Assembly Row is the biggest thing to happen to Somerville since Bob Cousy. And the adjoining Assembly Square Marketplace is part of the draw. Which is a big reason that Wal-Mart's supposed desire to put a grocery store there has engendered so much ire on the part of locals. It's the usual concerns re: the retail behemoth's labor practices and its annoying habit of being cheaper and more convenient than any other general retailer nearby. So per Patch:
On March 31, the Somerville Coalition for a Responsible Walmart, a collection of groups including Somerville Local First, Groundwork Somerville and the Somerville Community Corporation, among others, went business-to-business door-knocking in Davis Square, Union Square and along Somerville and Highland avenues, according to Edwin Argueta, an organizer with Jobs with Justice, which is involved in the coalition. Argueta said about 25 volunteers talked to residents and business owners in Somerville, asking them, "What does it mean to have a good job?" and arguing Wal-Mart needs to change its ways.
Wal-Mart, for its part, is publicly exasperated, citing the fact that it hasn't even applied with the town for any sort of permit to take over the old Circuit City space in Assembly Square. As for the town and the local chamber of commerce, they're noncommittal, though that can't hold: Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone has called the Assembly Row project "the best brand-new neighborhood on the Eastern Seaboard." Something's gotta give and soon—construction started last week.
· Chamber of Commerce Urges Open Mind on Wal-Mart Grocery Store [Patch]
· Somerville's Big New Assembly Row Focuses First on Small [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville's 'Best Brand-New Neighborhood' in Eastern U.S. [Curbed Boston]