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New York City and Hunts Point Terminal Market agree on a seven-year lease extension

On Tuesday, Dec. 31, just prior to Bill De Blasio being sworn in as the new mayor of New York City, the New York City Economic Development Corp., then still under the leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced that the city has renewed the Hunts Point Terminal Market lease for an additional seven years.

The lease renewal news comes on the heels of years of negotiation attempts between Hunts Point and the city, which owns the property. Those negotiations were at times antagonistic and disagreeable.

The agreements means that the wholesale market will remain in its current location until 2021, giving the two parties more time to try to work out an agreement that will be satisfactory to everyone involved, including to the some 3,000 employees the market supports in the South Bronx.

According to a Dec. 31 article in the New York Times, the market, which opened in 1967, has an option to renew the lease for an additional 10 years following the initial seven-year extension.

But the lease renewal comes with terms that have apparently inspired Hunts Points’ tenants to try to work with city officials for a long-term solution for the needed updating and/or total renovation or rebuilding of the market.

The New York Times article quoted Charles G. Slepian, special counsel to the market’s board of directors, as saying “This is our way of saying, ‘Look, let us rebuild this place and let’s focus on making this place bigger and better than it ever was.’”

Slepian added that the market’s operators had not ruled out listening to offers from the state of New Jersey or others who have expressed interest and even made offers to have the terminal market moved to an out-of-state or another location, but for now they would concentrate on short-term improvements, such as repaving roads and repairing train tracks that are sinking.

Another bone of contention between market operators and the city in the past has been the market’s complaints about the involvement of the city’s Business Integrity Commission. The commission’s mandate is to keep organized crime out of certain industries. Although the market operators would still like the commission to ease up, according to Slepian, “It has been much easier to work with in the last several months.”

On Tuesday, one of the first orders of business for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was to reappoint Kyle Kimball as president of the development corporation.

On Tuesday, Kimball stated in the New York Times’ article, “The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market has been an integral part of New York City’s economy for nearly 50 years, creating jobs for thousands of people and providing fresh produce to millions of New Yorkers. Today’s announcement that the market will remain in Hunts Point until 2021 ensures that these jobs remain in the Bronx, strengthening the industrial sector within the outer boroughs and building a stronger and more diverse city economy for years to come.”