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Thread: Redevelopment of Bronx Terminal Market

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    Default Redevelopment of Bronx Terminal Market

    April 3, 2004

    Developer Buys Faded Market in the Bronx

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI


    The Bronx Terminal Market near Yankee Stadium now has fewer than 30 fruit and vegetable wholesalers.

    For three decades, the Bronx Terminal Market has been mired in political scandal and decay as New York City battled in court interminably with the family that had leased the property and ran the fruit and vegetable market into the ground.

    Now, under a three-way deal signed yesterday, the Buntzman family finally relinquished its hold on the dilapidated 31-acre market near Yankee Stadium. Related Companies, the developer that is completing Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, bought out the Buntzmans' lease with the city. The company plans to build a large multilevel retail complex and garage on the property, with an esplanade and a park along the Harlem River. The project, however, will take several years to wend its way through the city's approval process.

    "Hallelujah!'' exclaimed the Bronx borough president, Adolfo Carrión Jr. "It's been an open sore for us. It made for a pretty darn ugly gateway to the Bronx."

    David Buntzman, the 96-year-old family patriarch, could not be reached at his home in Sarasota, Fla., and his lawyer did not return calls requesting comment.

    Related declined to say how much it paid for the Buntzman lease, but according to one person involved in the negotiations, the developer agreed to pay the Buntzmans more than $40 million.

    The deal brings to an end years of litigation between the city, which owns the property, and the Buntzmans, who obtained a 99-year lease for the market in 1972, shortly after Mr. Buntzman delivered $30,000 in cash to Mayor John V. Lindsay's flagging presidential campaign in Wisconsin.

    State investigators subpoenaed a number of Lindsay administration officials who went on to become major public figures, including Jeffrey Katzenberg, who became chairman of Walt Disney Studios and a co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, and Richard Aurelio, who later was president of Time Warner's City Cable Group and founder of New York 1 News. But a special prosecutor found no evidence to indict anyone.

    A series of politically connected lawyers and lobbyists kept the city at bay for decades as the market fell into disrepair. The Buntzmans also sued the city, claiming that it had failed to live up to its obligations under the lease.

    Andrew M. Alper, president of the city's Economic Development Corporation, said in a statement issued yesterday that Related's takeover of the lease was a positive sign for the Bronx. "Today's agreement is a major step forward that will enable us to move ahead with the Bronx Terminal Market project," Mr. Alper said, "which will create thousands of jobs for the Bronx and generate enormous economic activity and tax revenue for the city."

    For now, Jeffrey Blau, president of Related, said his company would continue to run the market, where fewer than 30 fruit and vegetable wholesalers are operating in the buildings along the cobblestone streets. Built in the 1920's, it was once one of the largest Hispanic food wholesale operations in the country, with more than 100 tenants and more than 1,000 employees.

    The paint is faded and blistering on many of the crumbling buildings, with broken windows on the second floors. In the next few months, Related plans to demolish the hulking brick refrigerated warehouse that was once the market's central structure. Eventually, the tenants will be relocated elsewhere in the Bronx, and Related will redevelop the site.

    "In 32 years, what did the Buntzmans do?" asked one wholesaler, Omar Duarte, with a shrug of his shoulders. "Nothing, except raised the rent. If you don't invest in something for 32 years, of course it gets run down."

    Mr. Duarte's father, Ricardo, has run Cuba Tropical in the best-kept building at the market for the past quarter-century. But they have mixed feelings about the future. "It could be a good thing,'' the younger Mr. Duarte said. "But I wouldn't want to move. We have a great location. It's a one-stop shop for a lot of our customers, bodegas, supermarkets and restaurants."

    Three years after Mr. Buntzman obtained the lease for the market, he became the subject of state and city investigations into whether he used political influence to get a sweetheart deal from the city. Wholesalers at the market who were in a dispute with the family told state investigators that Mr. Buntzman had laughed at them when they threatened to take their complaints to the city. They said he boasted of flying out to Wisconsin with a bag of cash for Mr. Lindsay's campaign.

