PHILADELPHIA -- The time is almost here for the opening of the new
Philadelphia produce market.
Philadelphia's fresh fruit and vegetable distributors will soon occupy one of
the larger, more modern produce terminals in the world. The market
measures 667,000 square feet in size.
As of mid-May, a move-in date was uncertain. Jimmy Storey, president of the
Philadelphia Fresh Food Terminal Corp., said, "We will be in by this
September or October. Maybe earlier or later." Once the construction is
generally completed, two months will be needed to test the refrigeration and
other systems before the tenants move in.
The market cost is $218 million, and the funding is partially provided by the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and partially by the tenants' leases, which will
be about two-and-a-half times more per unit than what their cost are on the
The rectangular market is about 1,400 feet long and is surrounded by a 50-
foot wide, air-controlled perimeter loading dock. The market features a long
central concourse that buyers will walk. Traffic in the center of the concourse
will be left to pallet jacks, while pedestrian walks in front of display areas will
be made-safe by a heavy yellow steel guard rail that will separate walkers
When The Produce News last toured the construction site May 5, wallboard
was going up in some offices, many of the coolers had racks installed, and
among the 480 construction workers on-site that day, a handful were
frighteningly high above the concourse's concrete floor preparing to install
the first skylights. The translucent skylights will illuminate the central part of
the building with natural light.
If the new Philadelphia market were stood on its end, it would be 50 stories
taller than New York's Empire State Building, according to Sonny DiCrecchio,
who will be the chief executive officer of the new market, which is called the
Regional Produce Cooperative Corp. Mr. DiCrecchio is currently general
manager of the existing market, which is the Philadelphia Regional Produce
Market tenants are choosing the layout of their individual sales areas, office
space and coolers. The temperature throughout the market's working areas
will always be 50 degrees, though produce distributors can easily adjust the
temperature of their individual coolers to suit the stored commodities. There
is one central refrigeration and heating system for the entire market.
"I look forward to having better facilities for our produce and our customers,"
Mr. Storey said. "We will not break the refrigeration cold chain, and there will
be better working conditions" by being a totally enclosed building. It will be a
"It will be a huge move for the buyers down here," Mr. Storey said. "We have
to go forward. We can't go backward and we can't stay here" on the PRPM.
"This is a big jump for us. The facility is designed right. Like anything else
that is huge, this gives everyone the jitters."
The market is so big "we will need golf carts to get around," Mr. Storey
When the PRPM opened its doors in 1959, it was the world's most advanced
(For more on the Philadelphia market, see the May 24, 2010, issue of The