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NEW YORK CITY-Ground was broken for the Gateway Center, a $500-million mall project slated to open in 2009. Major retailers in the mall will include Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Bed Bath & Beyond. The opening, attended by many city politicians including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is expected to be an integral part of the economic revitalization of the Bronx. The project is to be constructed on the site of the 70-year-old Bronx Terminal Market.

The Related Cos. secured a long-term lease for the 32-acre waterfront property for an annual rent of about 36 cents per sf. The company also received from the city $26.5 million of tax abatements and subsidies, a $32-million loan guarantee and rights to the site of a $40-million city-owned building in exchange for a similar-sized vacant lot. Related says the mall is going to bring some 2,100 retail jobs to the area and $21 million in revenue.

The deal has been criticized in the past as being a sweetheart deal for Related and also for evicting many ethnic food purveyors from the terminal without finding them a unified home. Also sure to stir local political debate is the coming for the whole sale club BJ’s, which has come under scrutiny in the past as being anti-union and not “neighborhood friendly.”

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