The Hunts Point Terminal Market in New York City received a $25 million federal grant this week earmarked for traffic-congestion mitigation and air quality. Elected and economic development officials at the state and federal levels hope the latest move will help keep the 45-year-old facility in the South Bronx.
The grant, awarded under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, or CMAQ, and approved by the New York Metropolitan Transit Council, will complete the public-sector contribution to redevelopment of the market, which covers 60 acres on a South Bronx peninsula.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several members of the state’s congressional delegation made the announcement Tuesday.
The public funding component of the public-private partnership project came in at a total of $173 million, including tax credits.
Officials pegged the overall cost at $320 million when the city launched the project in 2003.
Components include updating of infrastructure, and improvements in traffic safety and cold storage.
The Hunts Point cooperative, a group of merchants at the market, is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss extending a long-term lease agreement.
New York City and the cooperative agreed to a three-year extension on June 1, 2011.
“I’m not at liberty to talk to the media,” Charles Slepian, counsel to the cooperative’s board, said Wednesday.
He referred inquiries to a press officer, who did not return a message seeking comment.
“We are continuing to negotiate with the market. We feel reasonably optimistic that a deal will be reached for the long term. It’s really been a collaborative effort,” said Patrick Muncie, the vice president for public affairs at the New York City Economic Development Corp.
New Jersey officials have made no secret of their desire to snatch the market.
“We’re fighting very hard to attract them to New Jersey. That’s a big one,” Lieut. Gov. Kim Guadagno said in a radio interview last year,
Robert Steel, New York City’s deputy mayor for economic development, acknowledged New Jersey’s interest in Hunts Point while touting the project at an economic development meeting on Staten Island. “If we don’t nurture it, we will lose it,” he said.
More than 115 food wholesaling and processing firms operate out of Hunts Point, which serves an estimated 22 million people.
New York City officials say the produce market employs more than 3,600 workers, generates more than $3 billion in sales annually and serves 6,000 small-food retailers.
In addition, more than 50% of the market stocks regionally grown produce from farmers across New York State.