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Walmart Withdrawing its Proposal to Build a Store in Watertown

The controversial proposal will not go forward after Walmart decides the spot is not right for a store.

Walmart will not be coming to Watertown. Company officials announced Friday they will not seek to build the store proposed to go near Watertown Square. 

Walmart officials did not respond to requests for an interview. Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo sent out a statement saying that the two locations did not appear to be good places to open a store.

“One of the primary deciding factors on any given site – whether it’s in an urban, suburban or rural market – is that it makes sense from a business perspective and contributes to our bottom line,” said Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo. “In the case of the Somerville and Watertown sites, we made a business decision that the projected cost of investment would ultimately exceed our expected return.”

Town Council President Mark Sideris said he heard about the proposal being withdrawn on Friday afternoon. He said he wants to let the news sink before making a statement.

The announcement provided good news for Barabara Ruskin, a member of Sustainable Watertown, a group that has opposed Walmart and other box stores from coming in.

"We, the members of Sustainable Watertown, applaud the news of our campaign’s success and pledge to continue to work with town residents and members, supporting neighborhood groups, taking an early role in planning and development projects, and providing venues for discussions of sustainability," Ruskin said in a statement. "We will continue to advocate on behalf of the town for a positive vision of a healthy, just and prosperous community."

on Arsenal and Irving Streets drew visceral protest from many Watertown residents. Lawn signs have gone up around town proclaiming "No Walmart." near the site of the proposed store to state their disapproval, and a .

Walmart became an issue in the November Town Election, too. Write-in candidate Mike Mandel nearly unseated Town Council Vice President Steve Corbett using an anti-Walmart platform.

Mandel put up a celebratory note on Watertown Spring website, run by a group he helped found looking for smaller developments in town.

"Congratulations to everyone in our community who worked so hard to make this day happen!" Mandel wrote.

Restivo said the anti-Walmart battles were not the reason why the company pulled out.

“The campaigns in those two communities weren’t unlike those campaigns in Lynn or Salem,” Restivo said in the statement. Walmart ultimately opened stores in both of those locations.

M C Stringfellow June 16, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Congrats to Watertown for taking a standand winning. Sonny automatically takes the other side no matter what the issue
Paul Day June 16, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I'm still curious as to how Walmart would have made his neighbors nicer and gotten their mortgage from being underwater. I'm guessing he's one of those guys that parks at the no-parking signs at Parker and Mt. Auburn cuz he's "just gonna be a minute."
Paul Day June 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Again - how would Walmart have made your neighbors not suck? Does Walmart have some kind of anti-predatory lender service I don't know about? These are questions you declined to answer preferring instead, to repeat what you said before except in all caps. FYI - If you're referring to your neighbors as "in-bred" I'm gonna assume that they're not the problem.
Paul Day June 16, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Then they don't suck. I know you'll never answer my previous questions because you're a troll but try to keep consistent in your own narrative.
Paul Day June 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Aww - Sonny got eclipsed :-\

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