[UPDATE BELOW] While we were all watching Cheap Trampolines Invade East New York, Wal-Mart was yawning and putting its arm around us so it could cop a feel in Willets Point. According to the Daily News' sources, the big-box chain is "launching a stealth campaign" to plop down due west of Citi Field, because Mets fans will need to fill the holes in their hearts with bulk diapers and season one of Justified on Blu Ray.
The $3 billion dollar shopping development at Willets Point West isn't projected to open until 2017, and it's already mired in the accusations that Fred Wilpon's company, Sterling Equities, along with Related Companies, had an unfair advantage in securing the bid to build.
“We don’t have any announced projects in the city, but continue to evaluate opportunities all across the five boroughs,” Wal-Mart spokesman Steve Restivo said, before splitting into an army of besuited men with identical sunglasses and jawlines. "We think our stores can be part of the solution for folks who want a job or need more affordable grocery options close to where they live or work." Affordable for whom?
[UPDATE] Patrick Muncie, the spokesman for the City's Economic Development Corporation says, "These reports are absolutely without merit. There have been no discussions between the developer and WalMart."
The Queens Development Group, which is comprised of Sterling Equities and Related Companies, also released a statement:
We have not had any talks with Walmart about a location at Willets Point and we have absolutely no intention of discussing this site with them. There have been and will be no negotiations, they are simply not a part of our plan to build an enclosed retail and entertainment destination at Willets Point that will bring much needed jobs and economic activity to the area and lead to the development of a new neighborhood.
Pro Tip for Wal-Mart: keep those "stealth negotiations" a little more stealthy.