August 2017
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MAS to City Council: Save Bronx Terminal Market

The MAS has urged the City Council to reject plans for a new mall at the Bronx Terminal Market unless displaced merchants are relocated as a group to a suitable location. “The success of public markets hinges on the synergy between different vendors who would not be financially viable operating on their own,” the MAS argued in testimony before the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises on January 23. (Read the full testimony here.) The market now is a unique place that provides goods which cannot be easily found elsewhere. Furthermore, the market buildings are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because “as one of the first markets of its type, [it] is nationally significant for serving as a model for similar markets in other cities.” The MAS urged the city and developer to consider leaving the market in place or moving it to a nearby site, as proposed by Irwin Cohen, the developer of Chelsea Market. The MAS also expressed concern about the proposed mall’s suburban-style design. The mall should do more to connect to its surroundings by adding street entrances and putting more emphasis on active street uses, like locally owned small-scale retail on streets facing the existing neighborhood. In addition, the plan calls for signs that are five times bigger than are allowed. These signs would be “excessive and overly generous,” not improving the site plan (the sole criterion for a permit to allow oversized signage) and setting a precedent for future obnoxious signage. The MAS applauds efforts to revitalize the South Bronx, but development must respect the current urban fabric.