Another Kelo-type Failure in the Making In D.C.?

Don’t look now, folks, but it looks like the “new” redevelopment project in D.C., the one that has been in the works longer than the duration of World War II, and that has that wiped out a slew of local businesses in Skyland, an existing older shopping center, in order to produce a new, new, improved shopping center, is on the verge of  going down the tubes. To get some of the details check out our fellow blogmeister, Robert Thomas’ post of July 13, 2013, If This Wasn’t So Depressing (and Predictable), It Might Be Funny. Check out For you pedantic types, it cites all those Skyland-related cases, so if you want to read up on it, and are into depressing judicial prose, here is your opportunity to indulge your thing.

Short version: After the condemnation and destruction of the old Skyland shopping center, Walmart was going to build a major new store on the site, but evidently yielding to union demands, the D.C. city council is on the verge of enacting (or perhaps has already enacted) a “living wage” ordinance calling for higher wages that Walmart is willing to pay. So it looks like Walmart may call the whole thing off, leaving the city holding the bag.  Walmart is not the kind of outfit that is easily pushed around by a pissant city council, so if it sticks to its guns and bails, this caper will have destroyed a functioning shopping center that provided goods and services to the local community, and instead will produce another urban wasteland. What else is new?

So keep your eye on this one folks.

Afterthought. For a copy of the Washington Post article covering this story, click here

We also learn that a few years ago, it was all the rage to publicize the supposed “fact,” if that is what it was, that Target, not Walmart, that was hotsy totsy, hot to trot to redevelop Skyland. But alas, nothing came of it. Click here for Washington Business Journal coverage of the 2005 events indicating that Target was in the saddle. But evidently, it isn’t. Target has made clear where they stand, or more accurately, where they don’t stand on this project. In the meantime we read that the District of Columbia is out $38,000,000 on this caper, evidently with nothing to show for it.

As we are fond of concluding: your tax money at work.

Follow up. Today, on July 17, 2013, the PBS Newshour had a segment on this controversy, and reported that the D.C. City Council did pass that ordinance, but so far at least, Walmart was hanging tough. Also, it turns out that what is at stake is not one Walmart store in D.C., but three. So the stakes have gone up considerably. Stay tuned.

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