    Investigators later found that Mr. Buntzman had contributed $30,000 shortly before he got the lease. The lease was renegotiated in 1973, relieving him of millions of dollars in obligations to rehabilitate the market. But the investigation did not result in any indictments.

    The city cited the family for the illegal dumping of asbestos in 1988, and in 1991, it filed a $1.8 million lawsuit against the Buntzmans, saying the market was plagued by poor management, filthy conditions and illegal dumping. In 1993, Mayor David N. Dinkins described the market as "an atrocious eyesore" and sought to condemn the Buntzman lease, and a few years later the borough president, Fernando Ferrer, called for the creation of a sports-oriented retail and entertainment center on the site, Yankee Village. The Buntzmans countersued, claiming that the city had failed to invest in the market and walled off a vital elevated roadway that connected the market to the Major Deegan Expressway.

    Also at issue were the Buntzmans' rent payments to the city. In recent years, they had paid about $120,000 a year in rent, but the city claimed that the family was millions of dollars in arrears, though the Buntzmans denied that allegation. Related will pay the city about $250,000 a year in rent, according to city officials. With a trial date looming, a concerted effort began about a year ago to settle the dispute. Richard Ravitch, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, was brought in by both sides to mediate. Finally, a deal was struck with Related.

    "This is a very happy ending to a tragic 30-year history of disinvestment and the Buntzmans' failure to fulfill the public interest incumbent upon a long-term lessee of city property," said Carl Weisbrod, a former president of the city's Economic Development Corporation who tried to break the lease.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    Another mall...

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    It's a nice little art deco building, obviously of higher-quality construction than most. Such a shame that it's been utterly abused over the years.

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    May 3, 2004

    METRO MATTERS

    A Fine Change, but the Market Will Be Missed

    By JOYCE PURNICK

    AFTER 30 years of neglect, the blighted Bronx Terminal Market is headed for a makeover. The Bloomberg administration just announced that this dingy stretch of chaotic commerce, where food wholesalers operate out of stalls that seem better suited to the 19th century, will be replaced by a new retail center, park and esplanade on the Harlem River.

    Most people are delighted with the plans for the 26 acres stretching for about 12 blocks south from Yankee Stadium. "A great thing,'' Adolfo Carrión Jr., the Bronx borough president, said on Friday. But change will hurt some, as it always does in a crowded city that practices such a skillful form of urban efficiency that every square inch has at least one claim on it. In this case, the area's revival by Related Companies will affect not only the market's 30 merchants and the small stores, restaurants and bodegas that buy from them, but also another small segment of New York.

    In the last five or six years, the Bronx Terminal Market has become a shopping mecca for the city's growing African population. It is to West Africans, largely from Nigeria and Ghana, what Chinatown and Flushing are to the Chinese, what Atlantic Avenue is to Arabs, Astoria is to Greeks and Jackson Heights is to South Asians, and what the Lower East Side once was to Jews.

    The bulk of business in the market, which sells many kinds of fresh and packaged foods and restaurant equipment and supplies, is in wholesale transactions. But retail trade to individuals is significant, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when men and women - some in business suits, some in jeans and some in brightly colored African dresses - come to stock up on the foods of their home countries.

    Nigerians and Ghanaians, along with West Indians, come to the Bronx Terminal Market from near and far, in cars and taxis, by bus and subway to stock up on foods they either cannot get elsewhere, or would have to spend much more to buy.

    "My auntie used to bring me here from Staten Island,'' one shopper, Esther Hanson, explained on Friday as she walked from the market toward a bus, balancing a 10-kilogram box (about 22 pounds) of frozen red snapper on her head, a skill she learned as a child in Ghana. Ms. Hanson, who immigrated five years ago and is now a married mother of one son, said she comes to the market from her Bronx home to stock up about once a month. This trip, she and her brother Samuel Nkrumah, who are both home health care aides, also bought goat meat, hot Jamaican peppers and fufu flour, which is made from plantains.

