New York city officials have agreed to extend the lease for the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market for seven years, guaranteeing its future in the Bronx until at least June 2021. The announcement, made on 31 December – the final day of the administration of outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg – comes after years of controversial negotiations on the market’s future between the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the 42-vendor cooperative that runs the market.
The wholesalers are resisting calls to move to a new site in New Jersey, preferring instead to redevelop the existing 50ha site in the South Bronx. Under the terms of the agreement, the market has the option to extend the lease for a further 10 years after 2021. It marks the first step towards the implementation of a much needed long-term strategy to redevelop and extend the market.
“This is our way of saying, look, let us rebuild this place at let’s focus on making this place bigger and better than it ever was,” Charles Slepian, special counsel to the market’s board of directors told the New York Times.
One of the key sticking points in the negotiations has been the role of the city’s Business Integrity Commission, which monitors industries known to be magnets for organised crime.