Big-box backlash boils over in Hawthorne

HAWTHORNE - Many in the Passaic County town of Hawthorne are upset over Wal-Mart's plans to open a new shopping center.

The proposed shopping center would turn a former chemical factory site into a 42,000-square foot supermarket and adjoining 10,000 square feet of retail space. The lease isn't signed. However, Wal-Mart confirms it is in talks to put a "Neighborhood Market" food store and pharmacy in Hawthorne.

Hawthorne hasn't had a grocery store in 33 years. In a recent survey, residents said that's what they wanted most in a new shopping center. The mayor and the owner of the property say if people don't like Wal-Mart becoming the new tenant, they can take their business elsewhere.

Some are in favor of the project because of the jobs and tax revenue that would come to Hawthorne. Construction on the project could begin in late spring.

The mayor of Hawthorne says Wal-Mart is the only brand interested in the property. The big-box retailer says the store would create about 90 new jobs for the area.

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