The opening of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market has been pushed back again.

Wholesalers say the start of new business at the new facility, which was tentatively scheduled to begin May 1, has been moved to May 15.

Several market wholesalers said the move hasn’t commenced and said they had heard it had been postponed to later in the month.

“We’re as much in limbo as everyone else on the market,” said Chip Wiechec, president of Philadelphia-based Hunter Bros. Inc. “Maybe the board of directors knows (the move-in date), but I haven’t been able to get anyone to call me back. I haven’t officially heard anything. Last I heard, we were still supposed to be moved on May 1. But here we are. I hope we move shortly.”

John Vena Jr., market board member and president of John Vena Inc., in New Orleans May 2 at the United Fresh 2011 conference, was unavailable for comment.

Market officials originally planned to open for business at the new 667,000-square-foot facility last fall. Because of construction delays, that opening date was delayed until January.

Market officials, wholesalers and others were at a March 25 grand opening to cut the ribbon on the modern plant that was then scheduled to open on April 3. However, after problems with the building’s refrigeration system developed, the opening was pushed back to April 10 and again to May 1.

The market has undergone a decade of planning. Construction started in the fall of 2008. The new operation has 550,000 square feet of refrigerated storage.

Philadelphia wholesalers 'in limbo'

File photo

John Vena Jr., president of John Vena Inc., calls the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market "the future of fresh" at the market's opening ceremony March 25. More than a month later, the market remains closed for refrigeration system repairs.