Although the lease for the Hunts Point Terminal Market in New York City expires May 31, officials say there is no danger of operations coming to a halt. A month-to-month provision will allow the produce cooperative to continue doing business.
For months, co-op leaders have been negotiating with New York City’s Economic Development Corp., which administers the Hunts Point lease for the city. Those leaders also have been in talks with New Jersey state and business leaders who would like the 44-year-old market to move to the Garden State.
Hunts Point executive administrative director Myra Gordon declined to comment on the situation May 25, referring all questions to Joel Fierman of Fierman Produce Exchange. Fierman has worked at the market for 32 years, and his family’s company was among the first businesses at Hunts Point when it opened in 1967. He is on co-op’s board and is part of its negotiating team.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Fierman said May 26. He declined to comment further because negotiations are ongoing.
He said the cooperative, which represents 47 vendors, continues to discuss options with officials in New York City and New Jersey.
Patrick Muncie, a spokesman with the city’s Economic Development Corp. said May 25 that they remain optimistic and plan to keep the 105-acre terminal market in the Big Apple.
The market brings significant business to the South Bronx. Statistics from the EDC show annual revenue of more than $2 billion, with 22% of regional produce and 60% of New York City produce sales coming out of Hunts Point.
Muncie declined to discuss specific details, as did Sid Davidoff, a lobbyist who has been helping represent the cooperative’s interests.
However, points of contention have included lease rates, dilapidated conditions at the market, proposals to raise vendors’ registration fees from $250 to $4,000 and suggestions to raise mandatory worker photo identification tag fees from $16 to $100.
In 2004, the EDC issued its “Hunts Point 20-Year Vision Plan” but financing issues have delayed major renovations or construction of a new market on the New York side of the Hudson River. New Jersey officials have been courting the cooperative, offering tax breaks and other incentives.
Fierman said offers from both New York’s EDC and the New Jersey officials are “continuously being updated and changed.”
Negotiators from all sides said it could take several more months to resolve all of the issues.