Friday, February 13, 2009

BJs Sitting Pretty?

The Observer's Real Estate blog is reporting that Joe Sitt is gearing up for a big box battle on the two sites he owns in Brooklyn: "Declining to comment further on Coney, Mr. Sitt was somewhat more forthcoming when it came to his planned developments for Red Hook and Shore Parkway in southern Brooklyn. While he hasn’t released many details about the two developments, it is expected both will be big-box retail, assuming he can get the city (which doesn’t seem to be all that happy with him these days on account of a perceived intransigence at Coney) to go along with needed zoning changes. While the city wasn't too keen on an earlier Red Hook plan that included residential, Mr. Sitt seemed more optimistic about his current plan for the former Revere Sugar Factory."

As we have commented before, Sitt has plans to build two BJs Warehouse Clubs on these locations-and the animosity between Sitt and the mayor's folks is nothing compared to the fight he'll have on his hand with the city council if he tries to site the box stores-Sitt's optimism notwithstanding: “We’ve got the capital for both these projects,” he said. “As soon as we finish formulating our plans, which we have not yet but we’re in the middle of it, then we’ll go knock on doors in terms of the city and trying to work with them in terms of the zoning parameters and what tenants we think we’ll be able to get at that time. “The bottom line is they are projects that have financing, and as soon as we go to government, if we get buy-in from government, overnight, we could be creating jobs for the city,” he said."

Creating jobs, in this case is sheer myth-the box stores act as cannibals for the existing supermarkets and neighborhood commercial strip. If the mayor and the speaker are truly serious about nurturing supermarket growth, and protecting the existing food outlets, than the box store concept will be the last thing that they will support. And the speaker's expressed concern for small business; with the proposal for things such as, "developing focused neighborhood marketing campaigns to help small businesses," then she can't-at the same time-promote neighborhood killing box stores.