NEW YORK — Plans to move Hunts Point Terminal Market operations to updated facilities remain stalled.
Talks between the market’s board of directors and the city may not resume until next year after a new mayor enters office, said Matthew D’Arrigo, market co-chairman and vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc.
In a January meeting, the market board rejected a city offer to amend the existing lease. The offer would have tweaked the agreement.
D’Arrigo said discussions of a market move “are on the back burner.”
Little progress in discussions
He said there’s been no progress over the past year and that the market hasn’t been successful in convincing the city’s mayoral administration that its concerns are valid.
“We feel we haven’t had the most crucial issue to us addressed properly by the city, the future role the Business Integrity Commission will take in regulating our market,” D’Arrigo said.
“They believe they have the potential to regulate our hours and tell us anything and everything about how to run the day-to-day operations of this market. We think it’s meddlesome to our business and off the target of what their original mandate was.”
Business Integrity Commission commissioner and chair Shari Hyman defended the agency’s role.
“BIC’s mission in the city’s wholesale markets is well established, keeping them competitive and free of corruption,” Hyman said in a statement. “Our recent investigations not only show how we keep the markets fair, but also create opportunities for the majority of honest businesses to thrive.”
Looking across state lines
The refusal to agree to the lease modification means the market is no longer in an exclusive arrangement with the city and can entertain discussions with other states, D’Arrigo said.
New Jersey in the past encouraged the market to relocate across the Hudson River.
“We were negotiating with New Jersey first,” said Alfie Badalamenti, vice president of Coosemans New York Inc. “We kind of stopped it because we thought the city would do something. Now it’s going in the opposite direction.”
Badalamenti and Ray Hernandez, Coosemans’ head buyer, said they want to remain in the city.
“We need to get things worked out and work with the city to do what we need to do, to renovate the market and make it more modern,” Hernandez said. “You see Philadelphia has a new market, Chicago has a new market. Why not the city of New York?”
Hunts Point wholesalers have been discussing construction of new facilities since 2006, said Mike Cochran, sales manager and vice president of Robert T. Cochran & Co. Inc.
“We would sure like to see a new market,” he said. “My dad was down to the Philadelphia market and said it’s very nice. They have nice sales rooms, clean operations and plenty of parking, but I guess the costs are killing some of the guys down there.”
D’Arrigo said about 60% of the produce sold in the New York metropolitan area passes through the market and that the market’s wholesalers supply up to 90% of the city’s independent retailers and restaurants.