larger merchants are examining other deals. To clarify, the merchants still desire to remain together and even the larger wholesalers would like to retain a cash-and-carry presence at a new facility/location ever if they move their distributing operation.