But the biggest store to be housed in the 415,000-square foot development will be Wal-Mart Stores, the largest discount retail chain in the nation.
Recently, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced that it plans on putting its first "supercenter," a store with a full supermarket, in northern New Jersey in its new North Bergen location.
It means that the existing supermarkets in the area, like Shop-Rite, Pathmark and A&P, could be embroiled in a real food fight in the future with mega-giant Wal-Mart for the general supermarket customer.
According to its website, the Wal-Mart "supercenter" in North Bergen will be approximately 195,000 square feet, almost half of the entire commercial development. In the store, there would be a bakery, a delicatessen and an expanded organic food department, as well as a gourmet food section.
That will be in addition to the regular Wal-Mart fare of general groceries, meats, dairy and produce.
The website said that Wal-Mart hopes to open by the spring of 2009. Construction on the entire Vornado development, located at the site of the old APA Trucking firm and the old North Bergen municipal pool, has already begun.
The store will employ approximately 300 workers.
It would be the largest of the existing Wal-Mart "supercenters" and would be placed in one of the most densely populated areas that Wal-Mart serves.
Supermarket union protests
However, if the area's largest supermarket workers' union has any say, it will deter the project and vowed to cause Wal-Mart Stores its fair share of legal headaches.
The main reason for the fight from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union? Wal-Mart does not employ any union workers.
"It will certainly result in a major fight, probably involving litigation, probably involving the defeat of any elected official who allows this to take place," vowed Evan Stavisky, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in northern New Jersey and New York. "With a quarter-million members in New York and New Jersey, we will clearly wage an aggressive campaign. We've been successful in defeating every single proposal in the five boroughs. This will be a monumental battle, should anyone make the mistake of trying to slip in a Wal-Mart monster store where nobody's paying attention."
More jobs for construction workers
Wal-Mart had cut down on opening new stores over the last three years, because the market throughout the country had become saturated and stale. However, in addressing its stock holders at a recent meeting, John Menzer, the vice-chairman in charge of Wal-Mart's American operations, said that Wal-Mart believes its future is in the new "supercenters."
"We'd like to have that food brand out there wherever we can," Menzer was quoted as saying at the August meeting. "Supercenters tend to be the company's most profitable stores, especially in areas where we have already defined that market and have a good customer base."
North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco didn't give Stavisky's threat much credence.
"Vornado was every right to attract the major stores to its development," Sacco said. "We know the supermarket union is unhappy, but the construction workers' union is very happy, because it's meant more jobs for the area. There are a lot of union workers involved with building the structure. I feel badly that there is any controversy involving this new development. I personally think all of the stores will be fine. Everyone has their own favorite stores."
Sacco cited the problems that people thought would arise by having two home improvement centers, Lowe's Improvement Center and Home Depot, directly next door to each other.
"When you look in the parking lot of both stores, they're both full," Sacco said. "I'd say that their businesses are doing well. No one's complaining there."
Wal-Mart has one other "supercenter" in New Jersey, located in Turnersville in central Jersey, and is under construction for another in Vineland in southern Jersey.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com