Astoria, Real Estate
Jul 21, 2014

Astoria Cove + Walmart?

This weekend we ran across a very provocative article in the New York Observer: Anti-Walmart Coalition Battling Big Box Store at Astoria Cove Well, that certainly got my attention (and (…)

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astoria-cove-development-queens-rendering

A rendering of Astoria Cove by Studio V.

This weekend we ran across a very provocative article in the New York Observer:

Anti-Walmart Coalition Battling Big Box Store at Astoria Cove

Well, that certainly got my attention (and I’m sure that of many others reading), as the topic of Walmart is a fire starter in NYC. Full disclosure: I do not support Walmart setting up shop in NYC.

As I read further into the article, I learned that Walmart moving into Astoria Cove is not a done deal by any means:

It’s not clear yet if Walmart, thwarted before from building in New York City because of its anti-union approach, is planning on an attempt to bring a store to the 2.2 million square foot and 1,700 unit waterfront and retail complex known as Astoria Cove. Anti-Walmart forces, though, aren’t taking any chances.

But it was clear that the potential is there—big box stores could very well come to Astoria Cove’s commercial spaces, be they the more beloved Target, Trader Joe’s, and Home Depot… or the dreaded Walmart. Walmart is particularly troubling to some because their presence in a community can lead to similarly-oriented local businesses nearby to close, thus removing any competition, not to mention depressing wages, and for some their anti-union stance. East New York fought off Walmart not too long ago.

Our Councilman, Costa Contstantinides, was quoted in the Observer article:

“Workers, consumers, and local businesses in Astoria need a retail component that preserves the small-business character of our community. Astoria Cove should prioritize employers that meet the highest standards. The retail component of Astoria Cove should help build entrepreneurship both inside the development and within the greater Astoria community.”

One of the cherished elements of Astoria is the prevalence of mom and pop/indie businesses; many Astorians, both old timers and newcomers, love that aspect about the neighborhood. Sure, there are some big box stores, but they are confined for the most part to Northern Blvd, and the Costco on Vernon. This is not counting chain drugstores or supermarkets.

Audrey Sasson, who is the director of Walmart-Free NYC, said “The people of Astoria deserve better. Astoria Cove should only include responsible retailers with a track record of creating good jobs and treating workers fairly.” Other groups like New York Communities for Change and Real Affordability for All also reject the idea of Walmart moving into Astoria. William Wertz, a spokesman for Walmart, considers this outcry against Walmart in Astoria Cove to be simply a publicity stunt.

Walmart Assault Rifle Logo

Just FYI.

Walmart also claims that “the people that live in Astoria Cove are already Walmart shoppers,” an interesting statement since the development hasn’t even been built yet (though to be fair, perhaps he’s talking about the folks already living on this little peninsula, including the people from Astoria Houses). But Walmart is no doubt salivating at the idea of establishing a foothold in one of NYC’s most popular neighborhoods, our very own Astoria.

So what do you think? Is Astoria ready for Walmart? Is Astoria Cove going to be the perfect place for Walmart? Should they be outright rejected? We’d love to hear what you think—differing opinions encouraged. Leave us a comment or a tweet!

Anti-Walmart Coalition Battling Big Box Store at Astoria Cove [NY Observer]

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

8 Comments

Alfonzo

I think a Walmart would do pretty well there. Probably wouldn’t shop much there myself though.

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barbara

NO walmart for Astoria it is being over built now ,and I thought Astoria cove was not approved by the community board

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Debbie

“One of the cherished elements of Astoria is the prevalence of mom and pop/indie businesses; many Astorians, both old timers and newcomers, love that aspect about the neighborhood”. Who is kidding-the era of mom & pop stores is already gone. Look at Steinway St and Northern Blvd. There are already chain stores there. As far as Walmart-they don’t have enough room to squeeze one in. They work on a cookie cutter pattern and unless they cut out some towers they won’t fit. The development itself will be a traffic hassle. Imagine any store being there will only add to the traffic mess.

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Jason Greene

Walmart destroys small businesses wherever it goes. I do not want to see Walmart in Queens. We have enough big box stores. Walmart also has a bad history of not paying employees enough, discrimination, and being anti-union.

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Emily

No! Wal-mart would be terrible! So would Target, even though I am a Target shopper. I would love to see a big-box store like Trader Joe’s or maybe even Whole Foods, because they treat their employees well and support the local community and local vendors (i.e. Whole Foods featuring local vendors in their stores). A WF or TJs wouldn’t ruin the aesthetic the way megastores like Wal-mart and Target do and I think they would even encourage the existence of mom-and-pop stores, since WF and TJs are specialty stores themselves.

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Bill

I’ve never been a big Walmart fan myself anyways, so if people want to boycott one going into Astoria Cove then by all means, go for it. But I’d love it if a Target went in there instead. For now, we have to travel 45 minutes one way via public transit just to get to the Target in Elmhurst, so if another one opened up that was closer, I’d be thrilled. I hear what people are saying about mom and pop stores being threatened by a big box store like Target, but there are just so many things that Target sells that you can’t find at local stores.

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Joe

We have enough big box stores on Northern, but maybe a Fairway like the one in Red Hook would be appropriate.

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Maria

“Is Astoria ready for a Walmart?” We’re PAST a Walmart. They are racist and anti-union, not to mention the biggest seller of guns and ammo in America. If you’d accept that in your neighborhood, you are disturbed and clearly not living in the right city.

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