Development Team Timeline
EHBCC, with its various governmental designations, access to financing, and community partnerships, has the mindset and the capability to make La Marqueta happen. We are in a very strong position to take full advantage of the substantial benefits of La Marqueta’s geographic position inside both the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the State Empire Zone to ensure the project’s success, and make the best use of all our funds.
We thank you for taking an interest in supporting La Marqueta Internacional, and we hope the information below helps you learn more about the project, its benefits to the East Harlem community, and the strong team already in place to see it through.
There is a growing movement supporting and advocating for the revolutionary role that public markets can have in revitalizing a neighborhood – particularly in urban areas. Studies, reports, and websites full of articles distributed by a number of foundations and NGOs highlight over and over again the beneficial effects of carefully crafted public spaces.
A publication produced by the Project for Public Spaces entitled “Public Markets and Community Revitalization” describes in detail the economic and cultural benefits of markets all over the country, from reclaiming crime-ridden streets to generating jobs to stimulating surrounding businesses. At the Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA, each dollar invested in the market over the years has generated more than twelve dollars in surrounding privately funded economic development. The Grove Arcade Public Market it Ashville, NC has generated over forty-five million dollars in private development - empty warehouses and previously vacant surrounding buildings have been filled with retail, housing, offices, and other commercial uses. Similarly, the redevelopment of the Public Market in Roanoke, VA, has transformed a downtown known for crime, prostitution, and drug dealing into a successful downtown with several new surrounding bank towers and the successful renovation of the Roanoke Hotel – which had stood empty for decades – into a Convention Center.
Aaron Zaretsky, a contributor to the PPS report, is a top consultant and developer in the field of public markets, and is also an advisor to EHBCC on the La Marqueta project. His long list of community revitalizing effects of a public market includes: adding a sense of pride to local residents by showcasing what is unique about their heritage and history, preserving historic buildings, increasing sense of community, attracting new visitors to the area, and encouraging the development of a healthy and safe mixed income residents.
La Marqueta Internacional has the potential to realize all of these benefits for the East Harlem community. The deterioration of the original La Marqueta had a significant negative impact on the East Harlem economy, felt most dramatically along La Marqueta’s immediate Park Avenue surroundings, as well as East Harlem’s major commercial corridor—116th Street. The decay of La Marqueta, and the resulting loss of dozens of businesses and jobs, was not only an economic blow to El Barrio, but also a spiritual assault on a community that had always revered La Marqueta as a vibrant, busy and productive public community space.
A recent survey designed by Aaron Zaretsky for EHBCC confirms the community’s support of the La Marqueta Internacional project, and the faith people have in its ability to “assure that the traditional residents of East Harlem benefit from the demographic wave washing over them, rather than be overrun and driven out by it.” East Harlem is in the midst of a socio-economic transition. The long-standing Puerto Rican and African-American population is being transformed by waves of new immigrants from the Caribbean, Central and South America and West Africa. The economic wall at 96th Street that historically divided East Harlem from the wealthier Upper East Side has been slowly creeping northward. As a new and vibrant public space that reflects the cultures and needs of this shifting community, La Marqueta will become an icon for the “New Harlem” that is emerging.
The restoring of La Marqueta will significantly elevate the visibility of El Barrio/East Harlem and its commercial and cultural corridors. La Marqueta will once again become a destination not just for local residents but for the entire city, as well as for tourists at a national and international level. La Marqueta will generate a constant stream of shoppers ranging from one-time tourists to semi-regular patrons from around the city, to daily regulars in the immediate neighborhood.
In a very tangible way, La Marqueta Internacional will provide a venue for dozens of new businesses, ranging widely in size and product (see Information for Potential Tenants). EHBCC expects that a significant portion of this new leasable space will go to the aspiring entrepreneurs in East Harlem, a niche with which EHBCC already has strong ties through its business classes and loan program.
Public markets throughout the country have fostered the creation of sustainable minority and women-owned businesses. As stated in the PPS report cited above, “public markets provide an accessible and nurturing environment for the small business person… particularly important to women, minority entrepreneurs and recent immigrants, who may have difficulty in raising capital from traditional sources.” La Marqueta’s smaller stalls and carts will cater to those with limited start up capital, while the numerous full size stores and restaurants will provide space to the more experienced and room for all its vendors to grow.
EHBCC’s strong business development program and its reputation for success in the East Harlem community gives its staff the necessary tools to turn this entrepreneurial opportunity into a reality. Vendors interested in opening up shop at La Marqueta can fully develop their business plans by taking EHBCC’s BusinessWISE class, improve their skills using the computer lab and technology assistance program, or acquire capital by applying for an EHBCC loan. The development of La Marqueta Internacional is part of EHBCC’s greater mission to improve the economic conditions in East Harlem and turn entrepreneurial ambition into a profitable business.
Better Health & Food Security
Celebration of Arts & Culture
Public Markets through the ages have effectively showcased and reflected the arts and cultures of the communities they inhabit. Even without specifically curated arts programs, a community’s Public Market is – by its very nature – typically the place where one can take the pulse of the local cultural heritage. But La Marqueta’s celebration of East Harlem’s artistic and cultural heritage won’t just be happenstance – it will be planned and nurtured. La Marqueta will be a venue for the artistic expression of East Harlem’s rich past, dynamic present and promising future.
Planning for the artistic and cultural component of La Marqueta is crucial at all stages of development. This ensures that the necessary architectural and design considerations are woven right into the fabric of the physical space. Outlined below are the potential permanent, temporary and seasonal arts and culture elements of La Marqueta. For these to come to fruition, EHBCC will need significant funding for the space to accommodate things from a temporary stage with proper lighting and sound, to hardware for art exhibits, to the hiring of an acoustical engineer and a dedicated arts program curator.