    CENSUS figures show that the city's Nigerian and Ghanaian population grew to about 30,000 in 2000 from 11,000 in 1990, and that 44 percent live in the Bronx. Like members of other ethnic groups in the city, they crave their native foods, and while there are a few African markets around town, shoppers interviewed on Friday said, none have the selection or low prices of the wholesale operations in the stalls on Exterior Street, the market's main drag, below the Major Deegan Expressway.

    Taofik Ifafore, a sales manager with Coca-Cola, regularly loads his car with food that he figures would cost him at least twice as much in a supermarket - a large box of plum tomatoes, a bag of cow's feet, tripe, frozen fish, chicken and smoked turkey wings. "It's very difficult to find in that size, and some I can't get them anywhere else,'' Mr. Ifafore, who came from Nigeria 16 years ago, said, standing in the busy aisle of Latin 17, one of several markets that are run by Hispanic merchants and cater to African and West Indian tastes.

    Next door, at Latin Tropicales, the manager, Francisco Loaiza, said that he has many regular customers who come for the African and West Indian products he sells, some imported from West Africa. Up the street, Gold Coast Trading Company sells $4 movie videos in sleeves that read "Ghana-Nigeria Presents.''

    The merchants realize that their time on Exterior Street is running out. Some are consulting lawyers, others counting on assurances from Mr. Carrión and other city officials who have pledged to try to relocate them. Customers are hoping they will still find places to get their native foods in bulk, at a good price.

    But few will mourn the demise of this deteriorated corner of ever-evolving New York. It is still worth noting, though, that for some, its few blocks bring a strong and welcome sense of home.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    I guess they won't dedicate part of the new market to the old. They shoudl take over a vacant warehouse (if there is one) in the area and do it all over again.

    I think these markets are great and should be preserved. Like moving the Flower District to one market, maybe in the Meatpacking.

  7. #7

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    May 9, 2004

    In the Bronx, a Last Call for Goat Legs and 99-Cent Toothpaste

    By ANDREA ELLIOTT


    Carlton Gray, a customer at the Bronx Terminal Market, with bags of goat heads.

    The trickle of cars and trucks begins before dawn, dropping below the Major Deegan Expressway and onto a ghostly cobblestone road in the Bronx. Pigeons often flutter in the shade of the steel overpass. Sleek sedans with embassy plates park alongside clunky family vans. Other people drift in off city buses.

    Day after day, the visitors disappear into graffiti-scrawled buildings on Exterior Street, where some 25 stores - a cluster known to many as the African Market - answer a singular wish: to bring back the taste of home, at a bargain.

    Pepsodent toothpaste, the kind made in Ghana, for 99 cents a tube. Bull penis, used in a Jamaican soup, for $1.89 a pound. Goat legs, stacked in plastic bags, $25 each. Mercy Cream, a small yellow pot with a potion "prepared to effectively treat most skin diseases," for $1.99. In the same store, movies from Nigeria and Ghana, stacked four feet high, sell at $4 per video, but the familiarity they provide to immigrants like Elizabeth Wilberforce is priceless.

    "It keeps us going," said Ms. Wilberforce, a 30-year-old Ghanaian, as she stood in K&K African Market watching grainy scenes from "Three Beautiful Apples," a movie from Ghana.

    This is the last incarnation of the Bronx Terminal Market, a 32-acre wholesale and retail market near Yankee Stadium that has played host to nearly eight decades of change and will soon become extinct. Related Companies, the developer of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, took over the city lease to the decaying market in April with plans to build a multilevel retail center and garage there, and an esplanade and park along the Harlem River.

    Once approved, the plans would be another victory in the ambitious quest for reinvention in the Bronx, where eyesores are increasingly supplanted by new development.

    But if the Bronx's dream of swift urban renewal comes with a cost, it was felt in the hushed mood that passed through the Bronx Terminal Market in the days after the lease changed hands. The vendors will be forced to leave in two years. For the shoppers - immigrants who hail mostly from Africa and the Caribbean - the market's closing threatens a vital link to the lives they left behind. "Here is like a home to us," said Michael Akamo, 36, a Nigerian immigrant.

