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NYCEDC Seeks Food-Related Uses For La Marqueta


New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the lease and operation of all or a portion of La Marqueta in East Harlem for food or agricultural-related uses. A City-owned retail market property, La Marqueta is made up of five parcels divided by intersecting streets and includes vacant land, two buildings and an open plaza on about 50,000 square feet of land. It is located under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North rail line on Park Avenue from East 111th Street to East 116th Street. NYCEDC is seeking plans for redevelopment of the market site into a wholesale or retail food market or food production and distribution center. The Market was renovated in 1996 and is managed and maintained by NYCEDC.

“East Harlem is one of the most underserved communities in the City when it comes to access to healthy food,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “La Marqueta offers a tremendous opportunity for an operator to address this issue while transforming a unique and underutilized property, supporting small businesses and generating local economic development.”

The market has a built-in customer base with about 3,600 people living in developments directly across the street, and 20,000 living within a quarter mile radius. Despite the buying power in the area, recent studies have concluded that East Harlem residents have limited food choices. It is also a community with the highest diabetes and obesity rates, and lowest consumption of fruits and vegetables in the City. Bodegas, which usually offer few healthy foods, are the neighborhood’s most common food stores. 

Each of the five parcels that make up the market site is about 200 feet long and 50 feet wide. Building 4 contains about 10,000 square feet and is divided into 20 market stalls that vary from about 80 to 480 square feet. All stalls include security gates. Some stalls include sinks, freezers and/or coolers. Six vendors currently occupy the building, which is about 80 percent vacant.  Building 3, now vacant, was originally used for meat and cold storage and wholesale distribution. The 10,000-square-foot-building has four loading bays and two adjacent lots that could be use for loading and/or parking. Power, water and gas are connected to the building. Buildings 3 and 4 were part of the original market.

Located within the East Harlem Empire Zone and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, La Marqueta is eligible for certain as-of-right and discretionary benefits. It is also located in a New Markets Tax Credit eligible census tract.

La Marqueta was built in 1936 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as the first of a number of public markets throughout the City to take push cart vendors off congested City streets. Originally called the Park Avenue Retail Market, it became La Marqueta as East Harlem transformed into Spanish Harlem with the in-migration of Puerto Ricans to the area in the 40s and 50s. Food products and small dry goods were sold to residents of East and Central Harlem and the South Bronx, as well as visitors from other neighborhoods who traveled to the market to buy ethnic foods not available elsewhere in the City. At its peak, La Marqueta included five buildings which housed 510 stalls in about 30,000 square feet of space.

To obtain a copy of the RFEI, please visit www.nycedc.com/rfp. There will be two information sessions on April 1, 2009 at 10 a.m. and April 20, 2009 at 4 p.m. at the market. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to attend one or both of these sessions. Responses to the RFEI are due no later than 4 p.m. on April 30, 2009. Response will be accepted for the entire market site or a portion or portions of the site.

The RFEI is not a formal offering for La Marqueta. However, NYCEDC reserves the right to request further information or to enter into negotiations with an organization(s) on the basis of the responses to the RFEI without engaging in further processes.

About NYCEDC
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.

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David Lombino/Janel Patterson 212-312-3523