By Roland Li
The Hunts Point produce market, one of the largest distribution centers of fresh fruit and vegetables in the world, has agreed to a tentative deal to extend its lease in the Bronx for three years.
With over $2 billion in annual revenues and around 3,000 employees, along with around 6,000 visitors each day, the market is a large part of the local economy. But the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, which runs the market, had been considering alternative sites in New Jersey, and members had said the Bronx facility was too small and in need of repair.
Under the agreement, the co-op will negotiate exclusively with the city over the next nine months, pending approval from the co-op’s board of directors. During the time period, the co-op and city will work on a longer lease, and finalize an agreement to fund construction in the facilities, which were built in 1967.
“It is in need of extensive renovating,” said Matthew D’Arrigo, co-president of the co-op. He declined to comment on the facility’s rents. And while the co-op must end negotiations with New Jersey officials about a possible relocation during the next nine months, D’Arrigo said that the state could come into play in the future, depending on whether a long-term lease is signed in the Bronx.
Elected officials praised the decision.
“It’s great news that the co-op will remain in the Bronx for at least the next three years, and we’re more optimistic today than ever that it will thrive there for many more years to come,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.
“The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative is among the most important assets in New York City’s economy,” said representatives from the City Council, in a statement. “We believe it is critical to reach an agreement within the next nine months. The future of our local economy depends upon on it.”
Jones Lang LaSalle’s Paul Mas and Michael Shenot, brokers for the Hunts Point Cooperative, weren’t immediately available for comment.