    The very thing that makes business thrive for Daniel Ahenkora, an immigrant from Ghana who owns the Gold Coast Trading Company in the center of the market, has lured developers to the site for years: its unbeatable location.

    "It's got a highway, a subway and all those bridges coming over from Manhattan," said Jesse Masyr, a zoning lawyer representing the Related Companies. "It's an area that has incredible infrastructure that you can't duplicate anymore."

    The market draws shoppers from as far away as Ohio, Texas and Colorado to stock up on goods they cannot find locally or that their local merchants sell at too high a price, vendors say. Some of the shoppers are those very merchants; they own small stores or restaurants in other states, and depend on the market's low prices to make a living. Those prices allow Alberto Guzman, a Dominican immigrant, to charge less at his restaurant in Haverstraw, N.Y.

    "If I have to go elsewhere, I will have to raise my prices," said Mr. Guzman, 42, as he loaded boxes of orange juice into his van.

    Other shoppers act as couriers from immigrant outposts in cities where an African market is hard to find. Once or twice a month, Edward Akonor makes the four-hour trek in his dark green Plymouth Voyager from Manchester, N.H., carrying a shopping list and advance cash from about 20 Ghanaian neighbors. Mr. Akonor, 46, always buys the same things: goats' legs, canned sardines, dried fish, Indian Head corn meal and Ghana-made Pepsodent for his four children, who prefer it to the sweeter, more popular toothpastes sold in the United States.

    The family immigrated from Accra, Ghana's capital, to the Bronx four years ago. By that time, the number of Ghanaians in New York City, roughly 15,000 according to the 2000 census, was nearly three times what it was 10 years earlier. Bronx Terminal vendors had already tapped into the African market, and the Akonors began shopping there. They moved to New Hampshire so Mr. Akonor could study there for a master's degree in business, but kept coming back to the market.

    "I'm not too comfortable with the local dishes here," Mr. Akonor said, referring to the food in Manchester. "I could not enjoy this place if I could not get my local dishes."

    He is among the hundreds of shoppers who cram the Gold Coast Trading Company on any given Saturday, the busiest day at the market. The store, which opened four years ago, sells up to $20,000 in food, toiletries and videotapes on Saturdays alone. "We sank in a lot of capital, and we've built a business," said Mr. Ahenkora, the owner. "If we have to leave overnight, it's going to be a big loss."

    Officials at Related Companies said none of the stores would be forced to close before two years, and both Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Bronx borough president, Adolfo Carrión Jr., have promised to help the vendors stay in business.

    "It is the city's responsibility to find a home for them that is better, and has friendly business terms," Mr. Carrión said. "There are better candidates than this dark, dingy place where they are now, under a highway."

    It was Mayor John F. Hylan's idea to build the Bronx Terminal Market in the early 1920's. He wanted to move vendors away from Washington Market, in the area that is now TriBeCa. The first building, a vast, windowless brick structure erected in 1925, is now abandoned. Very few vendors moved in, and the building came to be known as "Hylan's folly," said the Bronx borough historian, Lloyd Ultan.

    More fruit and vegetable vendors, many of them Italian, moved to the market after Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia expanded it along Exterior Street in 1935. When Hunts Point opened 30 years later, those vendors moved out and Puerto Rican vendors moved in. The Bronx Terminal Market carved a niche as a tropical fruits and vegetable market and catered largely to the growing Hispanic bodega business. It came to be known as the largest Hispanic wholesale foods market in the country.

    The market's vendors began selling African products about 10 years ago. Those sales now account for most of the business at Latin 17, one of several stores that once catered mostly to Hispanics.

    "All of them eat something different, and they have different dialects," said the store's co-manager, a 29-year-old Colombian immigrant who gave his name only as Alex. When he took the job three years ago, he could not fathom that people cooked with cows' skins or bull penises, which are stored in neat coils, covered in plastic, in a glass-door refrigerator.

