Site:

Property owned by Cresset/WS Venture

From the Watertown TAB (May 3, 2011): A 90,000 Walmart retail/grocery store could be coming to a plot half a mile from Watertown Square. The property owner and town officials said there have been no specific proposals, but confirmed Walmart is having discussions about placing a store on the 280,000-square-foot plot made up of 202-204 Arsenal Street and 58 Irving Street. The town would have to approve a special permit for such a store’s construction. “There have been some very preliminary discussions, no proposal, and many issues to resolve before that would be reality,” Town Planner Steve Magoon wrote in an e-mail to the Watertown TAB. (read more)

From the Watertown TAB (October 6, 2011): “We’re really at the front end soliciting some feedback from town officials, which is always a smart thing to do, to understand what the town is looking for,” said Edward Nardi, president of site owner Cresset Group, which is leasing the property to Walmart. (read more)

 

Negative Effects:

1. Traffic, Traffic, Traffic!

An average of 42% more traffic on Arsenal Street and a major impact to Watertown Square SustainableWatertown.com estimates an additional 3,000 cars will pass through the Square daily.

2. Effect on existing businesses

The opening of a Walmart on the West Side of Chicago in 2006 led to the closure of about one-quarter of the businesses within a four-mile radius, according to this study by researchers at Loyola University. By the second year, 82 of the businesses had closed. Businesses within close proximity of Walmart had a 40 percent chance of closing. The probability of going out of business fell 6 percent with each mile away from Walmart. These closures eliminated the equivalent of 300 full-time jobs, about as many Walmart added to the area.

3. Increase in Crime

Crime rates are higher in areas near a Walmart than any other retailer. A national study of 551 Walmarts found the average rate of reported police incidents for each Walmart store was 400-1000 percent higher than the average rate for the nearest Target store - and six times higher for serious and violent crime.

Did you know that at some Walmart stores in Massachusetts guns and ammunition are sold?

Here is a map of the proposed site (in red) and schools surrounding the area (in blue).

4. Less Local Employment Opportunities and Lower Overall Wages

Walmart Will Decrease Local Employment Opportunities and Overall Wages. Because Walmart uses a lower employee ratio than many stores, it replaces only two-thirds of the retail jobs lost when it puts local stores out of business. And because Walmart has defined full-time work as 28 to 34 hours per week, these new jobs nearly always mean a drop in income for store workers.

5. Lower Property Values

Walmarts have been shown to decrease property values in surrounding neighborhoods. Because Walmart leads to the closure of surrounding businesses, the property values on those commercial strips decrease as more and more establishments remain vacant. It has been shown that when a Walmart is built close to a residential neighborhood the property values of those homes are put in danger and people are more apt to move.

 

Myths about Walmart:

1. Walmart's prices are cheaper than the other big box stores we have in town

Studies have shown that prices are pretty similar between Target and Walmart.
Here is a study done on May 2011 by Don't Waste Your Money
And another one by Cockeyed.com in April 2011

2. Seniors in Watertown would like to have Walmart in town because they want to have access to more affordable goods.

Many of the seniors I talked to are concerned about Walmart coming to town and destroying the local family owned business that have been around for decades.

3. Watertown needs what Walmart has to offer

Watertown already has many big box stores: Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, 2 Stop&Shops, BJs, 2 Shaws that are close by, many CVSs, a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's... In addition we are lucky to have local businesses that provide fresh food: Russo's, the Meat Spot, Massis, Arax and Sevan. We have every thing and better, than what Walmart has to offer.

4. Walmart will bring the town new revenue

An Assessment of the Effectiveness and Fiscal Impacts of the Use of Local Development Incentives in the St. Louis Region
By East-West Gateway Council of Governments; January 2011

This study finds that over the last 20 years local governments in the metropolitan St. Louis region have diverted more than $5.8 billion in public tax dollars to subsidize private development. About 80 percent of these subsidies supported the construction of big-box stores and shopping malls, mostly in affluent suburbs. Despite this large public expenditure, the region has seen virtually no economic growth. More than 600 small retailers (under 10 employees) have closed in the last ten years. "Both municipal finance and quality of life suffer when a city loses its base of small retail establishments," the study notes.

5. Wal-Mart will create new jobs

"Walmart was found to have more workers than any other employer in the state relying on publicly-funded health insurance. This shows how taxpayers end up subsidizing Walmart's policy of providing low wages and inadequate benefits."
research from Good Jobs First