Supermarkets battle for Brooklyn space

February 02, 2011 12:55PM

New Jersey-based supermarket chain ShopRite wants to open up at the Gateway II shopping center in East New York, on the same 100,000-square-foot site that retail giant Walmart is eyeing for its own expansion, Crain’s reported. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, a supermarket union, launched a campaign yesterday to argue that ShopRite’s wages and benefits outweigh those offered by Walmart, and that the supermarket would match Walmart’s promise to bring fresh food into the neighborhood. “If what we’re talking about is good jobs and access to food, this presents the community with the opportunity to have 300 outstanding union jobs with a recognized employer in the area,” said Pat Purcell, assistant to the president of Local 1500, which represents ShopRite workers. ShopRite has been in talks for months with the Related Companies, which owns the Gateway complex, and a ShopRite spokesperson confirmed that the supermarket is interested in the Brooklyn site. A spokesperson for Related said no leases have been signed for the complex. Meanwhile, Walmart has reached an agreement with New York construction unions to build stores with unionized labor, according to the Wall Street Journal, though its previous attempts at expansion in the city have been met with opposition. Tomorrow, the City Council is slated to hold a hearing on Walmart’s plans and company officials have said they won’t attend. Wal-Mart has also launched an ad campaign criticizing opposition from local lawmakers. [Crain’s] and [WSJ]