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2004-08-16
Washington, D.C. Wal-Mart Eyes First Store in Nation's Capitol

Wal-Mart has finally found our Nation's Capitol on the map, and is deep in negotiations to try to open its first store in Washington, D.C. -- a town named after somone whose boyhood home Wal-Mart once tried to buy for a store. According to The Washington Post, the retailer wants to put up a "small" 100,000 s.f. store in the Brentwood section of Northeast Washington. The 23 acre parcel Wal-Mart has in mind was originally slated for Kmart, before that company cancelled plans to expand, and went into Chapter 11 instead, in large measure due to Wal-Mart shoppers. A Home Depot is located nearby. Ironically, the proposed store also would be located next to another competitor, chain store Giant Food, which is owned by one of the largest grocers in the world, Royal Ahold of the Netherlands. But Giant is a unionized shop, and its union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, has helped organize opposition to Wal-Mart across the country. Under Giant's lease for the Brentwood property, other tenants on the parcel are not supposed to be full-line grocery stores. The Post suggested that if Wal-Mart decides to lease the space, the land is zoned for retail development. "Wal-Mart is interested in becoming part of the Washington market," a spokesperson for Wal-Mart told the paper. The property's developers are Graimark/Walker Urban Development LLC and Mid-City Urban LLC. The D.C. location is one of Wal-Mart's growing number or urban market stores. In fact, the company has apparently told investors that it plans to open a number of "Urban 99" superstores, 99,000 s.f. stores just half the size of their suburban cousins. "The community does not want a Wal-Mart," the Post quoted Dominic Moulden, executive director of Manna Community Development Corp., as saying. Manna was part of the original development team for the parcel, but withdrew once it heard that Wal-Mart was a possible tenant. "We think it's wiser to hold out for a better company," Moulden said. "This is not an employer you want anywhere, particularly in the nation's
capital," said the president of the UFCW's D.C. chapter.

What you can do: Sprawl-Busters has been contacted by local residents in the Brentwood area who do not want a Wal-Mart in their midst. Wal-Mart can expect a local fight on their hands as this proposal takes shape.










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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