The long process of finding a new home for New York’s produce wholesalers continues.
For years, distributors on the Hunts Point Terminal Market have been in discussions with the city on constructing new buildings.
Because of additional issues that have appeared, market distributors also have been considering relocating the market outside of the city.
Matthew D’Arrigo, market co-chairman and vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., said the market remains in talks with the city.
While he said working with the city remains a good option, D’Arrigo also said the market’s board must not overlook its duty to consider the wholesalers’ interests and conduct due diligence to survey the landscape for other options available for the market, which remains the region’s largest produce distribution center.
After all, the last time produce distributors had the opportunity to seriously consider the future of the market was when wholesalers worked on the lower side of Manhattan during the 1960s.
“We have been here for 43 years,” D’Arrigo said. “It has probably been 50 years ago the decision was made to pick Hunts Point. For once in our careers of all the board members and market owners, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime decision to decide where we will put our market.”
Though the overwhelming majority of distributors prefers to remain in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx, the market’s home and where its customers are used to dealing with them, D’Arrigo said it wouldn’t be fair for them to not look at everything and see what else is available for the modern produce distribution facility the market requires.
D’Arrigo said the board is talking with New York and New Jersey government entities. He said it wouldn’t be proper to get into more details but said the market hasn’t really made much progress since early 2010.
He characterized the effort as a slow process.
“In this time where there’s not a lot of money lying around … the city is very concerned about its finances,” he said. “The board at Hunts Point is very concerned about making the best deal it possibly can for the merchants in the market and for our future.
“Would you expect anything but a difficult negotiation? We are confident at some point we will have it all figured out and come to a conclusion.”
D’Arrigo said he keeps hearing others push five-year processes, but said he believes there are motivated parties involved in the move.
As he said it could take three to five years to make a deal happen once the two sides settle on the broad aspects of an agreement, D’Arrigo said he would be very surprised if he would be saying the same thing next year.
If the market chooses to rebuild on its existing site, one plan has the operation constructing new market buildings adjacent to current buildings on land east of the market where refrigerated trailers are parked to store produce.
Count Carlos Garcia, general manager of Krisp-Pak Sales Corp., New York, as a skeptic on whether a new facility will ever be constructed.
“I will be retired and living in Hawaii by the time they do it,” he said. “My thoughts are they will never come up with the money to do it. It won’t get done anytime soon. I’m not making any plans to move anytime soon.”