    "This is stuff you can't get at a Pathmark," he said as women in African-print dresses and head scarves waded through the store on a recent Saturday. "All of this stuff, I had never heard of it. I thought cow skin was for leather coats."

    Business may be humming for some vendors, but they do not deny that the market has been worn down by decades of neglect and political scandal. The story of the market's former landlord is almost New York lore: the Arol Development Corporation acquired a 99-year lease in 1972, after the company's family patriarch, David Buntzman, delivered $30,000 in cash to Mayor John V. Lindsay's presidential campaign in Wisconsin. The Buntzmans spent years in litigation with the city over the market's upkeep, and little upkeep resulted.

    But a site for the vendors that is comparable in location and affordability will be hard to come by. The Hunts Point produce market charges drivers at the entrance and requests identification, a policy that could deter immigrant shoppers. Bathgate Industrial Park in the Bronx is another option being bandied about by city officials. The vendors have met twice since the lease-change was announced and are searching for legal representation.

    "All our families live from here," said Ari San Emeterio, the general manager at New York Produce. "This is all we know how to do."


    Ralph Lelia, the owner of L&S Fruit Producers, is among the vendors for about 25 businesses at the decaying market. They must move in two years to make way for a new multilevel retail center and garage.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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    Council Members Question Bloomberg 'Sweetheart Deal' With Developer

    BY JULIE SATOW - Staff Reporter of the Sun
    April 26, 2005
    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/12798

    The City Council has begun asking questions about a deal the Bloomberg administration struck with a major developer that is evicting 23 vendors from the Bronx Terminal Market. The deal also provides for the possible exchange of the site of a vacant jail for a parcel at the market that could become an Olympic cycling venue.

    Speaker Gifford Miller and some council colleagues are drafting a letter to Mayor Bloomberg about the eviction. The council also plans to hold hearings next month to examine the deal with the market's new leaseholder, the Related Companies.

    Under the deal, the real estate company - which is headed by Stephen Ross and was one of six developers to join the Jets' bid for air rights at the Hudson rail yards - will receive as much as $80 million in Liberty Bonds and tax breaks. Related plans a "suburban-style" shopping mall and esplanade at the site, which is near Yankee Stadium.

    A council member from Queens, Hiram Monserrate, is a signatory of the letter, with Council Member Robert Jackson of Manhattan, who is chairman of the contract committee and is convening the hearings next month along with the subcommittee on small businesses. Two Bronx council members, Helen Foster and Annabel Palma, are also signatories.

    The vendors, whom Related ordered to vacate the market at the end of this month, are suing Related and the city. They have organized a rally at City Hall this morning to bring attention to their situation.

    "We need to look into how the Related Companies are getting Liberty Bonds, tax abatements, and the Bronx House of Detention as part of this sweetheart deal while the merchants are treated very badly," Mr. Monserrate told The New York Sun.

    The city's Economic Development Corporation has two years to decide whether to hand the Bronx House of Detention over to the developers.

    According to a lawyer for Related, Jesse Masyr, that property was offered to the developer in exchange for a piece of the 31-acre Bronx market, where the city would build a velodrome if it is chosen as host of the 2012 Summer Games.

    "Since when has the EDC been in the habit of exchanging properties? I think some oversight is needed here," Mr. Monserrate said.

    Another issue is that the city's memorandum of agreement with Related, signed last April, designates a monthly rent for the market of $20,000, while according to a lawyer for the vendors, Adrian Zuckerman, they currently pay a total rent of more than $250,000 a month.

    Also, the 63-month lease promises Related that the city will repay the developer's $32.5 million loan for the market project should the deal fall through, and will exempt Related from paying the cost of an environmental impact statement.

    The vendors were offered an $8 million relocation package as part of Related's lease, but only one of the 23 is known to have taken the deal. The offer would give vendors $10 a square foot for their property and provide them with access, on a first-come, first-served basis, to interest-free loans of up to $500,000.They would also receive a six-month rent abatement.

