State chips in $130M toward $650M modernization of Hunts Point Produce Market

politicians stand around a podium
The state Assembly has allocated $130 million toward modernization of the Hunts Point Produce Market.
Photo courtesy Britnney Ron

The state Assembly is contributing $130 million to the $650 million modernization of the Hunts Point Produce Market, which will make the facility more environmentally friendly and bring it into federal compliance.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is overseeing the project with the Produce Market Cooperative and a private developer, according to an EDC spokesperson, who did not specify who the developer is.

The produce market is part of the city-owned Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, which also has a meat market and fish market and provides about 12% of the city’s food supply, according to the city’s June 2022 Hunts Point Forward report. The Hunts Point Produce Market itself supplies 25% of the city’s produce, while its neighboring Hunts Point Cooperative Market — the meat market — distributes 35% of the city’s meat each year.. The New Fulton Fish Market provides 45% of the city’s fish.

At more than 1 million square feet and home to more than 30 merchants, the wholesale produce market is the largest in the country and opened in 1967, according to the city report.

The modernization efforts will transform the market into a state-of-the-art intermodal freight facility with more than 800,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space and 200,000 square feet of ancillary space, according to the EDC spokesperson.

The effort will bring the facility into compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act by expanding the refrigerated warehouse space and pallet capacity, the spokesperson said. The facility currently uses 1,000 diesel-powered refrigerated trailer units that idle onsite as additional storage, which will be eliminated as a result of the renovation, significantly alleviating the emissions going into the community.

The market’s modernization will also help address the impacts of thousands of daily diesel trucks that go through residential neighborhoods in the Bronx and facilitate the implementation of heavy duty electric trucks, according to the state Assembly.

As part of the redevelopment, the facility will install electric vehicle freight-charging connections to support an increasing supply and demand of electric freight trucks, according to another EDC spokesperson.

The existing rail network at the market will be redesigned, which will allow more goods to be transported on trains, according to the EDC spokespersons. According to the city’s Hunt Point Forward report, goods that come to the produce market via rail are currently usually limited to non-perishable items.

worker pushes a cart in the produce market
The wholesale produce market is the largest of its kind in the country, according to the city. Photo Robbie Sequeria

The modernization of the produce market has a total price tag of approximately $650 million from both private and public funds, according to the EDC spokespersons.

According to the spokespersons, a total of $130 million of the funding will come from the city, $130 million from the state, $135 million from federal grants and up to $250 million from a private developer, which remains nameless while the city is in negotiations.

The design and environmental review for the project is slated to be complete by September 2025, with construction expected to begin toward the end of 2025 or early 2026, the EDC spokespersons told the Bronx Times.

The EDC announced the state funding at the market last Friday with Assemblymember Amanda Septimo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and members of the Bronx Assembly delegation, along with Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr., Teamsters Local 202 President Danny Kane and Hunts Point Produce Market CEO Phillip Grant.

Grant said the futures of local business, the region’s food infrastructure and food security are all “tied to the future of Hunts Point Produce Market.”

Septimo emphasized that the investment will protect union jobs and reduce environmental harms on local residents.

“These sorely-needed improvements will better air quality for Bronx families, strengthen the food supply chain at the local, regional, and national levels, support the growth of businesses in and around the market, and will also establish a blueprint for sustainable, efficient, community-focused food distribution,” Septimo said.

Can the Hunts Point Produce Market’s redevelopment, modernization also help climate and poverty in the area?

This article was updated on June 2 at 2:25 p.m. to include a more specific breakdown of the funding once the information became available.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes