Studies will soon be conducted to modernize the world’s largest wholesale produce market.
Last week, Empire State Development announced that feasibility studies will be conducted at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market to find ways to keep the facility competitive in the region as well and comply with federal food-safety standards.
The necessary engineering studies, which will be conducted by the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, will determine the feasibility and cost estimates of renovating existing buildings as opposed to constructing new infrastructure for the facility.
These changes will be necessary, if the market, which employs 10,000 people and generates $2.4 billion in annual sales, wants to ensure that it complies with current and future federal food regulations as well as stay competitive with other produce markets in other northeast cities such as Boston and Philadelphia.
The study, which is expected to be completed by September 2016, was provided with a $250,000 Regional Economic Development Council grant by ESD.
“My office welcomes this much needed study made possible by (ESD),” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “This market is one of our largest employers (in the Bronx) and an economic development engine that drives this entire region. It is important that we take a strong look at the market and plan for a stronger, safer and more fruitful future for businesses and the thousands of workers employed within.”
“This market is home to thousands of jobs, and facility upgrades would significantly increase capacity, revenue and employment,” said Senator Jeff Klein.
“This market has been putting food on our tables and creating jobs in this region for decades,” said ESD president and commissioner Howard Zemsky. “With upgraded facilities, it will continue to provide a marketplace for local farmers for years to come.”
“For the past 50 years, the market has been a vital engine of commerce in the south Bronx,” said Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association co-president Joel Fierman. “Thanks to ESD, we will have a realistic look at how best to ensure we remain competitive, retain and expand our employment footprint and evolve to meet the needs in the Bronx and the city.”
“It is our intention to keep the market here in the Bronx,” said Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Assocation co-president Joseph Palumbo. “Much like the Yankees, this is our home – and with the state’s help we can remain here.”
Currently, the 113-acre, one-million square foot Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market receives 210 million packages of fruits and vegetables from 55 countries and 49 states and feeds an estimated population of 23 million people.