    "The city's deal would mean closing my store within a year," the owner of A&C Refrigeration, Alex Savinon, said. Mr. Savinon, a vendor to restaurants and supermarkets, said he finds most of his clients through customers of ethnic vendors at the Terminal Market.

    The relocation plan would spread the vendors throughout the Bronx, an untenable arrangement, those vendors say.

    The city's deal with Related was hailed a year ago by the Bronx borough president, Adolfo Carrion Jr., who said it would generate more than 4,000 jobs. Mr. Carrion, like the council members critical of the deal, is a Democrat.

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    Semi off-topic:

    Schadenfrau, what do you think of Carrion?

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    I don't feel particularly strongly about him one way or the other. Considering the fact that I generally have strong opinions about local politics, that says something.

    I do feel that Carrion tends to hide behind Bloomberg, which definitely doesn't win him any points on the home field. I'd also like to see him pay more attention to community issues and less to the concerns of corporations.

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    Terminate terminal plan: pols
    2 rip 'sweetheart deal'


    BY FRANK LOMBARDI
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    The Bronx rumble over a $300 million retail redevelopment of the decrepit Bronx Terminal Market turned nastier and more complex yesterday.
    Two Council members - neither from the Bronx - and other critics of the project demanded an investigation of what they charge is a sweetheart deal the developer is getting from the city and other public agencies.

    But Andrew Alper, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., called the arrangement "totally above board" and a long-thwarted opportunity for the city to bring tax-generating economic development and job creation to the site just south of Yankee Stadium.

    "If they want to have hearings, God bless them," he said. "This transaction is a good transaction for the city."

    The two complaining Council members - Hiram Monserrate of Queens and Charles Barron of Brooklyn - were joined at a press conference on the steps of City Hall by scores of workers from the market and representatives of unions and other opposing groups.

    Barron threatened to use the City Council's power over zoning to thwart the redevelopment - which envisions transforming the ramshackle ethnic food market into the Gateway Center Mall retail shopping complex.

    Calling for Council hearings, Monserrate lambasted the Bloomberg administration for "rolling out" this "scary ... sweetheart deal" for the Related Companies, which now holds the long-term lease on the city-owned, 31-acre site.

    Related's founder and chief executive, Steven Ross, is a close friend of Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, Mayor Bloomberg's chief economic development strategist.

    Monserrate also protested the planned eviction by the developer of the 23 tenants and their 700 workers.

    "We want to know how Related gets these multimillion-dollar deals without any public review," he said.

    The 80-year market lease was awarded by the Lindsay administration in 1972 to landlord David Buntzman. Related Companies last year finally bought out the lease from Buntzman for a reported $42.2 million.

    Alper said Related is now paying the city $250,000 a year in rent, and that would rise to a minium of $500,000 if the development wins land-use approvals.

    The mall project would generate 1,600 construction jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs, he said, and ultimately pay the city annual taxes of $21 million.

    Alper acknowledged that the city has agreed to buy back the lease from Related for some $40 million if the mall project falls through. But he said past city officials would have jumped at that prospect to rid themselves of Buntzman and get back his lease.


    Originally published on April 27, 2005

    All contents © 2005 Daily News, L.P.

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    Notice the words "two council members NOT from the Bronx"...


    I bet 100 million dollars they simply hate the Bronx and it's "residents" (no offense to our Bronx posters, this does not reflect my thinking).


    Either that, or another case of people thinking progress is bad. Anyone stopping this plan is stupid. This truly is a sweetheart deal. And then build a bigger terminal market at a nearby warehouse...Everybody wins.

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    Why did you put the word "residents" in quotes?

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    Market makeover stalled
    Courts to rule on controversial deal


    The plan to turn the Bronx Terminal Market into a mall is on hold until the courts rule whether the city's deal with the developer is legal, lawyers for market vendors say.

    The Related Companies inked a secret, no-bid deal with the city last year to replace the East Coast's largest ethnic food market with big-box stores. The developer has backed off its effort to evict the 23 vendors in the market, pending a state Supreme Court ruling on the deal.

