Barbara Lang Statement on Wal Mart Nixing Plans for Stores at Skyland Center and Capitol Gateway Marketplace

“This is a devastating blow to the economic development and growth of the District of Columbia, and especially to the residents and neighborhoods where Wal Mart offered hope and opportunity for job growth and revitalized communities. It is outrageous that after all of the planning, good will toward residents, excitement and hope for these neighborhoods that Wal Mart has decided to pull the rug out from under the very people who supported them throughout the planning process. The stores planned for Skyland Center and Capitol Gateway Marketplace would have been boons to these great neighborhoods, and now the residents in these communities are left with broken and empty promises.

“Many of the city’s business and political leaders have spent years changing the perception that the cost of doing business here makes it a challenge to set up shop and be successful, and unfortunately, Wal Mart’s decision reaffirms that outdated way of thinking. That said, this is a major caution to our current city government that issues including raising of the minimum wage from $11.50 to possibly $15, along with the proposal for city employers to pay into a fund for family and medical leave and demanding three weeks notice on shift changes, will certainly give pause to prospective employers looking to locate to the District. Those on the Council that continue to say ‘business will not leave DC’– Walmart has thrown the first salvo.

Wal Mart should be ashamed of itself for pulling out of these deals this far into the process, but it is incumbent upon the leaders of this city to ensure that this does not happen again, and that starts with working tirelessly on policies and legislation that encourage businesses to locate and remain here for generations. We owe this to our residents and business community.”