Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wal-Mart Prevented, Bronx Terminal Market Development Approved

Despite our best efforts, a confluence of factors resulted in the approval of the Gateway Mall yesterday. Unfortunately the biggest victims are the prior merchant tenants who were never seriously offered a relocation package and instead have to take or leave a 10/10/10 deal where they would get $10/sq. ft. from Related, $10 if they stay in the city and an additional $10 if they stay in the empowerment zone. Considering the lack of proper warehouse space especially in the Bronx, it is unclear how many merchants will be able to take advantage of the full $30/ft. What is clear, however, is that city never believed creating a new market was worth its time or energy and because of this malfeasance every BTM business is now in jeopardy of bankruptcy. As the Alliance’s Richard Lipsky stated:

"The deal is poor compensation for merchants who have worked in the Bronx for decades," said Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist for the merchants. "They are being summarily evicted with no relocation opportunity for the market to survive intact."
The one bright spot from yesterday is the fact that the “community benefits agreement” signed between Related and various elected officials specifically prevented Wal-Mart and its subsidiaries from the mall. Despite the fact that this project – one of the greatest sweetheart deals we’ve ever seen – was supported by the city, the city’s most powerful developer and a whole range of elected officials, we helped to create enough pressure to keep out the world’s most infamous retailer.

Here is some more coverage of yesterday’s approval:

Daily News
Albor Ruiz Column
New York TimesNew York Sun
New York Post
El Diario
Bronx 12