One of the Bronx’s beefiest employers hopes to a cut a meatier deal with the city.
Two months after the Hunt’s Point Produce market inked a seven-year lease extension with the city that trimmed its rent, the Hunt’s Point Meat Market next door is asking for its own sweet deal.
“Given its valuable economic contributions, one would think the Meat Market Coop and the thousands of jobs it is responsible for would be something the City of New York wants to retain,” said Bruce Reingold, general manager of the market’s 39-business cooperative.
“Sadly, the businesses working here have not seen any real cooperation from city officials to keep us.”
Brawl over repairs
Originally built in 1972, the meat market —a separate entity from the produce market— distributes over two billion pounds of meat a year from its 60-acre site in Hunt’s Point to across the tri-state area, while employing around 2,000 people.
But the market is squabbling with the city over the cost of maintaining the large and old space.
Reingold said that the businesses were forced the shoulder the entire cost of a new roof and piping —over $3.5 million —in 2011. The currently pay $6.2 million annually in rent to the city.
A spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the property, disputed Reingold’s claims. The city, in effect, “loaned” the market the roof money in 2011 by delaying $3.7 million in rent that the market is paying back annually until 2021.
The city says it has helped finance the market by delaying its rent payments a total of three times over the last 10 years.
Sour over produce
But the city’s recent deal with the adjacent produce market has the meat market steamed.
Under the terms of that deal, announced in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration, the produce market’s annual rent was cut from $4.5 million to $4 million, with the market given credit for $1.5 million of that per year for the next seven years to use for infrastructure repairs.
Threatening to leave
The meat market wants a similar deal.
“We are just looking for the same consideration and help,” said Reingold.
If the city does not meet its demands, some businesses in Reingold’s market may leave the co-op, according to a press release the market sent out in early February.
The NYCEDC spokesperson said the agency would meet with market brass soon to work on the issue, and looks forward to “continuing a dialogue about the facility and ongoing operation.”
The current terms of its lease call for the meat market to remain in the Bronx until at least 2037.