Wal-Mart is certainly not rolling back its presence in the District. The big box retailer is set to announce a total of six new stores to be opened in D.C., two more than originally planned, according to the Post’s Nikita Stewart and Jonathan O’Connell.
(Do you support the growth? Take our poll after the jump.)
The announcement comes on the heels of heavy lobbying from Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D), who both persuaded Wal-Mart executives to open a store in the neglected Skyland shopping center near the Hillcrest neighborhood where they both live. The other new store will be located in a new apartment development called Fort Totten Square.
With Wal-Mart poised to become the largest provider of primary health care in the nation, both of the two new locations will have pharmacies, in addition to bakeries and deli counters.
The crop of new stores, which could create 1,800 jobs, is seen by some as an ambitious effort to help revive a stagnant local economy east of the Anacostia River; it’s seen by others as a move that would provide too many low-paying jobs with too few benefits.
“People cannot necessarily support themselves working at Wal-Mart,” Marina Streznewski, director of the D.C. Jobs Council, said.
Another concern is how a big box retailer would mesh with District neighborhoods. Lydia DePillis of the Washington City Paper wrote this morning that while the stores could disrupt the nature of neighborhoods, growth in those areas also is important:
“... at a time when other big retailers are cutting back, the company’s willingness to keep signing leases will allow a couple good new developments to move forward where they otherwise might have never happened,” DePillis wrote.
Do you support Wal-Mart’s local growth? Take our poll and sound off in the comments below.
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