Start spreading the news. They’re leaving today. They wanted to be a part of it, New York, New York — but it looks like Wal-Mart can’t make it in Queens. The real estate company pushing Wal-Mart finally got tired of going against the grain, and dropped Wal-Mart on its rear end. The decision by Vornado Realty Trust to dump Wal-Madrt was announced by city officials today, and is seen as a major setback for Wal-Mart’s urban campaign. The retailer has broken ground on a controversial store in Chicago, and forced its way into New Orleans, but in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, the welcome mat has been pulled out from under the retailer. The proposed Wal-Mart in Rego Park, Queens was only announced two months ago. A New York City Council member announced that “Vornado is no longer negotiating with Wal-Mart to become an anchor tenant in the Rego Park site.” Vornado’s attorney said the company had made the decision Tuesday night, and that it was looking for other tenants. Wal-Mart said they had never signed a deal with Vornado anyway for the 132,000 s.f. space. Wal-Mart said it was still interested in other locations in the city.
This was probably a mercy killing for Wal-Mart, and better that the developer pulled the plug, because Wal-Mart couldn’t. In many ways, this Rego Park was ill-starred from the beginning. Neighbors and labor leaders who contacted Sprawl-Busters were clearly prepared to battle this store every step of the way, which, in this case, would have drawn out the process into years. So mercifully, Vornado has done what Wal-Mart might never have done: read the writing on the WAL. If Wal-Mart can’t make it here, maybe they can’t make it anywhere in New York. For earlier stories, search by “New York.”