BRONX, NY-The Related Cos. will lease the 26-acre Gateway Center here near Yankee Stadium between East 149th Street, River Avenue and the Harlem River for the next 63 months while it finalizes long-term development plans. Related is proposing a $330 million plan for the site that features approximately a one million sf mixture of big box, specialty and smaller retail in five new buildings, parking space for 3,000 cars as well as a one-acre public park with an esplanade along the Harlem River. There is also a possibility of attracting a hotel concern to the site.

Gateway is within the Bronx Terminal Market, which was built in the 1920s and served as one of the largest Hispanic food wholesale operations in the country. Today, the area consists of nine buildings, seven of which are partially occupied, with less than 30 fruit and vegetable wholesalers. One structure, WH-1, is in hazardous condition and will be demolished over the next few months. The plan dovetails with a city initiative to revitalize this borough. A vision plan for the Hunter’s Point section is expected to be released later this spring. Preliminary recommendations have outlined a series of improvements that range from transportation, waterfront and workforce to land-use policy.

Mayor Bloomberg notes that the proposal will not only remove this blight, but will generate thousands of jobs for area residents and enormous tax revenues for the city. According to the Related Cos., the project is expected to create more than 2,400 construction jobs and about 2,100 permanent jobs in addition to generating approximately $21 million in annual tax revenue.

“We are confident that when completed, Gateway Center at the Bronx Terminal Market will stand out as a critical catalyst for future economic development and job creation for all the people of the Bronx,” says Related chairman Steve Ross.

Related reached an agreement with the city to continue to operate the market for the next two years while a development plan goes through the public review process. After that, construction will take approximately two years with the entire retail center opening in 2008. Upon approval of the development plan the city has agreed to grant Related a 49-year lease for the property, with options to extend to 99 years.

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