[Spokesperson Steven Restivo] said Wal-Mart is “evaluating opportunities” in urban areas for its Neighborhood Market store format, which averages 42,000 square feet compared to the typical SuperCenter that measures 185,000 square feet and includes a full grocery section.
The very mention of the name Walmart (that's how it now appears on the company website) has sparked a spirited and pretty evenly divided discussion over at Universal Hub. Among the more critical comments:
The net effect of a Walmart is often a loss of income to the surrounding community, between the public assistance the employees need, the other businesses going out of business, and the concessions Walmart extracts from desperate local governments.
I'm wary of Walmart because of its anti-labor policies and its less-than-exemplary treatment of employees, but I don't see it as much of a threat to smaller businesses in Boston, and I can't see the Hub as being "desperate" enough to give away much in the way of tax breaks or other businesses. Walmart doesn't have the leverage over Boston that it would over a small town where a couple of hundred jobs can cut the unemployment rate in half.