Monday, May 23, 2011

Industrial Pollution

While the Bloomberg administration is pulling out all stops to evict all of the existing industrial businesses at Willets Point, the same geniuses are in the process of losing one of the city's manufacturing crown jewels, the Hunts point Produce Market. The NY Daily News has the story: "The city's largest produce market is flirting with a move to New Jersey. Vendors at the Hunts Point produce market are in talks with Garden State officials about a possible shift, according to Crain's New York Business."

For those of you who simply have not been paying attention, there has been a run on NYC's manufacturers-with all of the city's bakeries shaking and baking out of town while the Bloomberg brain trust over at EDC hones the mayor's "five borough" economic development policies. In truth, the only real economic development strategy this mayor has devised has been the one where he asks Related's Steve Ross what areas he'd like to put a mall into.

But the move by the produce market vendors would really add insult to injury-since the mayor and his liege, the comely speaker of the city council, have been chatting us all up about their "Fresh" agenda; a program to insure that all of the city's less fortunate eat their fruits and veggies.

In our view this all underscores the way in which this mayor is not only out of touch, but also downright hostile to those grubby existing businesses that lack the glamor of a brand new multi billion dollar mall that will put existing small retailers at further risk. The betting here is that Bloomberg cannot afford to let the Hunts Pointers go; no, it is only the lessors at Willets Point that are expendable.

The Hunts Point market is in the old cat bird;'s seat when it comes to making a deal with the city. Our advice: take Bloomberg for every nickel, and if he drags his feet, take Jersey's Fresh money and get out of town. We'll give Crain's the last word:

"Problems remain, though, and some observers view a New Jersey relocation as a strong likelihood. The sticking points in the lease discussion are mostly about money, including what portion of the renovation tab the city will pick up.

“It seems like a serious possibility that the market could move,” said Karen Karp, founder of food consultancy Karp Resources. “When the city wants something to happen, it makes it happen,” and uncertainty over the market's future has dragged on for years, she said."