Murals: The exterior of the structure of La Marqueta can take advantage of the rich Hispanic muralistic traditions. At least three significant murals, one facing N on 116th St., and one on each side of Building B (the prime “superblock” building), can be incorporated into the design of La Marqueta. These murals could depict historical scenes of La Marqueta or the push cart markets that anteceded it, or they could arise from the rich culture and history of East Harlem itself. The muralists can be selected from among local or regional candidates and the murals will be an attraction unto themselves.
Floor Tile Art: The center of the roughly 3,500 square feet “Plaza” floor (in the heart of Building B – the main market building) can contain a permanent tiled mural where performances, seating, festivals etc, will occur. The tiled mural will be lively and colorful and should draw from the rich Hispanic traditions of East Harlem.
Historical Photo Exhibit: La Marqueta’s interior walls can incorporate huge blown up photos depicting any variety of themes: the history of La Marqueta during its glory days, the push cart era that preceded it, a visual timeline of East Harlem’s history, etc.
“Hall of Heroes”: The public plaza walls in Building B can contain a series of painted panels depicting a short history, celebrating East Harlem and its historic role as an incubator for immigrant groups seeking a better life in America. Explanatory pictures with short sketches of East Harlem’s well known progeny can be depicted on a series of panels around the walls of the plaza.
Sidewalk and Aisles: New concrete sidewalks surrounding the La Marqueta structures will be scored and colored in a creative fashion to suggest an outdoor Hispanic plaza.
The following ideas will be further developed, and any or all could become scheduled attractions at La Marqueta:
- An annual Hispanic Film Festival in the plaza
- Community festivals in closed-off cross streets or in the Plaza
- Poetry slams
- Dance expositions – salsa, break dancing, tango, etc.
- Screening of kids movies and other relevant media/activities for children
- Jazz and Blues concerts
- Oral history booths for experiencing the pulse of East Harlem from the stories of its residents
- Guest artists in residence who could demonstrate their crafts in the plaza
- School tour group visits as an educational vehicle for learning about their history and culture
- Streaming video on the walls and/or windows of La Marqueta
- “Wearable art” modeling shows
and of course many more ideas to come!
Permanent and Daily Arts and Crafts Vendors
The tenant mix at La Marqueta will include a number of permanent arts and craft galleries, handicraft carts, craft stalls, and to the use of the ‘daytables’ by local artisans. Please see Information for Potential Tenants for details.
US Dept. of Health and Human Services: In September 2004, EHBCC was awarded a $700,000 grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Services, for the funding of hard costs.
Ford Foundation/Project for Public Spaces: From more than 110 applications, EHBCC was chosen to receive $200,000 from a partnership grant program between the Ford Foundation and PPS, for the funding of soft costs related to pre-development stages of La Marqueta.
Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone: The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone has indicated that it can provide both grants and below market rate loans to projects, such as La Marqueta Internacional, within the Zone’s geographic boundaries. In addition, employers within the Zone (i.e., the businesses that occupy space within the Project) are also eligible for certain wage tax credits and accelerated depreciation that can improve the economic returns to businesses that hire local workers or make substantial tenant improvements in the project.
East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, with its various designations, access to financing and, most recently, as a registered CDE (Community Development Enterprise) able to channel Federal New Market Tax Credits, has the mindset and the capability to make this project happen. In the past five years it has achieved Intermediary Lender status with the U.S. Small Business Association; been certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI); been designated by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone as its East Harlem Community Partner; been designated as the NYS Empire Zone Administrator, and recently completed a first-time Boundary Expansion of East Harlem’s NYS Empire Zone. Since its inception in 1997, EHBCC has been on the forefront of economic development and revitalization in East Harlem.
The architectural firm of Cybul & Cybul has been retained for the La Marqueta project. Throughout the past 52 years, Cybul & Cybul has designed and implemented a diverse range of project types from a high tech car wash facility that was awarded the New Jersey A.I.A. silver medal for design excellence, to office buildings, office interiors, pier design, borough halls, retail specialty food stores, supermarkets, restaurants, food processing facilities to freezer/cooler warehousing, and multi-story high-rise apartment buildings. Cybul & Cybul has specific expertise in the design of retail wholesale food markets. Some of the more prominent projects include the new Fulton Fish Market, The Brooklyn Coop Meat Market, the renovation and addition to the NY City Produce Market and the Hunts Point Meat Market.
Urbitran is a planning firm headquartered in New York City with an outstanding record of experience in the fields of transportation, environmental planning, parking, and land use. Urbitran has completed a number of relevant transportation planning/traffic engineering studies in East Harlem, and can anticipate where issues may arise. Their knowledge of the area is gained through recent traffic impact studies for the Harlem Gateway, Gotham Plaza, Pathmark Shopping Center, and the proposed Harlem Auto Mall, as well as environmental services for the recent East Harlem Rezoning initiative, covering 57 blocks of the neighborhood.
ddm development and services is an experienced, locally based developer of mixed use, residential, school, community, hotel and retail and office projects in East Harlem, as well as other New York area communities. ddm is the development consultant to EHBCC, creating a financial strategy to market this project to investors, anchor tenants, and financial institutions.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges has agreed to represent East Harlem Business Capital Corporation in the development of La Marqueta. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is one of the world's leading law firms, and has been recognized as having one of the nation's best litigation departments. The January 2004 issue of The American Lawyer, the nation's leading legal monthly publication, announced the results of a biennial review of the nation’s top law firms. Weil Gotshal was the only New York-based firm named to the list comprised of the top six litigation departments. As a premier firm in NYC, their participation on a pro-bono basis is a major asset to the La Marqueta project.