Is the State Giving Developer a Deal on Would-be Brooklyn Walmart Property?

07/15/2011 3:02 PM |

We CANT WAIT to hang out in the parking lot at Brooklyns new Walmart.
  • We CAN’T WAIT to hang out in the parking lot at Brooklyn’s new Walmart.

In a letter to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Assemblywoman Inez Barron expressed deep concern that real estate juggernaut Related would only be paying $14 million for state-owned land in East New York instead of the initially agreed upon $32 million.

The 21-acre property will be rezoned for the inclusion of a 630,000-square-foot mall, Walmart’s wet dream. It has targeted that property to become its first New York City location, a crucial step in its greater plan to ram Walmarts into urban areas across America.

Crain’s reports that Barron, wife of the only city councilman to vote against the new budget, Charles Barron (an honorable symbolic move, honestly), has alleged that Related and the state might not be playing fair because when the land was rezoned from residential to commercial use, the property value should have risen, not fallen. She argues that Related asked for a discount on the land value due to a market downturn, though when Related initially agreed to a higher price in March of 2009, the real estate market wasn’t exactly akin to late-90s Dubai. The state Office of General Services agreed to slash the price by 55 percent, despite the amount of “buildable land” decreasing by only 22 percent, Barron alleges. A spokesperson for Related said Barron’s letter was “filled with gross inaccuracies and mischaracterizations.”

The Brooklyn Rail sums up nicely why a Walmart in East New York would be yet another rabbit punch for the residents of Brooklyn and New York City. Residents and local politicians alike have fought admirably against the influx of employee-abusing, anti-union big box succubi in New York City (people who exclusively revile Walmart should really check out this beautiful piece of cinema that Target force-feeds its new employees) though it appears Walmart has allies in higher places, a revelation that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Eyes may roll when so-called radical politicians like Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, or the Barron husband and wife team denounce yet again local and national governments that collude with corporations to crush the average worker. You will always find truths in their froth, however.

There is a part of the ongoing New York Walmart story that seems sadly inevitable: Walmart will woo enough local politicians, gain Mayor “Business” Bloomberg’s approval, and set up shop in a place that really doesn’t need any more local businesses killed or anymore workers severely underpaid. Another TKO for corporate America.

(Photo: People of Walmart)

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