The Hunts Point Produce Market and its 2,400 employees will remain in the Bronx for at least three more years as city officials expressed confidence that they were on their way to reaching a long-term deal with the cooperative that would include a revamp of the market.
For the next nine months, the city will have exclusive negotiating rights with the market cooperative, leaving suitors from New Jersey out in the cold until at least early 2012.
“Thanks to this agreement, the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative will extend its lease, recommit to the Bronx, and, for the next nine months, work with New York City – and New York City only – on a long-term plan for a larger, modernized market,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement today. “Our Administration and the Co-op both want that to be built in the Bronx, and in the coming months, we will continue working together to make it happen.”
With its lease at Hunts Point recently running out, the cooperative was beginning a month-to-month rental situation. The plan was to work on a short-term deal to stay in the Bronx while the cooperative's 47 vendors negotiated a long-term lease, either in Hunts Point or New Jersey.
“During the coming months, we will continue to work with this administration and the merchants of the co-op on a long-term deal that will ensure that this tremendous hub of economic activity, one that provides jobs to thousands of Bronxites, remains in the Bronx for decades to come,” Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. said in a statement. “I am confident that such a deal will happen and that the market will remain in Hunts Point for the foreseeable future.
Bloomberg thanked city, state, federal and Bronx elected officials (including the borough president's office and Bronx congressional delegation) for making the deal happen.
Cooperative Co-President Stephen Katzman, however, wasn't quite willing to commit to staying in the Bronx.
“We are proud to provide the City and the entire region with the very best produce and we remain confident that, pending the approval of our entire Board, this interim agreement will allow us the necessary time to negotiate the best financial deal to secure a long-term home for the world’s largest produce market,” Katzman said in a statement.