The Hunts Point Markets will receive $150 million in city funding for revitalization over the next 12 years, Mayor de Blasio announced on March 5 in a speech at the Association for a Better New York.
The capital allocation from the mayor’s budget will go towards improvements across the Food Distribution Center campus, including the produce, fish and meat markets located there.
These investments are in addition to the $45 million dollars in federal funds allocated for resiliency projects.
“It’s hard to overstate how important this facility is for our city,” said de Blasio in his speech.
The market occupies 329 acres and supports 115 private wholesalers that employ more than 8,000 people, he said.
“These are good, decent-paying jobs for New Yorkers at every education level,” said de Blasio. “Our plan protects those jobs and positions the site to create many more jobs for New Yorkers in the future.”
The New York City Economic Development Corporation anticipates that the improvements will create nearly 900 construction jobs and nearly 500 permanent jobs in the Bronx.
The produce and meat markets currently operate with outdated, inefficient infrastructure and designs, according to the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and the new Fulton Fish Market also has chronically under-utilized space that needs to be put to better use.
The city plans to co-invest in improvements such as parking lot repairs at the Fish Market, urgent short-term repairs at the Meat Market and rail infrastructure along Food Center Drive.
In his speech, the mayor also announced that the improvements at the markets will include dedicated space to better link the city to food that is grown and produced in upstate New York. After the announcement, the NYC EDC kicked off a regional food hubs task force, which will develop an action plan to guide the investments in local food distribution.
“The mayor’s plan to revitalize Hunts Point will make much-wanted local produce more widely available to New Yorkers, and support the growth of upstate farmers and farmland,” said Pat Jenny, vice president for Grants at New York Community Trust, which was an early backer of the plan and invested $200,000 to help build public support.
Local elected officials applauded the announcement of the mayor’s investment in the Hunts Point Market.
“Mayor de Blasio’s $150 million investment demonstrates a strong commitment to the Hunts Point community which is full of hard-working Bronxites and offers unlimited potential for future economic growth and job creation,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “I applaud the mayor’s revitalization efforts in Hunts Point and look forward to the economic development benefits of the funding being fully realized over the next ten years.”
Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. also heralded the importance of the market to the Bronx.
“Our borough’s fish, meat and produce markets combined not only feed the entire region, but are an engine for thousands of good paying jobs,” he said in a statement. “Moving forward, we must do everything we can to create an atmosphere that allows for even greater economic growth at these markets.”
Diaz also reiterated his call for the construction of a new freezer facility for the fish and meat markets. Such a facility would eliminate the need of food businesses to shuttle perishable goods back and forth from New Jersey, he said, saving them money and leading to fewer truck trips, a cleaner environment, more jobs and lower food costs, among other benefits.
“I look forward to working with this administration, as well as stakeholders from across the region, to give our markets the proper resources they need to continue to grow and thrive,” said Diaz.