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Town Council President Mark Sideris said he heard about the proposal being withdrawn on Friday afternoon.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.