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Disputed Brooklyn Lot Only One Potential Site For Walmart

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TWC News: Disputed Brooklyn Lot Only One Potential Site For Walmart
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The potential opening of Walmart in New York City has ignited debate and protests in Brooklyn, but there are many other areas of the city where the retailer could set up shop. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

An empty lot in East New York, Brooklyn has gotten plenty of attention, as the center of the city's Walmart debate and the focus of rumored discussions between the mega retailer and Related Companies, one of New York's biggest developers.

But the focus should not necessarily just be at that one location.

"They just have to open one door, and the rest will be a floodgate," said Faith Hope Consolo of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Insiders say Walmart is targeting multiple locations in the city, from the Bronx to Brooklyn and even Manhattan.

"I heard they were kicking around Jamaica Avenue. They were looking down over on the West Side on Hudson Yards. I heard they were looking Downtown in the World Financial Center," said Jeffrey Roseman of Newmark Knight Frank.

"Something like the Moynihan Station in Manhattan. I think that would be the ultimate home run," said Consolo.

Walmart officials do not deny their interest.

"We're looking to operate stores here. We make no secret about that, and we hope to be here very soon," said Philip Serghini of Community Affairs at Walmart.

The company also says it is trying to work with communities, but if that support does not happen, it does not mean Walmart will give up.

The retailer is expected to look for sites where it will not need City Council approval to open up shop. For that, all Walmart really needs is a commercial zone, and there are plenty of them scattered across the five boroughs.

Walmart could consider Willets Point in Queens, pretty much anywhere in Midtown or Downtown Brooklyn, and the council could not do anything to stop the retailer at any of those locations.

"The City Council could they do anything legislatively? Unfortunately we're not in that position," said Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras.

Walmart could also legally open their doors in some manufacturing areas, like in Hunts Point in the Bronx.

A Walmart spokesperson said the company is eyeing opening stores as small as a CVS drug store or as large as their suburban supercenters.

Officials like Ferreras, who represents Willets Point, say community opposition will keep Walmart out.

"My community is ready, willing and able to respond," said Ferreras.

Real estate insiders say the East New York site will likely be the first New York City Walmart. For now, the site only has trash, weeds and a little bit of foot traffic.

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