D’Arrigo said a deal has to be made within the next six to 12 months.
“We are already five years into the future,” he said. “Today, the soonest we will get something new is five years from now, at 2015. The more we delay, it could be 2020. If a deal isn’t made, we will be sacrificing another four to five years on the timeline, which puts us to 2020 before we have a new market. Then you will miss the opportunity with this mayor.”
Time running out
If the market doesn’t reach agreement soon with the Mayor Bloomberg administration, the whole city government would change and the market would have to start anew with educating the politicans, bureaucrats and others on the need for a new facility.
If a deal falls through, the market would have to consider other options, which include talking with New Jersey, which has made overtures to relocate the market across the Hudson River.
Another option is to wait another four to five years for the new city administration or, in the worst case scenario, witness a general fragmentation of the market’s marketplace.
Neither of the alternatives are favored, D’Arrigo said.
“There are forces at work nationally and at the federal government level that are changing the rules on how the produce game is played,” he said. “Those of us in obsolete, 40-year-old facilities will be at a disadvantage.”
Produce being sold on the Hunts Point Terminal Market. Market vendors continue to look to construct new and more modern distribution facilities.
Some market wholesalers remain skeptical of seeing a new facility.
“I will believe it when I see it,” said Richard Cochran, president of Robert T. Cochran & Co. Inc. “It needs to be done if we will have any kind of food safety. Everyone wants to be certified.
“New York being the biggest and premier market, we ought to have the best market in the world, but we don’t. The city can build a Yankee Stadium, but it can’t build us a market.”
Carlos Garcia, general manager of Krisp-Pak Sales Corp., said he doesn’t think he’ll see a new market anytime soon.
“I will be retired by the time they open that new market,” he said. “I don’t see it happening in the next few years, especially under the economy we are under now. I don’t think anyone will be looking to spend the kind of money it will cost to build it.”