Walmart Backs Out of Opening Store in Brooklyn

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Walmart is abandoning efforts to open a store in East New York, Brooklyn — a move that would have established the retailer's first store in New York City.

Although Walmart never confirmed it was in negotiations with Related Companies over a site near Jamaica Bay known as Gateway II, Steven Restivo, a spokesman for the company said in a written statement, "Walmart today announced that we were unable to agree upon economic terms for a project in East New York."

A spokeswoman for Related had no comment.

Union-backed groups and some elected officials had opposed Walmart opening a store at the location.

"Walmart’s withdrawal from Gateway II shows that when New Yorkers join arms, even the world’s richest retailer is no match for them,” said Stephanie Yazgi, a spokeswoman for Walmart Free NYC in a statement.

A source familiar with the negotiations between Walmart and Related said the two parties did not come to an agreement on economic terms — not because of vocal opposition.

Related received approval to develop the site from the New York state this summer.  It already had approvals from New York City to build a 600,000-square foot shopping facility to house several retailers. 

Though currently vacant, Gateway II when finished will be adjacent to the existing Gateway I, already home to several big box retailers like Home Depot and Target.

At the same time that Walmart announced ending negotiations at Gateway II, ShopRite reportedly signed an agreement to open a supermarket there.  The grocery store uses union labor, unlike Walmart.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a vocal critic of Walmart, praised ShopRite.

"I welcome this company’s newest location with its history of responsible business practices, supporting its workers and the communities they serve," Quinn said in a statement.

Pat Purcell with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 said, "This is less about Walmart not going in and ShopRite going in.  The community desperately needed a supermarket."

He later added, "A supermarket was a better fit with what is already there."

Purcell said the ShopRite will create 1,300 UFCW union jobs.

ShopRite did not confirm a deal, but spokesperson Karen Meleta said in a statement, "We have been pursuing this location for some time and believe that we will be able to confirm the status of this potential site shortly."

Wal-Mart said it is examining other opportunities across the five boroughs.

"We remain committed to bringing new economic development and shopping options to New York City, especially in the neighborhoods that need them most," Restivo said.