    "Because the matter is being pursued in state Supreme Court," Related spokesman David Stearns said, "we're no longer pursuing it in Landlord-Tenant Court."

    Adrian Zuckerman, representing the tenants, said the case would have ended up in court in any case.

    "[Related] has acknowledged that the state Supreme Court has to rule on the threshold issue of the legality of the sweetheart deal given to them by the city before any eviction could proceed," Zuckerman said.

    Zuckerman says the deal is illegal because it was negotiated in secret without a public bidding process.

    In fact, he had to go to court to force the city's Economic Development Corp. even to disclose the terms of the agreement - which turned out to be larded with generous tax exemptions and incentives - including up to $80 million in Liberty Bonds, originally meant to help rebuild lower Manhattan, to finance the project.

    Related, however, contends that the memorandum of agreement did not require a public bidding process, because it simply transferred ownership of a lease to Related from the original leaseholder.

    In April, the developer sent eviction notices to the market tenants after they rejected a modest buyout offer from the city.

    The merchants - many of whom have been there for three decades or more - say that they are only viable together as a one-stop market and would lose most of their customers if they were forced to disperse across the borough.

    Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión has been trying to find a location suitable for relocating the merchants en masse - so far with little success.

    "I am pleased that Related Companies has responded to my continued demand to give the merchants more time," said Carrión, "so that the ongoing efforts of finding a location that will offer the best opportunities for these Bronx merchants can continue."

    Carrión also is pushing for the city to set aside some of the Bronx Terminal Market property for a park. Sources in the borough president's office said Carrión is in talks with the city to swap a swath of the property to replace the parkland across the street from Yankee Stadium, where he hopes to entice the Yankees to build a new ballpark.


    Originally published on May 23, 2005

    All contents © 2005 Daily News, L.P.

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    Tenants left high and dry
    On verge of eviction, water's cut off


    BY BILL EGBERT
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    The developer trying to turn the Bronx Terminal Market into a big-box shopping mall would like to wash its hands of the 23 current tenants still resisting eviction.

    But nobody at the market will be able to wash their hands - or anything else - today.

    At the developer's request, the city Department of Environmental Protection is shutting the water off this morning to a three-block area around the market to allow repairs to a water pipe.

    "It is not possible at this time to determine how long the water will remain off," a letter from the developer to the tenants' lawyer stated, also noting that one of the tenants will be billed for the repairs.

    "This is pure, unmitigated harassment," charged the tenants' lawyer, Adrian Zuckerman.

    The problem began May 3 when the DEP responded to a report of a street leak outside Victory Foodservice Distributors. DEP found that the leak was in the service connection - which is the responsibility of the landlord.

    After the DEP shut off the connection, the market's new landlord, the Related Companies, sent a plumber out to fix the service pipe. But for some reason, Related's plumber told DEP that he wasn't able to close the valve the DEP had shut off days earlier, and requested the more extensive shutdown.

    "He said the valve didn't work properly," said DEP spokesman Ian Michaels. "The only thing to do then is shut down the water main."

    Michaels stressed the shutdown would be "as minimal and brief as possible."

    But it's possible all 23 tenants could be left high and dry until repairs are finished - however long that takes.

    "We are committed to fixing the problem with the minimum amount of disruption possible," said Related spokesman Lee Silberstein.

    And while the tenants can't flush, Related was flush with victory after a state Supreme Court judge ruled last week against the tenants' five-month-old rent strike, ordering them to immediately begin paying back rent.

    Related also moved its eviction efforts from the tenant-by-tenant proceedings required in landlord-tenant court to a unified "ejectment" action against all 23 tenants in state Supreme Court.

    Lawyers for the tenants and some elected officials have called Related's deal with the city illegal because it was crafted in secret without an open bidding process. Related's lawyers counter that no public bid was called for because the company actually bought out the holders of an existing lease.

    Efforts to reach Related's plumber for comment were unsuccessful.


    Originally published on May 24, 2005

    All contents © 2005 Daily News, L.P.

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