Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Alternative to Walmart

As Crain's is reporting, it is now clear that siting a Walmart store at the Gateway mall is not a build or no-build scenario-Shoprite has emerged as a potential candidate for Related, one that doesn't have the Walmonster's downside: "A local supermarket union will launch a campaign Tuesday afternoon to bring a 100,000-square-foot ShopRite to the Brooklyn retail center that Walmart is also eyeing for its first New York City store. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 will argue that ShopRite’s wages and benefits outstrip those offered by Walmart, and that the supermarket would match Walmart’s promise to bring fresh food into the East New York, Brooklyn, neighborhood."

What the Crain's story highlights, is that Related has many choices for tenanting its expansion-and if it decides to go ahead with Big Wally, it is demonstrating complete contempt for the area's elected officials and the city council. And as far as Shoprite is concerned, that supermarket chain is a known discounter, and would offer all of the positives-such as lower grocery prices-without the known Walmonster negatives. It would be a no brainer for Related.

For its part, the developer hasn't ruled the supermarket chain out: "ShopRite has been in talks with The Related Cos., which owns the 630,000-square-foot Gateway II shopping center, for many months. A ShopRite spokeswoman confirmed that the supermarket is interested in the Brooklyn site. A spokeswoman for Related said no leases have been signed for the complex. “We remain willing to speak with any potential tenants for the center,” she said."

So, as far as we're concerned, Related has no excuses-and if it decides it wants to stick a thumb in the eye of a wide swath of folks, it will reap the deserved whirlwind.