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Walmart's New York Plans on Community Board 3 Agenda

Walmart's attempts to open in New York City will be discussed by Community Board 3 Tuesday.
Walmart's attempts to open in New York City will be discussed by Community Board 3 Tuesday.
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AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

LOWER EAST SIDE — Could Walmart land on Delancey Street?

That's a point likely to be discussed Tuesday night as part of a discussion initiated by an anti-Walmart group with the local community board.

Walmart Free NYC, a broad coalition of community organizations, labor unions and small businesses against the big-box chain, will deliver a presentation to Community Board 3 to talk about the possible threat Walmart poses to the neighborhood.

While the company currently has no concrete plans to open in New York, it is exploring options to bring an outpost of the chain somewhere in city, a spokesman said.

"We continue to evaluate opportunities across all five boroughs with a concentration on underserved communities in need of jobs and affordable food," said Steven Restivo, Walmart's director of community affairs.

One possible site for the chain would be the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or SPURA, a series of vacant lots on Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge that recently earned community support for redevelopment after decades of inaction.

"We always think of that," said Board 3 district manager Susan Stetzer, of SPURA's retail future.

In approving the redevelopment plan, CB 3 stipulated that "mid-box" stores — or spaces between 10,000 and 30,000 square feet — should be encouraged to open on the ground and second floors of major thoroughfares like Delancey and Essex streets. The board added that no retailers, except a supermarket, should exceed 30,000 square feet.

Last year, Walmart expressed an interest in bringing scaled-down versions of its megastores to the city offering items like fresh food and general goods.

The company has cited the need for more supermarket options selling fresh produce, especially in the city's low-income communities, noting that New York can support more than 100 new neighborhood grocery stores.

A representative from Walmart Free NYC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The meeting, held by Community Board 3's Economic Development Committee, will take place at Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the board office, 59 E. 4th Street.